First of all a hearty pat on the back to everyone who sent in a story. Writers write! You are all writers. Thanks for entering my story comp – “Magic At McMinty Towers.”
Elena 10, Lilly 10, Nova 8, Bronte 10, Kaylin 13, Jessica 12, Sophie 9, Lauren 9, Benjamin 13, Chantelle 9, Sienna 10, Mali 9, Samantha 12, Elise 11, Leonie 11, Jack 10, Addison 12, Asha 13, Sophia 11, Belle 12, Hugo 10, Luciana 10, Millie 9, Bayla 10, Tula 10, Leo 10, Sophie 11, Amelia 10, Emily 9, Juliet 10, Briar 9, Sophie 9, Jack 10, Cyla 10, Lauren 12, Adele Z 10, Lillian 10, Leo 8, Frank 10, Carol 10, Cooper 10, Lara 10, Vishak 11, Anja 11, Lyla 11, Lilah 11, Holly J 11, Tanya 11, Acsayahm 11, Sophie V 10, Makere 10, Chloe 10, Oliver 11, Michaela 10, Emmy 10, Thea 10, Janna 10, Savannah 10, Emma 11, Mia 11, Seth 11, Sienna 12, Stella 9, Zola 9, Menzie 9, Kincaid 10, Niamh 11, Bill 9, Charlotte 11, Alice 11, Thakkshan 11, Sienna 9, Bella 10, Zoe 11, Loughlan 10, Claudia 10, Laxshay 9, Trae 11, Leila 10, Elina 10, Emer 13, Aria 12, Aurie 13, Adele S 10, Indigo T 13, Arshiya 11, Emmy 11, Danika 11, Johnna 11, Angela 10, Holly 11, Yeih 10, Nehali 11, Shaun 8, Arya 10, Cleo 11, Madeline 13, Alice L 10, Teresa 11, Sophie A 10, Heeya 11, Fiona 10, Cedar 10, Bianca 10, Olivia 11, Charlotte B 10, Sophie W 10, Olivia10, Suie 11, Libby 9, Indigo L 11, Amy 10, Isla 10, Ava 10, Max 12, Henry 11, Aaliya 10, Mila 10, Flynn 10, Lenie 9, Maya 10, Lucas 11, Fred 9, Amber 9, Sophie M 11, Rose 8, An 10, Ava 11, Sophie Q 10, Elsa 10, George 9, Maisie 8, Rithika 10, Briana 9, Micaela 11, Stella 8, Maia 10, Annie 11, Bella D 10, Allyana 9, Mattie 12, Scarlett 7, Levi 8, Bailee 11, Shiloh 11, Maia A 11, Owen 11, Nia 11, Lara S 9, Jerry 12, Maggie 10, Jessica H 10, Coco 11, Sherine 11.
What a great collection of magical mayhem there was! Every writer confidently wrote stories using magical realism. This shows you’ve all read widely (and watched movies) in this genre. Excellent. There were plenty of neat plot set-ups, tricky challenges, great sibling rivalry (often with one twin stuck on the ceiling, or turned into a frog) and fantastically creative witchcraft and wizardry.
Along with fun, spooky details. There were many variations of: lairs, levitation, dragon’s blood, children’s blood, magic chants, forbidden forests, black cats, broomsticks, crystal trees, crystal lakes, trolls, pirates, cauldrons, wands, evil spells, rhyming spells, frogs, boils, rats, black pointy hats, capes, talking scrolls, goblin spit, smashed toenails, worn maps on parchment paper, alicorns, wax seals, riddles, demons, snakes, ghosts, skeletons, dusty grimoires, orbs, staffs, spells in Latin, cockroaches, crows, aliens, ogres, cobwebs, a mage, lizards, castles, moats, broom cupboards, monsters and more. (I might stash this great cache-of-tricks for my next magic story!)
I wish I’d had a spell or a magic wand for choosing the winning story because it was a very tricky job indeed, the standard of writing was so high. After much chanting (I mean reading and re-reading) it was the combination of well-observed, magical imagery, an immediate story set-up providing a face-off with two evil antagonists, which lead to a clever conclusion, which helped me decide.
In First Place – Juliet Young, 10, Halswell
Congratulations, Juliet! Read Juliet’s winning clever, double-crossing tale below.
I’ll be in touch with Juliet to arrange sending out her prize.
In Second Place – Indigo Tomlinson, 13, Huanui
Indigo’s story was written beautifully and had a clever fairy-tale twist with a magic mirror. “Something strange was happening. The mirror seemed to melt, a pool of mercury muddling with the blood on her palm, glowing silver like distilled moonlight. The strange liquid seemed to seep inside of her and as it did, Maeve felt a curious mixture of terror and delight.”
Well done, Indigo!
An Nguyen 10, South Hornby.
