Posted in fabo story, The Winner

FABO Story Report for Competition 3 judged by Helen Vivienne Fletcher

Thanks to everyone who entered a story this fortnight. Jessie, Sarah and Tom certainly got up to some adventures! I had a hard time picking a winner, and there were several stories I came back to many times before finally deciding.

Before I announce the winner, I have a few honourable mentions.

Nella Thomson and Anna Duff had some lovely descriptive language throughout their stories – good use of metaphors and similes!

Adele N had some great humour, with the kids mailing themselves to Paris in order to get the money to fly to Japan. One small problem with that – they then also had to raise the money to get home from France!

Grace Moodie and Adele Stack created fascinating mythology behind the origins of the coin. Grace with three imagined ancient coins, and Adele with an Inca Temple at the heart of her story.

Zhongheng Wu and Caitlin Young took the story down a sci fi track, Caitlin with Sarah turning out to be an alien, and Zhongheng with the inventor of Bitcoin and an intriguing secret project called Oasis 9.

Bill Kelly had a great adventure story, set in a museum, with our heroes getting themselves into a bit of trouble… or not as it turns out in a clever twist at the end.

Niamh Murray’s story was thoughtfully written, telling us two sides to the story – Sarah’s and the story of a supposed villain who had stolen the coin. Villains aren’t always what they seem, and Niamh gave this one a fascinating backstory.

And the winner is…

Indigo Tomlinson. Indigo’s story particularly appealed to me because it felt like a complete story, with interesting descriptions – I loved the line about the anxious typewriter! The dark twist at the end was creepy, but fit the story well, and made for a satisfying conclusion.

My story starter: The Garage Sale

“Is that the best price you can give me?”

Jessie glanced between the man and the $1.50 price tag dangling from the necklace held between his fingers.

“Well … we’re fundraising for our school trip to Japan,” she said, hesitantly.

The man’s arched eyebrow told Jessie that wasn’t the answer he wanted to hear. His piercing stare reminded Jessie of the ones her teacher gave her when she’d forgotten to do her homework.

Her shoulders slumped. “One dollar, okay?”

The man’s face softened, and he dropped two coins on the makeshift counter. He started to turn away, then glanced back. “Good luck with the fundraising, kid. Perhaps you’ll reach your goal faster than you think.” He winked, then walked away, taking the necklace with him.

Jessie swept the coins into the cashbox without looking at them. She couldn’t help thinking they would make the goal faster with that extra 50 cents!

“You’re such a soft touch, Jessie.” Sarah grinned from behind a rack of second-hand clothes.

Tom shook his head. “Not her fault. Some people will haggle over any price.”

Jessie sighed. Tom was right, but they were never going to raise enough for the trip if people kept asking for discounts. This was the third garage sale they’d held, and they were still nowhere near meeting their fundraising target.

“How much have we made today?” Sarah asked.

Jessie opened the cashbox, tipping the money out to count it. The rattle of coins stopped disappointingly soon. Sarah and Tom both groaned.

“We’ll never get to Tokyo at this rate!”

Sarah started sorting the coins into piles.

“Hey, what’s this one?” Tom held up a large bronze coin. It was bigger than any of the others, and it had a strange spiral symbol in the middle. “I’ve never seen money like this before…”

Sarah’s face paled. “I have,” she said. “But you’re not going to believe where …”

Indigo’s Story

Before Sarah could continue, Tom spat on his thumb and started rubbing the surface of the coin idly. An electric shock ripped the air apart and an urgent “ding” like the sound of an anxious typewriter reaching the edge of the page, evaporated into the air. Jessie felt her body fragment into mist, and she was slurped up into the atmosphere like the last dregs of hot chocolate in the bottom of the mug.

They were standing in an abandoned courtyard. Above them the sky was the colour of tea-stained paper, and in front a cracking marble fountain stood, bubbling dejectedly like half-flat lemonade.

Slowly, Jessie walked towards the dribbling fountain. It gurgled anxiously as she approached. At the base of the fountain thousands more unusual coins created a crazy-paving pattern.

“It’s like a wishing well!” Sarah exclaimed, “That’s where I’ve seen a coin like that before.”

“Maybe that’s what the man meant!” Jessie exclaimed excitedly, “He knew we could use the coin and make a wish to go to Tokyo!”

Fingers trembling with anticipation Jessie released the coin into the fountain. As it tumbled the surface caught the light in odd and unknowing contours of strangeness, and winked at her, as though they shared a secret.

