Posted in fabo story, The Winner

FABO Story report for competition 8 judged by Jane Bloomfield

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!

Highly Commended

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.”

Commended

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
Ingredients:
.Blood of a child
.Water from a wishing well
.A Star
.Smashed Toenails
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.

(end)

+Well done, all writers! Keep writing. Jane x

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Enter the eighth FABO Story report judged by Jane Bloomfield

★ The seventh FABO Story competition for 2021 has finished and author Maureen Crisp is reading your stories. She’ll announce a winner shortly. 

★ The eighth FABO Story competition for 2021 has started and author Jane Bloomfield  has written a story starter. Finish the story your way, and enter now!

★  AND if you’re in New Zealand and you’d like another writing challenge to keep you busy during lockdown, enter the Poetry Box Lockdown Poetry Challenge

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 September 3rd (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 the judge.

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 …

Now you finish the story…

Posted in fabo story, The Winner

FABO Story report for competition 10 judged by Jane Bloomfield

I wanted to try something a little different with my story-starter this time round. To take you keen young writers out of a contemporary setting and put you into a fantastical, historical one. With witches! As a child, I spent many a happy, weekend morning in bed with my Mum reading fairytales. Some really worried me. The foolish emperor running around town in the nuddy, in The Emperor’s New Clothes. Some made me quite sad. Rapunzel locked in the tower by the wicked sorceress, only able to be rescued if she let down her rope of golden hair. (Thank goodness for the prince riding past.) The boastful miller in Rumplestiltskin sending his daughter away to endlessly spin straw into gold for the greedy king.

Thankfully in fairytales, more often than not, good eventually overcomes evil. With Pearl and The Golden Apples, ‘greed shall not be rewarded’ was a recurring theme in the many entries. For example:

Khloe Demetriou, 12, Highlands Intermediate’s witch encouraged Pearl to try a golden apple, then turned her into a kitten and warned, “From this day on you will not eat another golden apple, if you do I’ll turn you into something you won’t be happy with.” The golden apples were too tempting. “Her hands were small, slimy and the colour of seaweed … Oh no, I’m a frog.”

I loved all the wicked crones with their debilitating powers, and the magical apples (especially the apples with gold seeds!) along with the tales of intrigue you wove into your stories. But hocus pocus, stir the witches brew, it was hard to pick one winner. Many many stories were well imagined, original, descriptive and often spooky.

My highlighter jumped on the following passages:

Naomi George, 10, Thorndon School described the noise Pearl heard as, “It sounded like thunder had tried to be sweet and failed.” And her aptly named witch, Autumn Hallow “had blazing red hair, twisted into a long plait that fell over her shoulder.”

Olivia Morriss, 11, Oamaru Intermediate also had a “copper-red” haired witch with glowing, reddy-brown eyes. “As the woman moved closer her large cognac eyes could be seen, taking in the sunlight, shining golden.” Brilliant!

Alexandra Cavanagh, 11, Thorndon School had a “forest demon” … “standing in the moonlight was a tall, skinny woman with grey-white skin grey-black hair, long, sharp fingernails and red-brown, bloodshot eyes.”

Claire Tisdall, 10, Strath Taieri School. “Green, mist soon whirled out of the sack. It had a wisp of a voice, but it was very, very, deep. I thought everyone knew about the curse of the Golden apple tree…”

Indigo Tomlinson, 12, Whakatane Intermediate. I loved Indigo’s enchanting but dangerous faeries. “A circle of tiny people, with butterfly wings that caught the light and shimmered like iridescent opals. The voice flowed from them like nectar and Pearl found herself enchanted by their otherworldly looks.”

Elaine, 10, Thorndon Primary. “Pearl turned around and saw something like the wendigo, the deer head and boney body with the dull and neverending eyes.” FREAKY.

Lily Dawson, 13, Stonefields School. “Are you here to take my apples?” It asked. Pearl reached for Darcy’s reins. Before she could grab them the tree’s branches reached down and lifted her into the air.” Argghghghgh.

Charlotte Barr, 12, Balmacewen Intermediate. “The voice continued to sing, “A witch with a nose, two eyes and three warts, one whose skin is the colour of quartz!”

In fact, it was a story with a catchy verse, great pacing and an excellent final, double twist that is my chosen WINNER. So without further a do, Margaux Astrid Detera, 10, Thordon Primary, take a bow. Congratulations, Margaux!

** Eileen Merrimen, the author of the award winning YA novels, Pieces of You, Catch Me When You Fall, and Invisibly Breathing, is our guest Penguin judge this week. Here are Eileen’s comments on Margaux’s winning story:

“A vivid story with wonderful imagery and pace. The verse near the start really caught my attention. Loved that twist at the end.” Eileen Merriman

And to all the other fantastic entrants, you’re cool! Keep writing!
Jane Bloomfield

Jane’s Story Starter: Pearl and Golden Apples

“Rise and shine, sleepyhead,” said Ma, tugging back Pearl’s quilt. “I need you to ride over to the old miner’s place and collect some golden apples.”

“Golden apples?” said Pearl warily. She lifted the sack curtain over the window above her bed and peered out. Sunlight danced on the tall poplar tree that stood like a giant sentinel beside their tiny stone cottage. An invisible breeze carried three yellow leaves; they fluttered down towards Pearl like corn-coloured butterflies.

