Posted in fabo story, The Winner

Helen Vivienne Fletcher’s FABO Judge’s Report

Gosh! There were so many fantastic stories this fortnight, it’s been a really hard decision whittling them down to a winner. Jodie and Arlo were taken on a huge range of adventures. We had visits to Candyland, the Hall of Daydreams and portals to other universes. There were appearances by unicorn-goats, clones, dinosaurs, werewolves, vampires, shapeshifters, aliens and more. We had happy endings, scary endings, and a few “it was all a dream” endings. Everyone who entered should be really proud of the stories they created.

One thing I’d like to note is that we had several entries where the point of view in the story changed from third person (Jodie/her/she) to first person (I/my/me) and then back again. In most cases, a story should be consistently one or the other. If you were one of the people who switched part way through, don’t worry, I didn’t mark you down for it, but it’s something to look for when proofreading your stories. Remember to read through your work a few times before you send it in, or try reading your story aloud, to make sure you catch any errors like this.

Now on to the top stories.

First up, some honourable mentions. Niamh Murray had some beautiful descriptions in her story and tackled a heavy subject. Bethany from Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School had a really exciting start to the story and some great tension building up – I hope you keep going with this one, Bethany, as it seems like it could be the start of a much longer story. Ella Stewart had strong dialogue and great characterisation – I felt like we really got to know Arlo and Jodie in your story – plus I wouldn’t mind a drop of your speed potion myself! Ria Nielsen’s plot was really unique, with a tiny door in the alleyway, leading to a button that ended the universe. Chloe Hourigan had fantastic world building in her story – I loved the idea of stepping through to a world where dinosaurs had survived. Well done to all of you for your fabulous stories.

But now the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

The runner up is… Indigo Tomlinson. Indigo’s story had fantastic descriptions, a great beginning middle and end, and a little bit of a moral too. Well done!

And the overall winner… Lucy Kennedy. Lucy’s story had a great mix of description and action. She had natural-sounding dialogue, and her story flowed well with a satisfying conclusion. Congratulations, Lucy!

You can read Lucy’s story below. Indigo and Lucy, check your email for a note from me about your prizes.

Finally, a clarification of one of the competition rules: unfortunately, we can only accept one story per author per fortnight. If you submit multiple stories, we will only be able to judge the first one, so take your time and submit the best story you can. If you’ve got lots of different ideas, that’s okay! You can still write all of them as practice, then send us just your favourite one. Remember, there’s a new story starter each fortnight, and you can enter a story every time, so even though you can only enter one story for each story starter, there are still plenty of chances to be in to win.


Lucy’s winning story…

Jodie hesitated, would it be dangerous? She glanced back at the track, which was looking more hot, sticky, and uninviting by the second. As Jodie followed Arlo into the cool shade, she noticed that the bright light was retracting slowly towards the end of the passageway. “Umm… Arlo?”, whispered Jodie. She wasn’t sure why, but for some reason she felt like she should whisper in this new, slightly unsettling place. “Yes Jodie?”, said Arlo. “Where are we going?”, she questioned him. “You’ll find out”, he answered. Finally, they reached the end of the alley. There was a tall blue brick wall and it seemed that the light so – bright now it was almost blinding – was pulling itself inside the gaps between the bricks. In the middle of the wall was a dark red wooden door with a golden handle and a little silver nameplate that read:


Jodie noticed a small wooden crate next to the door. It was filled with dirt and had a flower in it that looked like a sunflower but was, for some reason, purple. That’s weird, thought Jodie. She decided that she liked it. Then Arlo grabbed the stem of the rare-looking flower and pulled it out of the ground. Jodie was about to protest and yell at him when she noticed two things: one, another flower had already grown in the first one’s place; two, attached to the roots of the flower was a key. Arlo plucked the key from the roots and turned to Jodie. “Are you ready?”, he said. “ Yes”, said Jodie.

Arlo put the key in the door and turned it. The door opened with a satisfying click and they stepped through, onto the other side. Inside was a room that was seemingly made of light and glitter and… magic. Jodie looked at Arlo, scarcely believing what she was seeing, and he grinned at her. “Its crazy, right?”, he said. “Definitely crazy!”, she agreed. He yelled “Come on!”, then ran straight through the wall. Jodie gasped and went up to the wall. She put her hand through the shining golden wall, which, upon touching felt like dust. She shut her eyes tight and stepped through.

Suddenly she was falling, falling so fast, the ground was getting closer and closer, bigger and bigger and then somehow, she slowed. She opened her eyes to see that an assortment of colourful butterflies were carrying her down to the ground! She gasped again, this time out of amazement, and laughed out of shock, relief, and happiness. It was only when her feet touched the ground that she realised where she was. The finish line! So Arlo had known a shortcut… a magical, wonderful, secret one! She raced up to Arlo and smiled. Maybe cross country wasn’t so bad after all…


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