The fountain began to shake at the sides, and from the water rose a terrifying figure. As they watched the man seemed to morph and change shape subtly, elongating shadows filling the empty grooves on his forehead and the wasted hollows of his sunken cheeks. Where his right eye should have been, a silver coin gleamed menacingly.

Jessie gasped and took a step back, heart pounding.
The man’s nails, stained with murky verdigris, tapped impatiently on the rim of the pathetically pouting fountain.

“Ahhhh….” his voice rang out like the chink of coins in the bottom of a wishing well.

“Uh, hi!” Jessie gave him the blatantly cheerful smile she usually reserved specifically for visits to the dentist.

“I see you made a wish….” the man reached out one spindly arm, and Jessie noticed tattoos running up and down every inch of exposed skin, embossed like indents in metal.

“Well…” Jessie felt her merry-go-lucky fairground facade falling away.

“Who are you?” Tom asked, no trace of fear in his brash voice.

The man gave a wide smile and Jessie saw that his teeth were made of coppery bronze.
“I am the Wish-Granter, boy.” The way he said “boy” sounded like an insult, spat from his mouth like something distasteful. “The wishes give me life, and in return I make them come true.”

“So we can go to Tokyo?” Jessie asked hopefully. The man gave a bitter little quirk of the lips,

“Be careful what you wish for.” He melted into the shadows like a dying candle.

Jessie raced to the fountain and scrambled to retrieve the wish coin. But it was lost amid the others. The man’s final words had been a warning. The sky darkened…..

Three newly polished coins chinked into the wishing well of Tokyo airport, as though dropped from an invisible hand. If anyone had looked closer, they would have seen the faces of Tom, Sarah and Jessie, engraved in harsh lines on the silvered surface.
But no-one did.
Be careful what you wish for indeed.

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Enter the third FABO Competition judged by Helen Vivienne Fletcher!

★ The second FABO Story competition for 2021 has closed and author Melinda Szymanik has announced the winners. You can read her report by clicking here.

★ The third FABO Story competition has started and author Helen Vivienne Fletcher has written the start of the story. Finish the story and enter the competition now!

Click here to take a look at the schedule for this year’s competitions.

Instructions

1. Read the story starter and continue the story.

2. We prefer your story to be 500 words or less (not including the story starter). Stories over 550 words will be disqualified.

3. You have two weeks 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 Friday June 11th (NZ time).

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

6. Every fortnight 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 mystery prize donated by Helen!

Helen’s Story Starter: The Garage Sale

“Is that the best price you can give me?”

Jessie glanced between the man and the $1.50 price tag dangling from the necklace held between his fingers.

“Well … we’re fundraising for our school trip to Japan,” she said, hesitantly.

The man’s arched eyebrow told Jessie that wasn’t the answer he wanted to hear. His piercing stare reminded Jessie of the ones her teacher gave her when she’d forgotten to do her homework.

Her shoulders slumped. “One dollar, okay?”

The man’s face softened, and he dropped two coins on the makeshift counter. He started to turn away, then glanced back. “Good luck with the fundraising, kid. Perhaps you’ll reach your goal faster than you think.” He winked, then walked away, taking the necklace with him.

Jessie swept the coins into the cashbox without looking at them. She couldn’t help thinking they would make the goal faster with that extra 50 cents!

“You’re such a soft touch, Jessie.” Sarah grinned from behind a rack of second-hand clothes.

Tom shook his head. “Not her fault. Some people will haggle over any price.”

Jessie sighed. Tom was right, but they were never going to raise enough for the trip if people kept asking for discounts. This was the third garage sale they’d held, and they were still nowhere near meeting their fundraising target.

“How much have we made today?” Sarah asked.

Jessie opened the cashbox, tipping the money out to count it. The rattle of coins stopped disappointingly soon. Sarah and Tom both groaned.

“We’ll never get to Tokyo at this rate!”

Sarah started sorting the coins into piles.

“Hey, what’s this one?” Tom held up a large bronze coin. It was bigger than any of the others, and it had a strange spiral symbol in the middle. “I’ve never seen money like this before…”

Sarah’s face paled. “I have,” she said. “But you’re not going to believe where …”

Now You Finish The Story…

Posted in fabo story, The Winner

FABO Story report for competition 4 judged by Helen Vivienne Fletcher!

Wow! Judging Fabo Story is never an easy task, with so many talented young writers sending in their work, but this round there were a whopping 277 entries which made picking just one winner a particularly difficult job.