Ma was stirring porridge at the coalrange. She slapped a bowl down on the table, startling Pearl from her reverie.

“Shall I just get blackberries, Ma? Folk say that apple tree belongs to a witch who puts curses on the children who pick ’em!”

“Nonsense,” said Ma.

“So why are the apples gold, then?” asked Pearl.

“Because they’re Golden Ambrosia apples, silly-billy. No one’s lived there for years. Don’t dally, the weather’s changing.”

Pearl pulled on her woollen riding habit and slowly laced up her leather boots. Her porridge tasted like dust.

Darcy, her big black horse, was waiting at the gate. He whinnied, hello, flicking his head. Pearl whispered to him, “You wouldn’t be acting so fresh if you knew where we’re headed.”

Darcy munched his oats, while Pearl brushed him down and plaited his long forelock. She buckled on her largest saddlebags and slipped her tin whistle in one and a crust of bread wrapped in muslin in the other. She grabbed her shawl and the pair trotted off.

By the time Pearl had played all her tunes and eaten the bread, they arrived at the golden apple tree. Without daring to scout around, Pearl rode Darcy right up beside its laden branches and started picking. She’d almost filled one bag when Darcy snorted and started jigging. All the silvereyes darted from the tree and Pearl heard a strange voice …

Margaux Astrid Detera’s winning story:

“wHo dArE EnTeR mY fOrEST!” Pearl’s eyes widened! Her blood rushed down quickly to her legs, making her tremble. She looked at Darcy terrified, observing his every move… He was looking behind her. Pearl shut her eyes, starting to feel the tears bubbling… As every single teardrop splashed onto the ground, she slowly turned around, and opened her eyes… Her vision wasn’t clear, because of the burning hot tears, but from what she could identify:

A black pointy hat
A broom with a cat
A smug little grin
With a long pointy chin
A black lace dress
With potions for a mess
And a pretty big wart
She cackled and she snort

It was pretty clear to Pearl that what she was looking at was an evil cackling witch. “I-I’m sorry! I must be on my way!” Pearl pleaded for her dear life, “Oh no! It is a weekend after all?! I insist, please stay…” The evil witch smirked at her own statement. Pearl laughed nervously and dashed terrified towards Darcy, the evil witch laughed once again “You can’t escape me child, I’ll always be, just behind your shoulder!” The evil witch cackled as she snatched her broom and tapped it onto the ground three times, she then disappeared… Pearl leaped onto Darcy’s back, then galloped away, horrified.

Once Pearl had got home, she called out to her mother, “MA! ARE YOU THERE?” no response… Pearl knew that her mother was getting a bit old so she took a long time to get to the door, while she was waiting, she gazed in amazement at the outstanding view. She was flabbergasted that an ugly witch like the one she just encountered, could live in a world as perfect as this! “Pearl! What are you doing here back so early?” exclaimed Pearl’s mother, “Ma, I-i saw a witch!” Pearl stuttered “Nonsense! I have not seen those golems in centuries!” Ma said confused.

“WELL THEY ARE STILL VERY REAL! AND SHE THREATENED ME, THAT SHE WILL ALWAYS BE BEHIND MY BACK!” Pearl yelled with frustration, her mother just couldn’t understand! Unfortunately, Pearl’s mother never understood. So she had to grow up with the thought that in any second, an evil witch could snatch her life away…

25 years later…

“Bye honey! Bye children! See you all after work and school!” Pearl called out happily, “Oh I must freshen up before I cook!” Pearl said to herself. After she was done drying her face with a towel lying around, she looked at herself in the mirror… But standing right behind her was the same terrible witch she saw 25 years ago…

That was the last person she saw until she dropped into this strange spiral.

After work and school.

“Hi mummy!” exclaimed Pearl’s children “Hi honey!” said Pearl’s husband sweetly. “Hey guys!” the evil witch smirked.

(end)

2nd place goes to Olivia Morriss, 11, Oamaru Intermediate

&

3rd place goes to William Kelly, 8, Brooklyn Primary, Wellington

Congratulations, Olivia and William!!

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Enter the 10th FABO Story competition!

The tenth FABO Story competition will be judged by author Jane Bloomfield. Enter now!

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 July 3rd (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 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.

Jane’s Story Starter: Pearl and the Golden Apples

“Rise and shine, sleepyhead,” said Ma, tugging back Pearl’s quilt. “I need you to ride over to the old miner’s place and collect some golden apples.”

“Golden apples?” said Pearl warily. She lifted the sack curtain over the window above her bed and peered out. Sunlight danced on the tall poplar tree that stood like a giant sentinel beside their tiny stone cottage. An invisible breeze carried three yellow leaves; they fluttered down towards Pearl like corn-coloured butterflies.

Ma was stirring porridge at the coalrange. She slapped a bowl down on the table, startling Pearl from her reverie.

“Shall I just get blackberries, Ma? Folk say that apple tree belongs to a witch who puts curses on the children who pick ’em!”

“Nonsense,” said Ma.

“So why are the apples gold, then?” asked Pearl.

“Because they’re Golden Ambrosia apples, silly-billy. No one’s lived there for years. Don’t dally, the weather’s changing.”

