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Judges Report – Melinda Szymanik

Fabostory June 9th to 22nd – judged by Melinda Szymanik

There were 32 entries this time round. It was great to read all of your amazing and intriguing stories. There were all sorts of different ideas: some sad, some dark and haunting and some wild and fantastical. Some stories had marvellous beginnings but no endings. Some of those beginnings were so intriguing and rich with potential, I was sad they didn’t continue so I could find out how things worked out. Some had wonderful descriptions – I loved the poetry of this line from Whistler Christensen – “Jason heard the drifting sounds of leaves falling down trying to find their way back up.” And this from Isabella Sagar – “The musky, damp smell comforted him with a ghostly hug.” The patu is a tool or weapon used by Maori people and I enjoyed those stories that used this knowledge. In Lexi Clarkson’s story I liked how Jason became the patu and saw a Maori battle through its eyes. But I also enjoyed the stories that gave the patu new and interesting powers.

Think about how your story might end before you get started writing. And when you have finished remember to read it aloud (even if you are just reading it to yourself), to check that you have the commas and full stops in the right places and that you have the right tenses and correct spelling.

Junior Writers

Ida Scott wrote a great story that sees Jason becoming a powerful chief when he picks up the patu. I also enjoyed Rosie Meyer’s tale of rags to riches for Jason when he returns the patu to its rightful owner.

And my winner in this category is Maria Laurie from Thorrington School, Christchurch, who wrote a terrific story with a compelling beginning and middle, and a satisfying ending, with good dialogue and an effective well rounded character in Jason. I also liked the description of Jason’s home life. Nice work Maria!

Senior Writers

Alice Tiso’s story was powerful, and, as with Maria Laurie’s story, effectively used the patu to connect the past with the present, and the future. Lexi Clarkson used the patu to take Jason back in time to a particular battle that saw the death of the patu’s owner. At the end of this compelling story Jason fittingly sees the patu as the gravestone at the warrior’s final resting place. In Peyton Morete’s chilling tale the patu was the source of a dangerous and evil power. I liked how Peyton made good use of the paua too.

And the winner of this category is Isabella Sagar from St Cuthbert’s in Auckland, who created lovely atmospheric descriptions with her poetic writing. Although hers is not a long story, it still feels complete, touches on issues such as conservation, and self-worth, and has a clever little twist at the end.

I also enjoyed the stories written by Lucy Ford and Rosa Adam. Well done both of you!

I urge you all to keep writing. I can already see improvements in the work you are sending in. Maria Laurie and Isabella Sagar, would you please contact me at melinda@tale-spin.com to discuss your prizes.

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