I was so impressed with the fantastic stories, and the range of ideas and styles of writing presented, especially as many of you are only just beginning to explore storytelling, and are already so talented. Our youngest entrant was just four years old, which is an amazing effort, and I think might be a record for youngest ever entrant to Fabo (thanks Harlyn and Harlyn’s helper!)

We had bookshelves falling down like dominoes, staircases made of books, Uncle Toby appearing with a ladder, and one story where Marco climbed a stuffed giraffe to reach the top shelf. There were many fantastical stories. Julia Moffitt’s library-eating book and sugar-and-spice-stew cure was a great adventure that had me on the edge of my seat. But I also enjoyed the real-world tales. I was always happy when Marco finally found a cosy armchair, or spot sitting in a tree, to curl up and read, like in Amy Cordwell’s entry where Marco had to outwit his uncle, with a cup of tea, to finally get the chance to read.

There were flying books, talking books, blank books Marco had to write himself, and books that were portals to Candyland, Booktopia, Wonderland and many other fantastical worlds. There were hidden jewels, secret tunnels, magical buttons, and keys, lockets, whistles and notes hidden between the pages.

There were pixies, fairies, trolls, narwhals, and robot dog librarians; evil and imposter versions of Uncle Toby, and missing parents being returned or coming back to life. I also enjoyed the cameos from book and fairy tale characters, from Harry Potter to Tweedle Dum and Dee, Cinderella to Toothless, Red Riding Hood and many more. We also had a few real life “characters” appearing, including Donald Trump, Bear Grylls, and I even found myself popping up in a few stories. I also loved the original characters created by entrants – Amy Dillon’s Bookeaters and Lilly Griffiths’ character “Charli” were some that stood out.

Some stories had stories within the story, poems, secret messages or riddles, and a few had powerful morals. Maytal Noy’s cleverly rhyming poem was one particularly notable example, and Ishel of Te Miro School and Jesse Richards had great stories with lessons woven into them. I was also very impressed with Molly Sherriff, who included an original blurb for a book in her story. Ask any author and they’ll tell you writing the blurb can sometimes be harder than writing the book itself, so Molly did very well to create a convincing one.

With so many entries, it’s impossible to mention everyone, but please know that every story was carefully read and considered. There were so many stories I loved, so please don’t be discouraged if you don’t find your name or idea mentioned here. A huge number of the ideas were strong enough to be developed into much longer stories or even novels. I know many of you will go on to do great things with your writing.

Before I announce the winning entry, I’d like to mention a few runners up.

Abigail of Royal Oak Intermediate and Cassia Wallace. These were stories that had me thinking about them later. Making a story creepy without being over the top takes a lot of skill, and both of these entries did this very well.

Evie Haughton had some great imagery. I particularly liked the moment where Marco saw his own reflection in the crystal wall, and it made him rethink the consequences of sharing his discovery.

Indigo Tomlinson – Great writing makes you want to share it with other people. I really wanted to tell all my writer friend’s about the writing residency in Indigo’s story, and the evil uncle stealing ideas. A very imaginative plot – Uncle Toby clearly hasn’t stolen Indigo’s ideas!

And now, on to the winner…

Congratulations, 12-year-old, Ariana Kralicek.

One of my criteria for a winning story is one that stays with me after I finish reading. Ariana had such vivid imagery in her story, it was easy to picture the strange world she described, and I found myself thinking about it long after I had put it down.

Ariana’s writing was full of carefully built tension. Lines like:

“It felt heavy and rough, brimming with secrets threatening to spill”
drew me into the story and made me want to know more. I just had to find out the English translation of the Czech phrase, and I wanted to know what was beyond the strange archway. I even dreamt about Ariana’s story, which told me it had certainly had a powerful effect!

Chris Mousdale, author of A Place of Stone and Darkness also read Ariana’s story and had this to say:

This is a lovely, poetic image: “A rainstorm of books had flooded the room, a dull haze of colours.”

The story passage builds very effectively as we follow Marco through the bookshelf ‘portal’ device that brings him to the doorway.

Good use of simile: “…like a spear through a tree trunk.” Of course, I had to google translate the Czech phrase – ‘The land of miracles, the fate of death’!

It seems the journey will be dangerous. Will the miracles evade the inevitability of fate or will they offer surprises that we never saw coming?

Ariana delivers a gripping prelude and her writing is assured and evocative. Terrific!

Congratulations again, Ariana! We’ll be in touch about your prize, a book from our fabulous sponsor, Puffin Books.