Pearl pulled on her woollen riding habit and slowly laced up her leather boots. Her porridge tasted like dust.

Darcy, her big black horse, was waiting at the gate. He whinnied, hello, flicking his head. Pearl whispered to him, “You wouldn’t be acting so fresh if you knew where we’re headed.”

Darcy munched his oats, while Pearl brushed him down and plaited his long forelock. She buckled on her largest saddlebags and slipped her tin whistle in one and a crust of bread wrapped in muslin in the other. She grabbed her shawl and the pair trotted off.

By the time Pearl had played all her tunes and eaten the bread, they arrived at the golden apple tree. Without daring to scout around, Pearl rode Darcy right up beside its laden branches and started picking. She’d almost filled one bag when Darcy snorted and started jigging. All the silvereyes darted from the tree and Pearl heard a strange voice …

Now You Finish The Story…

 

Posted in The Winner

Fabo Story Report For ‘Weird Tuesday’ by Jane Bloomfield

85+ writers, aged from 7 to 13, had a jolly good crack at helping Mark outsmart his dastardly older brother Raymond. Yay! I loved seeing the nice-guy winning. Good-versus-evil is a very handy plot device to keep in your writer’s toolkit. It’s especially handy to keep this type of conflict in mind when you’re planning your story. Because you cannot write a good story without conflict.

But before we get down to the nitty-gritty, a gentle pat on the back for the following writers who took the time to file a story (old journalist term for completing a writing assignment.) Max S.S, Charlie, Gabbie, Sharon, Jasemehar, Anya, Lily, Nicketa, Scarlett, Sarah, Emerald, Maya, Cullen, Bethany, Aiesha, Marcus, Louise, Zoe, Treeshula, Leilani, Flynn, Holly, Vaibhavi, Emily, Nova, Isla, Tess, Nathan, Chiara, Nadia, Narmeen, Layla, Sofia, George, Anya, Indigo, Naomi, Lola, Chloe, Ryder, Isabella, Olivia, Joshua, Elvin, Alice, Marama, Eliza, Kristen, Kat, Amelia, Emily, Matilda, Willow, Nahee Kim, Taylor, Eva, Niamh, Stella, Michelle, Lorcan, Indi, Charli, Brennan, Diontay, Ruby, Eviana, Jessica, Katie, Jaimie, O’shynn, Leah, Sasha, Lucy, Rebekah, Richard, Maryyum, Maia, Chloe, James, Patrick, Tommy, Nella, Olivia, Grace, Julia, Grace.

After posting ‘Weird Tuesday’, I was really looking forward to reading what you put inside the mysterious brown paper package. And believe me, your package-contents did not disappoint.

You unwrapped some very curious, and innovative creatures along with quite a few fluffy puppies and kittens needing homes. (I think there are a lot of children throughout New Zealand who’d like pets, but aren’t allowed them?!) I discovered: Phoenix (more than three) a ghost, a squirrel, a mechanical spider, a violet dragon, a malfunctioning robot, a million baby snails (the average garden snail has 14,000 teeth, arranged in rows on their tongues – thanks Bethany!)

A fire-blowing-dragon, a slimy frog, a goat, a teddy bear with magic Raymond shaming powers, vomiting fish, air tickets to Los Angeles, mermaids, a Grimlock, a bird with a unicorn horn (birdie-corn,) snakes, a feathered dragon-dog, a teeny tiny miniature elephant, an evil puppy, a birdbutterflywormflyspidercat, a magical music box, a guinea pig named Tinker, a hat that makes the wearer invisible (brilliant!), a white owl, a white toy cat with red eyes and hypnotising powers, and a glowing-pink-furball spewing kitten. Phew! What great imaginations!

There were also, lots of the-most-disgusting-creature-I-have-ever-seen. Next time, describe what the-most-disgusting-creature-you’ve-ever-seen looks like. It’s more interesting for the reader if you’re specific, like the list above.

I think my favourite package contents would have to be Indi’s, 10, Point Chevalier Primary, A Beastly Broth to Banish Brutal Brothers! Indi’s funny, well- written story also received a Highly Commended badge. Unfortunately, Indi, you went way over the 500 wordcount so I had to mark you down for that. Chiara, 11, Carmel College, also received a Highly Commended badge for her heartwarming story. Inside Chiara’s package was Brownie, Mark’s cousin’s chocolate labrador sent to rescue him. If I was a professional editor preparing this story for publication, I’d have to point out that Mark wouldn’t be able to carry a full-sized lab into his bedroom. Labs are heavy! A lab puppy would have worked. I also want to mention, Matilda Rennie, 10, Grey Lynn School. I really liked how your ‘air-creature’ read Mark’s thoughts and acted immediately. However, your ending let you down. This was a perfect opportunity to play a funny prank on Raymond. Sometimes it’s hard to be even a little bit mean to characters, (if you’re a super kind person, I used to struggle with this.) However, drama always makes a more exciting story.

Before I announce the winner, the winner, chicken dinner, I’d like to give a shout-out to Diontay, 9, Moanatairi School with this great imagery of Catatonia: There were cats driving cars, cats riding bikes and dogs running up trees. The trees were as blue as the sky. (Plus cats in sunglasses talking.) And to Narmeen, 9, Orakei School. There were trees made out of lollies and a river made of pink milo and giant s’mores for the boats. Describing the setting helps the reader put themselves into the story.