An had beautiful detailing in her chest, and an ornate gold ring and watch with fantastic powers. “Two blue laser-like lights shot from the jewellery forming a kind of vacuum portal sucking the twins in into it.”
Bella Chen 10, Auckland.
Bella created great tension when Mark, after a fight with his twin over the wizard kit had to find a spell to return Maeve from a pile of dust.
“Bringing Back Spell
.Blood of a child
.Water from a wishing well
As the cloud starts to form, shout the name of the thing you want to bring back.”
Jane’s Story Starter –
Mark and Maeve skipped along the dark corridors of McMinty Towers, and into the dining hall. They expected to see their mother sitting at the head of the table. Instead, they found a letter pinned to the top of a large, black chest.
My Dear Twins,
First of all, Happy Birthday!
This chest contains two magical things:
1 x Witch-Starter-Kit &
1 x Wizard- Starter-Kit
Please choose one kit. Choose carefully as you cannot swap your kit once you have chosen. However, Mark may choose the Witch-Starter-Kit, while Maeve might choose the Wizard-Starter-Kit. It doesn’t matter.
Please write down each spell you test, and the results. A few words of warning. When starting out, I advise all young witches and wizards to use their new powers wisely. Because spells, when not followed correctly can go terribly wrong. Terribly wrong!
Good luck. Good luck, I repeat. You will need it.
Yours in witchcraft
Mother Witch McMinty
Mark shrugged his shoulders. Maeve opened the chest …
Juliet’s winning story –
She gasped. The chest was brimming with clumps of light, pulsating and writhing. “Mother NEVER prepared us for this!” she accused.
“Which one’s which?” Mark wondered. There were two colours, cobalt blue and poison green. The twins eyed them.
“I bags green!” Maeve shrieked, her hand shooting out to clasp the green.
Mark sighed. “I guess I’ll have blue, then.” His twin reverently placed the green orb onto the stone flagged floor. When Mark did the same, the orbs shattered and two beings emerged. One was a delicate fairy clothed in a ragged blue dress, her body a gentle aquamarine. The other was a snake, marked with jagged lines of green. They both started at the sight of the twins.
“Get back!” the fairy screamed.
“Otherwise, I will poison you!” The snake hissed in agreement.
“What do you mean?” Mark asked, crocheting his eyebrows together. The Fairy opened her mouth, displaying fangs lathered with a blue substance.
Maeve’s face creased like a crumpled cloak. “Why are you like this?” she asked.
“Your mother trapped us in here!” the snake rasped. “The Lady Emmaline’s powers got strangled out of her like a wet cloth, leaving only her poison!”
The fairy’s head nodded grimly. “Lord Banter’s magic left, as he’s claustrophobic.” The twins mirrored each other’s disbelief.
“That’s why YOU’RE going to help us destroy her power.” Lord Banter hissed.
“We can’t!” the twins said in unison. “She’s our mother!”
Lady Emmaline grimaced. “Would you willingly help if we revealed that she sabotaged your results from Magic High so you didn’t get in?” Lord Banter rasped.
Mark’s eyes widened. “What?” Maeve croaked. “She sabotaged us?” A pot of emotions simmered in Mark’s stomach.
“Or if we said she made you fall off you brooms?” Lady Emmaline elaborated. “Or if …”
“STOP!” cried Maeve, “we’ll help!”
“Good,” Lord Banter said huskily. “Let’s go downstairs. She’ll be there.”
Mark fiddled with the family crest pinned on his cloak, the picture showing the wand crossed over dragon’s fire. Lord Banter glided along, agile and free. Lady Emmaline skipped along, her lank blue hair swinging. Maeve’s side clashed against his, like the Cyanean Rocks.
“Almost at victory!” Lord Banter hiss-murmured.
The click-clack of the twin’s shoes sounded desolate, which echoed their mood.
“Almost there!” Lady Emmaline called.
Maeve’s stomach swirled uneasily. She raised an eyebrow at Mark, questioningly. Mark shrugged back an undulation of answer.
“Almost there, really!” Lord Banter cried cheerfully, and Mark noticed his voice had gone up a notch.
“Heyyyyy…” Mark muttered. “A challenge!” Maeve finished, and was in action before Mark’s heartbeat. They chanted The Explosion Spell and the holograms splattered across the floor in gory glory.
Their beautiful Mother McGinty flowed out of her lab. “You passed!” she declared, holding out her hand to collect the written spells. The twins shared a glance of nervousness.
“We didn’t actually write down any spells.” Maeve admitted. McGinty galaxy grinned.
“Never mind!” she cried. “You used your initiative and spectacular brains and conjured a solution when you realised something was wrong. I’m proud of you two. Well done.” Maeve smiled. “Now mop the corridor!” she ordered, grimacing as she lifted her foot out of the congealed substance. The twins groaned and Mother McGinty smiled. “Scram!” was all she said before vanishing into the atoms.
+Well done, all writers! Keep writing. Jane x