We give you the beginning of the story and you write what happens next!

The second FABO Story competition for 2020 is here! Author Maureen Crisp has posted a story starter and it’s up to you to finish the story.

Important Note: As the first FABO competition was originally advertised as closing on April 10, Melinda is still accepting entries. If you have written a story for that competition but not yet submitted it, you can use the form on this page. The winners of the first competition will be announced on SATURDAY APRIL 11th.


1. Read the story starter and continue the story.

2. Your story should be no more than 500 words (not including the story starter).

3. You have a week to write your story, so there’s no need to rush! Take your time and send us the best story you can write.

4. Send your story to us by 7pm Saturday April 11th.

5. The winner of the competition will be announced on this website a few days after the competition closes.

6. Every week there will be a new competition and a children’s author will post a new story starter for you.

7. The competition is open to kids aged 13 and under.

8. The winner will receive a Puffin book of their choice* and their story published on the Penguin NZ website!

*book must be $25 or under, book must be in stock, book will be delivered post lockdown.

Maureen’s Story Starter

It was a dark and stormy night, so Rona made sure her torch worked before she stepped off the deck into the long wet grass.

‘It isn’t fair,’ she grumbled. Why did she have to check on the chickens?

Ever since last week’s explosion her mother hadn’t trusted her brother to do anything. Rona squelched through puddles, her gumboots making a squish suck sound until she found the path.

She flicked the torch around, the light was feeble in the gloom of the back yard. Wind whipped the branches so they clattered and crunched into each other making a brawl of sound. Rona’s hair was now getting plastered to her face with the torrents of rain.

‘I give up.’ Any chicken still outside the coop was going to be as brainless as her brother. She turned to head back to the house. The crack of lightening lit up the back yard. In the flash Rona saw the veggie garden, the washing line and a stray penguin.

Thunder rolled and faded. The dark gloom raced back into the yard. Rona stood frozen staring into the dark. She was looking right at a mountain of trouble for someone.

‘It’s not fair,’ she muttered as she went forward knowing that she was all that stood between her family and chaos. ‘Why me?’ …

Now You Finish The Story…

390 thoughts on “We give you the beginning of the story and you write what happens next!

    1. Thanks for your question. You can follow the blog via email using the link on the Home page. Or simply check back after the competitions start, and you’ll find instructions for entering.

  1. We’re kiwis living in Japan at the moment and my daughter is really keen to enter. She’s a New Zealand citizen – is that allowed? Thanks!

    1. Hi Lucy, thanks for your message. The difficulty with entries from far-flung countries is the cost of postage when sending a prize to the winner. We currently receive no funding for running the competitions, so the prizes (and postage) are paid for by the author themselves. Therefore, we would welcome an entry from your daughter, but we may not be able to post her a prize if she wins. If she wishes to still enter for the fun of it, she is welcome to.

  2. I love the idea of the story starter. This one seems very long. Do you think next time you could make the story starter much shorter? I feel it only needs to be a couple of carefully chosen sentences to stimulate the imagination without constraining either the story content or the style. My children would be keener to participate then as they would feel a greater sense of ownership of the final story.

    1. Hi Toby
      We’re sorry this starter has proven a bit long for your children. We’ve found over the years, because we have opened the competition to a wide range of ages to give as many children as possible the opportunity to enter, that this style of starter works well. Children come to the competition with a wide range of skills and backgrounds, and this length of starter provides enough detail to play with whilst still being open ended.

      Of course each starter will vary according to the author who has written it so you may find some future challenges will suit your needs better. And of course, do feel free to just read out a portion of the story starter to your children and let them go from there.

      Happy writing

  3. Hello, I just entered! I can’t wait for the results, and I was wondering if we get an email that we didn’t win a prize? Will we still get an email? I have never done these before, so I can’t wait!

    1. Hi there. A few days after the competition closes, the judge will write a report and select a winner. The report will be posted on the website when it’s ready, and if you have subscribed you will automatically receive an email with the details. Good luck!

  4. I read that the story for the current competition must be over 500 words. My story is around 700 words. Is that too long?

  5. Such a fun idea. My grandkids live in Australia, but visit me here in NZ, in fact they may have been here now if it wasn’t for the travel/lockdown. So okay for them to enter? Any possible prize could be sent to me in NZ?
    Their ages are 6 and 10, do you allow for different ages in the quality and spelling? Thanks, M

  6. Hello, last week the kids were given 2 weeks to write the story with a deadline of 10th April. I can’t see where my daughter can submit her story for last week’s story starter. Can you help please.

  7. Hi Maureen, I am a bit confused about the story starter. Is it the penguin that is about to cause chaos in the family? Thank You

    1. Hi there. The story is deliberately ambiguous, so you get to choose what it is that’s about to cause chaos in the family. You can write the ending however you think it should end.

  8. I am new to this website and I am a little confused but the compitions seem awesome.can you just full me in about what happens around here
    Amelie(age 10)

  9. Oh, it’s a shame the closing date for the first competition has changed. My daughter (9yo) has written something and we had 10 April in mind to submit it. Can she still submit? Thanks

    1. Hi Marja. Your daughter can still submit her story using the form on the home page. The first competition is not closing until 10 April so Melinda is still accepting entries.

    1. Errors with spelling and grammar won’t always stop you winning. The most important thing is to write a great story that we love. But we enjoy reading stories more when the spelling and punctuation is right, so spending a bit of time on these things does help. We also highly recommend re-reading your story a few times before submitting it.

  10. How will you get in touch with us for the prize if we win because I have submitted my entry I just don’t know how you are going to keep in touch with the person who wins.
    – Anika

    1. We don’t mind if someone reads it and makes suggestions about your spelling or even if they read it and say that they think you need to do some more work on it. Perhaps they say ‘I don’t think the ending is quite right. It doesn’t fit with the rest of the story. Have another think about that.’ All writers ask people for feedback. We just don’t want adults rewriting your story for you. We like reading kids’ stories. That’s why we’re children’s authors.

  11. FABO is really cool! I love all the story starters, they are really inspiring and help to create the beginning of a great story. How would you know if you were the lucky winner?
    Would you receive an email saying if you won it or not?


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