And the winner is … Indigo Ciara Tomlinson, 11, Whakatane Intermediate School. Congratulations, Indigo! Indigo set up her story well, detailing Mark’s emotional struggle at being the downtrodden younger sibling. Her positive- mood-altering elephant was a very mature way to stop Raymond’s bully-boy behaviour. Well done, Indigo!

Jane’s Story Starter: Weird Tuesday

This is how weird Tuesday began …

I was sitting at the kitchen table, eating my usual breakfast of Fruit Loops with milk. My big brother Raymond, as per, had helped himself to two-thirds of the box, leaving me with only colourful crumbs. The crumbs floated on top of my bowl of milk like a pixellated rainbow. I spun my spoon round and round, swirling the colours together. My stomach rumbled. I reached for the perfect banana from the fruit bowl, but not before Raymond jammed his fist down hard onto its blunt end.

‘You love smashed banana don’t you, midget-person?’ he said, and laughed. Milk dribbled down his chin, tracking past his volcanic pimples. I had to look away.

Right then, there was a loud rap on the front door. I instantly stood up from the table to go and see who it was. But Raymond did too and we collided at the kitchen door. He held me against the frame. I raised my hands in surrender and let him go in front of me.

On the front steps was a medium-sized brown paper parcel tied with white string. Raymond picked it up, then he shoved it at me and stomped off.
The package was addressed to me:

“Mark Malcolm-Jones”

The writing was green and wild and swirly like seaweed washed up on the beach. The postmark was a place I’d never heard of before. Catatonia. The package had an interesting smell. I couldn’t make it out.

Cinnamon perhaps? Or turmeric? It felt warm in my hands. I tensed a little.

Then the package started to squirm.

Here is Indigo’s Winning Story

I let go of the parcel, and stepped back as something strange emerged from inside. I felt a scream building in my throat. I hated slimy things. I hated creepy crawlies. This was something Raymond had used to his full advantage on more than one occasion. I shuddered remembering the worms covered with a puddle of tinned tomatoes. (Pretty sure Mrs Twits lawyer tried to sue.) Was this another of his dastardly pranks? I took another step back and prepared to bolt as the creature came fully into the open. An exhale of air whooshed from my body and I sagged a little, like a worn out balloon. It was an elephant. A teeny tiny miniature elephant. It blinked, bemused, then looked up at me, sending a small squirt of water into the air with its trunk. It fractured into hundreds of shimmering diamonds and just for a second, it felt like the world was bathed in rainbows. Curiously, I bent down and shook the package out. A scrap of paper fluttered to the ground. I took it in my hands, examining the curling emerald green scripture, and my eyes blurred. I read with my heart in my mouth, a sense of bitterness rising within me like a coiling serpent. At the last line I felt the metaphorical snake send a stab of venom deep into my heart, adding to the peppered assortment of half-scabbed over holes that were already there.

Mark,
Happy Birthday love you’re turning ten! What a big moment! Hope you like this miniature elephant – they’re everywhere in Catatonia.
Love Mum

I seethed. Mum. She wasn’t my mother. She never had been. A real mother would have remembered that my birthday is in August, not November. My chest simmered with resentment like the disgusting fish stew she used to try and make me eat. Still, at least I’d got something.

I bent down and picked my gift up, cradling it close to my chest. Suddenly a jolt of colour rocked the world and everything looked different. It was like I was seeing the world through a camera filter. Or maybe my life had been tinted slightly grey and only now had that been removed. I felt like I’d put on a pair of rainbow sunglasses. This is going to sound corny, but the sun was brighter, and the grass was greener. Strange. Experimentally, I put the elephant down. The world suddenly felt grey and heavy. For some reason the elephant was making my life feel brighter. I considered what else it might be able to do. Hundreds of magical possibilities flowed through my mind, like a multicoloured staircase of wonders. An idea popped into my head.

I went back inside and up to Raymond’s room that smelled of sweaty teenager and old deodorant. Raymond was sitting on his swivel chair poking cautiously at a bubbling pus ball. I raced in and shoved the creature into his arms.

His eyes glazed over. He smiled. ‘’Hey little bro. Wanna go out for ice cream? On me.’’


ps. A note for all young writers. Be careful not to over do adjectives. Use strong verbs instead. If Raymond is ‘munching away at his fruit loops’ we know he is shovelling them into his mouth and chewing noisily. You don’t need to say ‘greedily munching’ because munching on its own is explaining how he’s eating.
Equally, instead of saying: ‘Drearily, I got up from my bed.’ It’s stronger to say, ‘I dragged myself off my bed.’

Thanks for all your stories!
Keep writing!
Jane xx

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

A New FABO Story Starter By Jane Bloomfield!

A new FABO Story competition is here! Author Jane Bloomfield 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 July 5th.

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.

