The Write Stuff is a short story competition which sees the legendary Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE join forces with The Sunday Times in a bid to discover the next generation of young female writers. The competition is open to all girls who live in the UK and are aged 11-18. All you have to do is write a short, fictional story with the theme of ‘friendship’. It should be no more than 1,000 not including the title.
Research by the National Literary Trust has revealed that only one in four girls see writing as cool and 49% of 14,000 girls surveyed preferred watching TV to reading. Whilst this is really upsetting I must admit that it’s not a huge shock – and for all of the girls out there who would rather watch TV than read – you just haven’t found the right book yet!!
I think this competition is such a good idea and the prize is pretty awesome too. The competition will see a number of short stories produced into an ebook by HarperCollins and the winning story will be publishing on the Sunday Times website. A number of the girls who create the best short stories will also receive an exclusive story-writing masterclass with Barbara Taylor Bradford and Eleanor Mills, Editorial Director of The Sunday Times.
More information about the competition can be found at the following website address: http://www.barbarataylorbradford.co.uk/thewritestuff and follow The Write Stuff on Twitter @WriteStuffUK
And just in case any of you budding writers out there are thinking of entering, here’s Barbara Taylor Bradford’s top ten tips for writing short stories:
- Write something you would want to read yourself.
- Before you start writing, know how your story is going to end. Think it all through.
- Try and make the first few paragraphs of your story gripping. Use hooks to grab the reader’s attention from the beginning.
- Wherever you can, use actions and speech to let readers know what’s happening. Show, don’t tell.
- In order to develop a living, breathing, multi-faceted character, it is important to know more about the character than you will use in the story. Perfect characters are not very interesting!
- You have 1,000 words so use each one carefully. Make every word count and don’t crowd the story with too many characters. You haven’t got the space.
- Plot: if you over-complicate it by including too many distractions, your story will be overloaded and underdeveloped.
- Remember to check your spelling and grammar. It makes a difference.
- Read your finished story out aloud – it will help you to spot mistakes.
- Ensure your short story has a proper resolution, an ending which will satisfy the reader.
When I was growing up it was my dream to one day become a writer so I would have loved to have entered a competition like this, so if you’re eligible grab this competition with both hands and show Barbara Taylor Bradford what you’re made of! Good Luck!