Monday, 9 July 2012

The Write Stuff

The Write Stuff: A writing competition for students of all ages
Kindly sponsored by Channel Islands Stock Exchange.

Deadline: Monday 30th July (extended by one week)

Word limit: 200 words on the prompt of ‘The Picnic’.

Categories: up to age 11; up to age 14; up to age 16.
- First prize (each category): £50 voucher and the trophy for the year.
- Second prize (each category): £25 voucher and a certificate.
- Third prize (each category): £25 voucher and a certificate.
The nine students awarded prizes will also be offered a workshop with a writer visiting for the festival. Details to follow.

Teachers’ Notes:
“Carefully and slowly, the beautiful, blonde woman meticulously took off the crinkled cellophane wrapper from the delicious, organic oatmeal sandwich. Suddenly, a purple and grey storm cloud came across the perfect azure and cobalt  sky…”

What’s wrong with this picture? I mean, apart from the storm cloud? That’s right: it’s the horribly overwritten description! Often in school, we try to create a more vivid scene by adding more and more words; invariably, these tend to end up being adjectives and adverbs. So, for this competition we’re stripping them out completely. What? Yes, that’s right – your entry shouldn’t contain any adjectives or adverbs – your teacher will give you a refresher course on these so that you can avoid them.

How will you generate the power in your prose now? Don’t worry: there’s plenty of muscle in your old friends the nouns and verbs. Compare the following, for example:

1. The rapid tall man ran quickly down the ornate wooden stairs.
2. He disappeared down the steps.

Which would you prefer as a reader? In the context of a longer story, we feel that the second is substantially shorter and considerably more powerful. Oops! Take out those unnecessary adjectives and adverbs: it pulses with life.

You can spend as much time as you like preparing your story and experimenting with styles. However, competition entries should ideally be completed without notes in school in a timed session of no more than an hour. Stories must be only the student's work. Entrants should be resident in the Bailiwick of Guernsey; all ages should be as of 31st July 2012.

Pieces will be judged on creativity, clarity, style, and should try to include
some dialogue. The winners will be announced shortly before the start of the festival.
Official start of competition:  Monday 11 June.
Official Close of competition: Monday 30 July.

Send your entries to: Sarah Maguire, Guernsey Arts Commission, Guernsey Information Centre, North Esplanade, St Peter Port, Guernsey, GY1 2LQ (include your age group)
Email your entries to:
(include your story in the body of your email, together with your age group)