Jane Bloomfield’s Story Starter: Weird Tuesday

This is how weird Tuesday began …

I was sitting at the kitchen table, eating my usual breakfast of Fruit Loops with milk. My big brother Raymond, as per, had helped himself to two-thirds of the box, leaving me with only colourful crumbs. The crumbs floated on top of my bowl of milk like a pixellated rainbow. I spun my spoon round and round, swirling the colours together. My stomach rumbled. I reached for the perfect banana from the fruit bowl, but not before Raymond jammed his fist down hard onto its blunt end.

‘You love smashed banana don’t you, midget-person?’ he said, and laughed. Milk dribbled down his chin, tracking past his volcanic pimples. I had to look away.

Right then, there was a loud rap on the front door. I instantly stood up from the table to go and see who it was. But Raymond did too and we collided at the kitchen door. He held me against the frame. I raised my hands in surrender and let him go in front of me.

On the front steps was a medium-sized brown paper parcel tied with white string. Raymond picked it up, then he shoved it at me and stomped off.

The package was addressed to me:

“Mark Malcolm-Jones”

The writing was green and wild and swirly like seaweed washed up on the beach. The postmark was a place I’d never heard of before. Catatonia. The package had an interesting smell. I couldn’t make it out. Cinnamon perhaps? Or turmeric? It felt warm in my hands. I tensed a little.

Then the package started to squirm.

Now You Finish The Story…

Posted in fabo story, The Winner

Judge’s Report: ‘The Final Call’ by Jane Bloomfield

First of all, I would like to mention the sixty young writers across New Zealand, who filed a story: Emir, Jackson, Erica, Archie, Renee, Angela, Zoe, Maebel, Alex, Tyla, Stella, Alex, Mikayla, Neihana, Beata, Casey, Jullian, Zach, Zoe, Bridget, Alyssa, Finn, Sera, Immy, Sophie, Mackenzie, Zara, Amelie, Joe, Xavier, Lachlan, Milanya, Zoe-Jade, James, Brooke, Caitlyn, Eva, Ella, Georgette, Harrison, Jayden, Axel, Georgina, Olivia, Ruby W, Aaron, Tony, Georgina, Honor, Anna, Troughton, Maia, Indigo, Hannah, Briah-Rose, Ella, Troughton, Lucia, Wayne, Eloise. Give yourselves a pat on the back. Writer’s write. You are all writers!

When I’m writing a story, I usually always know my starting point and my ending. This method is often used by screen writers (writers of movies) and is very useful in situations like Fabostory, when you have a limited word count. Knowing where your character will end up, can help alleviate getting bogged down at the start of your story. There were many writers who did not get their characters out of the airport toilets. Or off the tarmac.

However, I was really thrilled to see plenty of high-octane imaginations heading out on wild adventures. Many entries had great imagery, clever language and sassy similies. For example:

Ella – “The ground was too far away they were over the sea and all she could see was a long stretch of blue and green, and a tiny island shaped like a diamond.”

Wayne – “Ubiquitous face of Shockley Rogers … cackled cockily like a crazed lunatic.”

Stella – “As the wind is making a mountain out of a molehill underneath the plane.”

Aidan – “Her tangly long brown hair flapped in the wind like whips.”

Lucia – “Panic burst into Chessies stomach like someone had just chucked too many logs on an already very large fire.” “… her voice sounded as sweet and fairy-like as Thumbelina”

We had spies, doppelgangers, watery plane crashes, dragon kingdoms, catacombs high-speed getaways, “dun, dun, duns …”, a bathroom-vortex, an arctic fox, a dragon-vet, King and Queen Teapot, assassins, murder weapons, escapes by parachutes, gold bars, fingerprint scanners, demon potions, kidnappers, murder, plenty of mayhem, secret agents, villains, shark repellant, emergency landings (I’m happy to report everyone has been watching the safety videos). And mermaids, which leads me to my winner:

A very mermaid story by …

Indigo Ciara Tomlinson – 10 (who happens to live by the sea) Ohope Beach School

The aircraft rocked wildly from side to side. Chessie removed her headphones and gazed around in a panic. ‘’Attention,’’ came a voice, but no one was listening. ‘’This is your co-pilot speaking. We are experiencing some minor problems please remain cal…’’ Her voice was cut off, as the plane plummeted towards the ocean, which swirled until it became a sickening blue blur. Chessie hastily scrambled for her lifejacket. The plane dropped ever faster. People tried to reach the exit doors as, with a mighty crash, the plane smashed into the water.

Chessie’s mind was a blur of terror. She couldn’t focus. Everyone converged towards the exits. She was too numb to follow. Everything had a blue tint. Her lungs were starting to hurt. She pressed herself into her seat, feeling as though it could protect her from this nightmarish horror. The stewardesses swam past. No one saw her. Then she was all alone. ‘’Nooooooo!’’ Chessie cried, as water filled her lungs. She swam towards the floor. Trying to reach the surface. Dark shapes loomed out at her. Jeering and pointing. Everything was swirling. Her brain was shutting down. Nothing made sense anymore. As Chessie slipped into unconsciousness, she thought she saw a girl with long wild hair, reaching out to her. And then, she saw nothing at all.