Helen Vivienne Fletcher xx

Helen Vivienne Fletcher’s Story Starter

Marco had never met anyone who had a whole library in their house before. Bookshelves, sure, maybe even a wall covered in books, but never a whole room. His uncle had just that, and it was a BIG room. The towering shelves stretched up, up, up in front of Marco, each containing hundreds, if not thousands of tomes. He spotted Alice in Wonderland on one shelf, The Wizard of Oz on another. He’d enjoyed those books, but today he wanted to read something new.

He wandered between the shelves, reading the spines. Something was calling to him, he could feel it. Like a little whispering voice, it was as if he could “hear” that the perfect story was in this room, just waiting for him.

Finally, he saw it. At the very top of one of the shelves, a single book seemed to stand out. The title, The Book of the Missing, was written in gold lettering, which caught the light. It was practically glowing! Marco knew he had to read it.

There was just one small problem. The book was near the ceiling, and that was at least three metres out of his reach.

“How on earth does Uncle Toby get books down?” he said aloud.

The books didn’t answer.

“Well,” said Marco, “there’s only one thing for it.”

He got a foot up onto the bottom shelf, and started to climb …

Ariana’s Winning Story

Marco gripped the sturdy shelves as he carefully made his way up. His knuckles were turning white from clinging on, and his feet ached with every step he took.

Finally, he found himself at the very top of the bookshelf. The Book of the Missing was right in front of him. He warily glanced down and was hit with a wave of vertigo. The floor of the library seemed so far away. How had he even made it up this far?

Marco shook off the dizzy feeling and pulled himself together. This was his one chance to prove to himself that he was brave.

He reached out one hand, and closed his exhausted fingers around the Book of the Missing’s spine. It felt heavy and rough, brimming with secrets threatening to spill. But just as he was about to climb down, his left foot slipped off one shelf and in his panic, he fell, bringing the bookshelf down with him.

When Marco finally opened his eyes, he was surrounded by darkness. A heavy weight was crushing him. He gasped for air, and in one swift move, lifted the heavy shelf off himself just enough to wriggle out.

A rainstorm of books had flooded the room, a dull haze of colours.

Marco rubbed his eyes. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted The Book of the Missing. It lay open, a thick black block of words scrawled on each page.

Marco limped over to the book and picked it up. He read aloud the first words he saw.

“Země zázraků, osud smrti.” He recognized the words as Czech, a language from Eastern Europe.

Then, without warning, the book’s pages started flipping rapidly. A thick cloud of dust appeared, enveloping Marco. A swirling sensation made his stomach flip, and his feet couldn’t find hard ground. His eyes screamed for moisture.

And then suddenly, the swirling stopped.

Marco’s feet hit dry soil and a wave of ground shock travelled up his legs, like a spear through a tree trunk.

Marco gazed at his surroundings. Hundreds of piles of metal junk towered above him, rusty and sharp. The sky was a deep grey, and with horror, he realised that the soil he was standing on was a dirty shade of black.

But the one thing that caught his eye was an old-looking wooden archway, with peeling white paint. At the top of the archway was a crooked sign with red letters hastily painted on, as if the person who had made it didn’t care about what it would end up looking like.

As he read the sign, Marco gasped, and arrows of adrenaline shot through his body.

For the words on the sign were Land of the Missing.

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Enter the fourth FABO Story competition now!

The fourth FABO Story competition will be judged by author Helen Vivienne Fletcher. Enter now!

Instructions

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 25th (NZ time).

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.

Helen Vivienne Fletcher’s Story Starter

Marco had never met anyone who had a whole library in their house before. Bookshelves, sure, maybe even a wall covered in books, but never a whole room. His uncle had just that, and it was a BIG room. The towering shelves stretched up, up, up in front of Marco, each containing hundreds, if not thousands of tomes. He spotted Alice in Wonderland on one shelf, The Wizard of Oz on another. He’d enjoyed those books, but today he wanted to read something new.

He wandered between the shelves, reading the spines. Something was calling to him, he could feel it. Like a little whispering voice, it was as if he could “hear” that the perfect story was in this room, just waiting for him.

Finally, he saw it. At the very top of one of the shelves, a single book seemed to stand out. The title, The Book of the Missing, was written in gold lettering, which caught the light. It was practically glowing! Marco knew he had to read it.

There was just one small problem. The book was near the ceiling, and that was at least three metres out of his reach.

“How on earth does Uncle Toby get books down?” he said aloud.

The books didn’t answer.

“Well,” said Marco, “there’s only one thing for it.”

