A note from one of the judges
My name is Elizabeth Ryan and I was one of the Librarian Judges for the Radio 2 500 Words Competitions and other Writers Festivals. After the experience I got I thought it would be an idea to write an article for this competition. I am really looking forward to being one of the judges on the panel before Alex Milway judges the final round.
Now when you write your story it isn’t vital that you read this or take on board anything it says. But…one outright competition winner was in my batch of stories. Are you still reading? Good……..
I’m not writing this in any way to write your story. That is down to you. But I think it’s worth mentioning what I gave the highest marks to when I read the entries. The outright winning story I mentioned earlier stood out by miles in terms of what judges look for.
What is looked for above all else is what’s called a complete story. That is a story with a beginning, middle and end.
There is a huge advantage with this competition in that the beginning is already done – the opening sentence of, “There was no doubt about it, I would have to go back.” It now falls to you to think of and write the middle and an end to this opening.
To help you write a story, it is important to remember question words. These are the words from which any question follows:
What? Who? Where? Why? Which? When? How?
‘There has to be the awkward one hasn’t there? The question word “How” which doesn’t start with the same letter. But it’s a very important question word which I believe will be the foundation of your whole story. How has this beginning of not being able to go back come about?
And from this comes the questions:
What is the reason you have to go back?
Who else (if anyone else) is involved?
Where are you when you the truth sinks in and you know you have to go back?
Why do you have to go back? And why are there no reasons that you can’t go back?
When did this happen?
Which other things/people/circumstances are playing their part here?
It may also be helpful to you to map out your story either on your computer or on paper through flowcharts or spider diagrams. I’ve done this and it really helped.
But above all have fun! This is one of the most interesting competitions I’ve read about in a long time. The possibilities here are endless. Do the best you can with spelling and punctuation and don’t forget that you need a parent or guardian’s consent to your entry. And I’m sure they will be happy to help.