Chessie felt strange. She cried to move her legs-but couldn’t. Her breathing felt regular, but different at the same time. ‘’Is she awake?’’a girl asked. ‘’Shh, Coral,’’ said another voice. ‘’We must give her time,’’ Chessie opened her eyes. And saw her legs. Or, more accurately, her tail. ‘’Arrrrgh!’’ she exclaimed, as a mermaid reached out for her. ‘’Stay calm. Your mother is here.’’ the mermaid said, as a beautiful woman swam into the chamber. Chessie recognized her face. It was the same face she saw every time she looked in the mirror. ‘’Mum!’’ she cried………

‘’So, you’re the queen of Merland and the girl that rescued me was my cousin, Coral and you think Dad was kidnapped by one of his modelling rivals and you are going to organise a rescue? You were also a human when you had me and then you had to come and rule here, and you are okay with Dad marrying Miranda?’’ Chessie summarised. Her mother nodded. ‘’I’ll tell your father that you are going to be a mermaid now, but that you can visit him in the school holidays. If that’s okay with you?’’ ‘’Of course, it’s okay!’’ Chessie exclaimed. ‘’I can’t wait!’’ she did a backflip and landed on her mother’s, sea moss bed. ‘’Woohoo!’’

Chessie was sitting on the clamshell throne, waiting for the Grand Ball to celebrate her new role as a princess to begin, when she suddenly found herself in her tangled sheets. The morning before the flight. She couldn’t believe it. Had it been a correct prediction of the future? Or just a dream? ‘’Dad!’’ Chessie called out. ‘’Was Mum a mermaid by any chance?’’

Congratulations, Indigo. I’d love to read more of your underwater mermaid stories in the future!

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

A New FABO Story Competition!

Here’s a new FABO Story competition! The story starter is written by Author Jane Bloomfield.

(Thanks for your entries for the last competition! Kathy White is judging them and will announce a winner soon).

Instructions

1. Read the story starter and finish 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 31.

The Final Call

The airport’s loudspeaker boomed, “This is the final call for all remaining passengers on Flight ZC167 bound for Iceland.”

What’s taking Dad so long? worried Chessie. She looked towards the men’s restroom. Her father had been in there for well over seven minutes. She was timing him.

“Would passengers, Chessie Brown and Clifford Brown board your aeroplane immediately at gate 56. Your flight is ready to depart.”

Chessie dragged her and her father’s hand luggage over to the doorway of the men’s restroom. “Dad! Come on. Our plane’s leaving. Your hair looks fine! Looked fine!”

Clifford Brown was a model, and although he played the role of handsome-man-photographs-well, he was a hopeless father. Chessie always had to be the parent.

Clifford had booked a job in a dog-clothing ad, being shot on one of Iceland’s many glaciers. They were being picked up at Keflavik International Airport, by the ad agency. Clifford’s wife, Miranda (Chessie’s new step-mum) was joining them in a few days. Well, that was the plan …

“Please hurry up, Dad! You’re making about 323 people wait for you. We cannot miss this flight. You’ll hold up the shoot.”

There was no reply. Chessie’s stomach was doing backflips and her mouth was as dry as a brazil nut. No girl ever wants to enter the boys’ toilets but she had no choice. She stepped slowly into the restroom and peeked around.

A tap was running in one of the three basins under a wall of mirrors. A rubbish bin overflowed with paper towels. All the blue cubicle doors were closed. The large white tiled space was completely empty.

“Dad?” Chessie said, her voice now a squeak.

Silence. The smell of disinfectant reached her nostrils. Yurchhhh! Chessie bent down to floor level and peaked under the doors. There was not one pair of feet visible. She straightened up, catching a glimpse of the urinals and grimaced. A hand dryer randomly turned on. She yelped and raced back to the departure lounge just as the airport intercom boomed again.

“Flight ZC167 is about to close. Those remaining passengers not on board in one minute, your bags will be off-loaded.”

Chessie yelled back towards the men’s restroom. “You’ve done it this time, Dad. I’m getting on our flight. You can come on the next one!”

She quickly tucked her Dad’s passport and boarding pass into the pocket of his bag. Then she grabbed her wheelie bag and sprinted to the gate.

The air steward at the desk glared at Chessie while she checked her passport’s photo page and scanned her boarding pass. She turned her back to Chessie and spoke quietly into a walkie-talkie.

Then she said in a freaky voice, “Travelling alone are we, Miss Brown …?”

But before Chessie could answer something like, ‘Yeah! It’s cool. I do all the time, my step mum’s meeting me. Soon!’

The air steward said, “Have a nice flight. You better skedaddle.”

Chessie ran down the airbridge with her bag bouncing behind her. She looked back over her shoulder just in case her Dad had appeared. Nope. On board, she was ushered to her window seat, while the 323 pairs of eyes drilled into her.

Chessie put on the airline headphones and pressed through the guide on the touchscreen in front of her to the music channel. The spare seat beside her seemed very empty.

She kept looking up, willing her dad to appear with his sparkling grin charming his way out of a telling-off. But the aircraft’s door clicked closed, and Chessie was on her own …

Now You Finish The Story…

Posted in The Winner

Jane Bloomfield’s FABO Judge’s Report

First of all, I’d like to congratulate everyone who wrote and filed (old journalist term for posting) a story. Real writers, write. Procrastinators, think about writing. You have all made the first step.