He got a foot up onto the bottom shelf, and started to climb …

Now You Finish The Story…

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.

Helen

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:

SICK OF RUNNING?
SICK OF SWEAT?
COME THROUGH THIS DOOR AND DO NOT FRET!

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…

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

A New FABO Story Starter By Helen Vivienne Fletcher

A new FABO Story competition has started! Author Helen Vivienne Fletcher has written a story starter. Now it’s up to you to finish the story.

Instructions

1. Read the story starter and continue the story.

2. Your story should be no more than 500 words.

3. You have two weeks 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 8pm Friday August 30.

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

6. Every fortnight a children’s author will post a new story starter for you.

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

Helen Vivienne Fletcher’s Story Starter: The Shortcut

“On your marks … Get set … GO!”

Two hundred pairs of feet pounded out of the school gate onto the cross-country track. Jodie had managed to position herself in the middle of the group, but lots of the other kids were overtaking her. Soon she would be at the back, coming last like always.

She started to puff, out of breath already, and she could feel her cheeks turning an embarrassingly bright shade of red.

Oh, how she hated cross country!

It wouldn’t be so bad if there was something interesting to look at, but it was just the same streets and houses she saw every day on the way to and from school.

Jodie wished she could stop for a rest, but teachers lined the course, encouraging everyone to keep running. At least the crowd was thinning out, as more and more students sped off, racing towards the finish line.

Jodie bent down, pretending to tie her shoe, so she could catch her breath. When she stood, she noticed something strange up ahead. One of her classmates, Arlo, had wandered off the racecourse. He glanced around, then ducked between two houses.

Did he know a shortcut?

Jodie checked to make sure none of the teachers were looking, then stepped off the pavement, following Arlo.

There was a narrow alley way running between the houses. How had Jodie never noticed it before? She walked down this street every day. The passageway smelt of mould, and she could hear a repetitive plink, plink, plink noise like water dripping. Jodie couldn’t tell where it was coming from, as the walls of the houses towered above her on either side, blocking out the light.

Jodie stepped forward, peering into the darkness. “Arlo?” she called.

“You shouldn’t have followed me, Jodie.” Arlo’s voice echoed, bouncing off the buildings around them, but she couldn’t see him in the gloom.

Suddenly, the passageway filled with a bright light.

“What is that?” Jodie asked.

Arlo stepped out of the shadows. “Come on. I’ll show you …”

Now You Finish The Story…

Posted in fabo story, The Winner

Fabo Story Judges Report – Helen Vivienne Fletcher

Thank you to everyone who sent in a story this round. This is my first year judging Fabo Story, and I had no idea what a tough job it was going to be! There were so many wonderful stories, I had a hard time choosing just one.

I really liked that many of you had thought about what types of technology we might have in the future. Evangeline Speedy’s suspended animation made a great twist to normal detentions, Sophie’s imagery room sounded like it could be a lot of fun, and Noa Smith’s protect droids (which reversed all the damage of the explosion) would come in very handy! Holly Allison polluted future with acid rain and nuclear storms also clearly had a lot of thought put into it.

I also liked that many of you introduced new complications and threats to keep David and Ella on their toes. Isaac’s giant mutated rat was a clever addition to the story, as were Jessie Avison’s Quibbleyxroms. There were also some fantastic ideas about Aramaya – Indigo Ciara Tomlinson’s imagining of this character was one that stood out, with some well-written description.

It was also nice to see some humour coming through in some of the stories. Jasmine B in particular did a great job of creating some funny banter between Ella and David in amongst the serious situations they found themselves in.

There are many more fantastic ideas I could mention, but I know you’re all itching to find out the final result, so on to the winner…. Congratulations Jeromia Lin!

Jeromia’s story had an exciting beginning, middle and end, and I was also particularly impressed with the use of description. I felt like I could see everything that was happening throughout the story.

You can read Jeromia’s story below.

Congratulations to everyone who entered. You should all be really proud of yourselves. There will be a new story started posted soon, so I hope you all keep writing and entering your fabulous stories.

Jeromia’s Story

Lights flickered on and off inside the school building, their sparks bouncing across the gray exterior of the walls. The sounds were getting louder now, banging and popping filling the atmosphere with an unearthly noise. The screams and yelling of the children were drowned out by the explosions, their booms rumbling and vibrating the ground. David’s back was dripping with sweat, as his clammy hands fumbled across the ground, looking for Ratty. A sudden hiss interrupted his search. Ratty was tangled in a strange man’s arms, biting and clawing and scratching at his arms, struggling to break free. “I have him.”

