There was a large number of very high standard entries in this competition so please don’t be disheartened if you didn’t win a prize.
There were so many unique ideas and wonderful stories. I’m hoping that this judge’s report will give you some tips that you can use in future writing.
Original storylines and quirky characters with strong voices are things that always attract a judge’s attention and many entries had these qualities.
Stories that did well were the ones that hooked the reader from the start and introduced the main character straight away and allowed the reader to get to know them.
The best stories established what the main character’s problem was very early on or at least the problem the character was having in that scene.
There was also the use of some great humour and conflict, and many writers did a great job of building tension.
TIPS FOR FUTURE COMPETITIONS
These are based on some of the things that prevented stories in this competition from being the best they could be.
- Stories must always be submitted according to submission guidelines stated. Some stories weren’t double spaced and didn’t have paragraph breaks.
- Always check your punctuation and spelling before submitting your entry. Read your story out aloud and this will help you pick up places where words have been accidentally missed out or the story doesn’t make sense.
- Too much telling and not showing. Don’t talk about what your characters said. Show them talking with dialogue. Don’t tell the reader about the things that have happened to a character, show them happening. This will involve the reader more in your story.
- Keep tenses consistent. For example, don’t change from past to present tense and back again.
- Try not to overuse adjectives and adverbs. Use active language and be specific with your descriptions. Instead of saying a character is beautiful, try and give the reader a picture of why this character is beautiful and try to incorporate it into the action. For example, “As Lorraine ran, a deep red flush fused her smooth skin and her full lips were pursed with concentration. Her slender legs cut through the grass and her sleek hair had been tied back so it slapped at her back like a thick, dark rope.”
- Some introductions had too much telling – recapping what has happened to get to this point. This is called backstory. If you need to include this information, weave it through the story, don’t have big paragraphs of this kind of information, especially at the start. Your reader needs to get to know your main character and what their story problem is as soon as possible.
- Try not to jump around with point of view – changing from one character’s head to another. This will confuse your reader.
- Some stories started out very well with impact and a strong character voice but then the tension was weakened by too much description about the character and physical detail like what they were wearing. Physical description should be part of the action and story. If it’s just description, it doesn’t need to be there. Some stories were fantastic in the way they drew the reader into the main character’s head and gave an understanding of what they were thinking and feeling, but then excessive physical description pushed the reader away. Try and keep your reader close to your character. Your reader will care about the character not because they are beautiful but because they feel they know them.
- The start of your story is so important. The reader has to get a clear idea of who your story is about and what kind of story this is.
- Look at the sequence of events in your story. Is it logical? Do you jump around too much and will this confuse the reader?
- Try not to flit backwards and forwards too much. For example don’t have the first sentence showing your character in present time and the next sentence as a flashback and then back to present time. This is confusing for the reader.
I hope you find these hints helpful for future writing.
Congratulations to all the worthy winners and to every one who wrote a story and had the courage to enter it.
WRITING COMPETITION RESULTS
|First Place||Ang Li Shan||Sheen|
|Highly Commended||Alexandra Middleton||Three Rules|
|Highly Commended||Maheen Khan||Bomb Shooting Dragons|
|Highly Commended||Rameen Khan||The Locket of Dreams|
|Highly Commended||Ella Staude||Danger Zone|
|Highly Commended||Emily Ryan||Magic Bunny|
|Highly Commended||Ben Palmer-Jones||The Princess of Tetori|
|Highly Commended||Rosemarie Kuenn||A Thousand Mirrors|
|Highly Commended||Matilda Saddington||Horrible Holiday Program|
|Highly Commended||Allie Dolbie||The Year of the Red Giant|
|Commended||Jazmyn Webb||Selena Saves the Fairy Kingdom|
|Commended||Benji Funk||Alex and the Battle of the Lava Witch|
|Commended||Justin Borg||The Vampire Slayer|
|Commended||Tayla Bishop||Super Natural Times|
|Commended||Asilyah Karott||Yellow Coat and Green Coat|
|Commended||Toby Funk||Daniel and the Spinning Bone|
|Commended||Hailey Carter||Green Bubble Toe Snapper|
|Commended||Emily Jones||Little Red Riding Hood and the Dwarf at the Olympics|
|Commended||Matilda Saddington||Horrible Holiday Program|
|First Place||Olivia Johnston-Powell||Fear|
|Highly Commended||Reena Mukherjee||A Kingdom in The Clouds|
|Highly Commended||Reena Mukherjee||A Ring to Another Place|
|Commended||Kimberley Rance||Wolf’s Labyrinth|
|First Place||DC Green||City of Monsters|
|Highly Commended||Dawn Meredith||Flight|
|Highly Commended||Kelly McDonald||The Hidden Fey|
|Commended||Michaela Sanderson||One of the Three|
|Commended||Shirley Coughlin||Ningana – The Crack in the Earth|
|Commended||Jo Mulholland||Meeting up with Remi|
|Commended||Jo-Ann Spataro||Get a Life|
|Commended||Jo-Ann Spataro||Genie’s Wish|
Thanks again for entering our competition. All prize winners certificates will be sent out next week and book winners should receive their prizes shortly.
First place winners also receive a five-page manuscript assessment. Please email your five pages, double-spaced in 12 point font with 3cm margins all round to email@example.com