A big polar-bear-paw-pat on the back to:

Dihini Thantrige, Jessica Went, Freya Lawson, Joey, Finlay, Dontae, Gabriella Rusk, Indiana Taylor, Jayden Cooper, Nathan Exley, Zoe Guan, Avala Ingram, Avala Ingram, Jasmine Kister, Roarna, Anya, Benjamin McQueen, Maggie Yang, Jemimah, Max Barlow, Indee Gjaja, Bethany Argyle, Hyugo, Ysabelle C, Riki, Siena Mackley, Louenne Allemand, Leo Marcroft, Caleb Bond, Alex Walters, Renee Findlay, Bella Flowers, Elizabeth van Wijk, Tayne Coombes, Maddie Mitchell, Charlotte Ng Waishing, Meetens, Michelle Jeng, Kieran Moreton, Alisa Rao, Alex Bow, Kate Barber, Nathan Elliott, Jordy Thompson, Jeremy Beecroft, Harriet Douglas, Miah Brabin, Molly Roberts, Flo Cook, Hannah Hadden, Claudia Goldsworthy, Sui Brooking, Zoe Grant, Bella Taylor, Lexie Hughes, Roy Greer, Finn Wescombe, Bessie Martin, Fiona Chen, Cole Wescombe, Pipi Hunter, and Tania Lin.

I had fun writing the story starter ‘The Polar Bear in The Bookshop’ and it was fun reading all the creative and widely varied responses to it.

Sometimes the book came alive. Meetens wrote, “a few Snowflakes drifting out of the book his step-son was rapidly dissolving into.”

Michelle Jeng wrote, “ I flipped back to the page with the photograph of an icy landscape surrounded by blue ocean … there was a polar bear and it was waving.” I could really imagine a tiny polar on the page waving. Nice.

There were many great descriptions of the sensation of stepping through the portal to the North Pole. Siena Mackley wrote, “I was pulled into a swirling rainbow vortex.

Remember to keep your eye on details. Some stories said James was in a library. When clearly he was in a bookshop! Nice shout out for libraries being the home of books all the same. And quite often his named changed. I called him James, yet he became Lance, Jake, etc.

Even writers of fiction need to get their facts straight. Polar bears are only found in The North Pole, The Artic. Not Antarctica, in the South Pole. I did learn from Louenne Allemand, “polar bears have 42 teeth and that the male polar bears can weigh up to 680 kilograms.”

Quite a few writers obviously hate fish pie. Max Barlow (9) offered this delightful recipe.
My grandmas fish pie is absolutely repulsive. When her nose gets hot it starts bleeding and oozing with yellow and green slimy snot. And guess what she doesn’t even notice that it goes into the fish pie. She was as blind as a bat she put the rottenest of all the fish in the whole entire supermarket it was blue cod so it looked double yuck.

Feeling queasy? I was when I read that. Caleb (7) used another method to create humour in his story, “… two elephant seals, that were half elephant, half seal!  I could bear-ly see the bear get it?’ Funny.

I love writing humorous stories. It’s fun to throw in a few deadpan jokes, play around with words and have oddball characters. Writing humour can be like getting dressed-up for a school disco. Less is more. My winning story does it very well. In Bessie Martin’s story, James is hoping to escape through the book but it doesn’t work. Enter his dastardly, spoilt step-sister. Things get progressively worse and reach a funny climax with James being physically squooshed inside the book. Love that imagery. The situation is resolved with a gritty, unexpected ending. Well done Bessie. Please use the Contact Us page on this website to send us your address and your favourite lollies.

Highly Commended Stories

Highly commended certificates to: Anya (8) of Grey Lynn school whose polar bear turned into Santa Claus. I love the use of treacle as a verb in this sentence. I may have to pinch it. “The lovely smell of chocolate and fresh candy canes treacle down me. I had never felt so alive before.”

And: Ayeisha Beadsmoore also 8, of Matakana School, who created a very satisfying story and a new invention ‘the book-enteras’. “I turned to my stepdad, thinking he would yell at me “Where have you been?!”. Instead he said, “Welcome to a family of book-enteras! Lets go home for some fish pie.” Brilliant.

Finally I’d like to mention Benjamin McQueen (13) who wrote a fantastic story. I was gripped from the beginning, Benjamin. I loved all your characters and their names and the world you created. However, you were way over the word count. Maybe you could keep developing this story for another project.

Happy writing everyone!

Jane’s Story Starter: The Polar Bear In The Bookshop

It was a dreary grey day in June, the day I saw the polar bear in the bookshop. The bookshop owner, Daisy, was busy at the till and the rest of the shop was empty. Well, apart from me and the polar bear.

Of course, I wondered if I was seeing things. A huge white bear standing in the children’s corner, holding an open book in his spiky black claws!

I forgot about the newspaper I had gone in to buy. I glanced at my step-dad sitting outside in the car, then I tiptoed over to take a closer look.

The bear smelt terrible. Sort of fish-breath mixed with muddy seaweed. I shoved my hand over my mouth to stifle my gag. Up close his fur was stiff and yellowing behind the ears. He looked like he hadn’t gone for a swim around an iceberg for a while. Or had a fish dinner. He had that kind of sad face polar bears do. His rubbery black nose was almost touching the pages now. The bear was either very short sighted or he was trying to get into that book.

The doorbell chimed. I looked around.