The bubble was sticking to Ella’s hair as she ran, screaming and shouting for David. She had lost him amongst the chaos, with students and teachers running around screaming. Finally, she spotted him and ran over, relief flooding through her body. “David, I found you! Where’s Rat-” Ella broke off with a gasp. The man had a long black cloak that was blowing in the wind, its sides encrusted with precious jewels. His eyes were unreal, like the heart of a storm, cloudy grey and silver with pale flecks of white. What was most surprising was his arms. They were wrapped in silver cloth, except the cloth was glowing with an unearthly glow. Ratty seemed to be fighting against it- he was batting the man’s arms, trying to free himself from his grip. The man spoke, his voice a strange rasp. “I want your rat.”

The strange man in the black cloak spoke like a hissing, rasping snake. His voice seemed to scratch the surface, and Ella flinched at the sound. “Your rat is much more special than you think.” He licked the sides of his lips, and continued. “He has a special gift, one that is only found once in every millennia. He has the power to control time. Using my extractor, I can control this power myself.” His eyes started to glow, and the air began to hiss and crackle with heat. Then Ella did the first, most unexpected thing she could think of. She took off her bubble and threw it at him.

The man was knocked to the ground, and Ratty scrambled out of his grasp. The atmosphere began to warp, and the man disappeared into an ominous fog. Then everything was black.

Ella and David had saved the world. For now.

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Enter The Latest FABO Story Competition Now!

Are you ready for a new FABO Story Competition? Author Helen Vivienne Fletcher has written a new story starter. Finishing the story is up to you!

This year, the Fabosters are having fun with Time Travel. A reluctant duo travels through time and space.

(Michele Powles has judged the last competition and you can find her report here).

Instructions

1. Read the story starter and continue the story.

2. Your story should be no more than 500 words.

3. You have two weeks 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 8pm Friday July 6.

5. Every fortnight a children’s author will post a new story starter for you. The stories will follow on with the same two characters.

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


Illustration by Ronja Schipper

Lost in the PE Shed Vortex: Episode Five

Ratty darted in and out between the orb-headed students’ feet. They skittered away from him, jumping this way and that as they tried not to step on him.

Ratty raced across the grass, disappearing into one of the strange-looking school buildings on the other side of the sports field.

“Ratty!” David yelled, and started after him.

Ella tried to run after them as well, but she stumbled, feeling dizzy. “David, wait! I don’t feel so good.” Ella sat down with a thump, the dizziness overwhelming her.

“What are you doing?” David ran back to Ella and tried to help her up. “We have to go after Ratty!”

But now David wasn’t feeling good either. He’d thought it was just the trip through the time portal into the future that had made him vomit earlier, but now he wasn’t so sure. He lay down on the ground next to Ella, clutching his stomach.

“Stranger alert! Stranger alert!”

The weird, silver-orb-headed students weren’t running away from Ratty anymore, they were heading straight for David and Ella.

“What do we do?” Ella tried to get up, but she couldn’t.

“I don’t know!” David couldn’t get up either.

The blob-headed people surrounded them. David and Ella cowered, as one of them leaned down.

Swwooosh! Pop!

Suddenly an opening appeared in the front of the silver orb. A normal girl’s face peered out.

“What are you doing?” she said. “You can’t be out here without an atmosphere helmet!”

She grabbed the sides of her helmet, pulling off two small silver blobs.

“Breathe through these, quickly.” She pressed the blobs to Ella and David’s faces.

Instantly the sick feeling eased. David touched his face. The blob was all gooey and squishy It was like breathing through a bowl of silver jelly.

The girl pulled Ella to her feet.

“Who are you?” Ella asked.

“Ballecia Bendenet,” the girl said. “Head girl.” Ballecia gave a little curtesy, which was copied by all of the other students. “Now we’ve got to get inside. Those filters won’t last for long!”

Two of the other students picked Ella up, and started running towards the school building.

Ballecia grabbed David’s hand and pulled him along too.

“But our rat!” David’s voice came out muffled through the goo.

Ballecia shook her head. “No time. You’ll drown out here if your filter runs out!”

David pulled away from her. “But Ratty had this bracelet. It said it was going to explode if we didn’t get it back to Aramaya Abalonia.”

The girl’s face went pale. “Not a Sissy 7.3? How long did it say until detonation?”

“Eighteen minutes,” Ella yelled. “But I’m not sure how long ago that–”

From inside the school building, they heard an explosion…

Now You Finish The Story…