My step-dad said, ‘Hurry up, James. Your mum’s got a fish pie in the oven.’

The bear now had the book on the ground opened to a photograph of an icy landscape surrounded by blue ocean. Next thing, he placed one massive foot on each page, growled softly, winked at me and then, pfft, he was gone.

From where I was standing, I had two options.
Option One: Fish pie (gag) at home with my ancient Nana and Pop.
Option Two: A trip to the North Pole.

I zipped up my puffa coat and walked towards the…

Bessie’s Winning Story

…book and scooped it up. I fumbled through the pages till I found the page the bear had looked at. I grinned, placed the book on the floor and stamped on it. I closed my eyes and waited to disappear. My foot hit the book. Shock resonated up my leg and I opened my eyes.

“JAMES GREEN! What on EARTH are you doing!?” My step-father was yelling at me. I looked down. My shoe had made a foot-shaped dent in the book. I had not magically teleported. I had bunged up a thick, 40$ book. I gulped.

“Na na na! You’re in trouble!” whispered Hallie, my step-sister. Hallie has bouncy blond curls, big blue eyes and is the most annoying person ever.

“Shut UP, Hallie!” I hissed.

“James! I heard that! I am very disappointed in you!”

It wasn’t fair. Hallie was only a year younger then me, after all. She’s eleven. She’s just a total jerk.

When we got home I stomped up the stairs lugging the bag with the book in it up the stairs. Did I tell you we had to buy the book? We had to buy the book. Daisy the shop owner had been very upset by the book’s demise. I yanked opened the door to my ‘room’ and stalked through. It’s the box room. There’s just enough space for my bed and my footy kit and a little chest of draws. The rest of the room is taken up by old stuff that Hallie or Mum or Kevin discarded. At my Dad’s place I had a big bedroom with all my stuff dumped on the floor in an orderly, tidy fashion and the smell was like old socks and farts. This room has colour coding and smells of Hallie’s old lip gloss. Yuck.

I opened the book and smoothed a soccer cleat size hole. I froze and peered at the page. Now I’d straightened the page tiny words on the iceberg were visible! They said touch nose to page, wink once and stamp into book. I grinned and did the first two actions. I carefully placed the book on the floor and breathed deeply. Then I bought my foot down. Just before my foot touched the page I saw something I’d missed in the earlier flurry of excitement. A disgruntled polar bear looking very flat. WHUMP!

My foot hit the book.

I was being pulled.

H
E
L
P

I gasped and sucked in breath. My head was spinning. I tried to speak but my voice was mumbly. I realised I was stuck, my mouth smooshed to the side. I tried to poke out my tongue but it hit an invisible wall, leaving a slimy mark. I was crushed like a dried flower tucked into the pages of a book. “MMPH!” I swiveled my eyes and saw a irritated polar bear to my left, as flattened and stuck as I was.

Suddenly I heard a voice. “James? Daddy and Mummy want to talk to you! You are in so much trouble! … Uh…James? JAMES!? Where are you!?”

“HALLIGH! Helph!”

“James? Where are you?”

“I’m in fa fook!””

“Under the bed?”

“IN FA FOOK!”

“Book?”

Hallie looked at the book “JAMES! Mummy and Daddy will KILL you! Maybe I’ll get this bedroom and you can sleep outside!”

“Helph!” I whimpered.

Hallie grinned and taunted “So much trouble, so much trouble!”

Then she slammed the book with a light-engulfing BANG!

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Jane’s FABO Story Starter: The Polar Bear in The Bookshop

✯✯✯ This will be the final FABO competition for the year. Enter now! ✯✯✯

Instructions

Children’s author Jane Bloomfield has posted the start of a story. She’d like you to finish the story in 500 words or less and submit it using the online form. Entries close 8pm Friday September 22nd. No late entries will be accepted.

Jane’s Story Starter: The Polar Bear In The Bookshop

It was a dreary grey day in June, the day I saw the polar bear in the bookshop. The bookshop owner, Daisy, was busy at the till and the rest of the shop was empty. Well, apart from me and the polar bear.

Of course, I wondered if I was seeing things. A huge white bear standing in the children’s corner, holding an open book in his spiky black claws!

I forgot about the newspaper I had gone in to buy. I glanced at my step-dad sitting outside in the car, then I tiptoed over to take a closer look.

The bear smelt terrible. Sort of fish-breath mixed with muddy seaweed. I shoved my hand over my mouth to stifle my gag. Up close his fur was stiff and yellowing behind the ears. He looked like he hadn’t gone for a swim around an iceberg for a while. Or had a fish dinner. He had that kind of sad face polar bears do. His rubbery black nose was almost touching the pages now. The bear was either very short sighted or he was trying to get into that book.

The doorbell chimed. I looked around.

My step-dad said, ‘Hurry up, James. Your mum’s got a fish pie in the oven.’

The bear now had the book on the ground opened to a photograph of an icy landscape surrounded by blue ocean. Next thing, he placed one massive foot on each page, growled softly, winked at me and then, pfft, he was gone.

From where I was standing, I had two options.
Option One: Fish pie (gag) at home with my ancient Nana and Pop.
Option Two: A trip to the North Pole.

I zipped up my puffa coat and walked towards the …

You can finish the story on the Fabo Website now!