Blog

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…

Advertisements
Posted in fabo story, The Winner

Suzanne Main’s FABO Judge’s Report!

My 15-year-old labrador recently died and the antics of our mischievous new puppy have been making me tear my hair out, so I had dogs on my brain when I wrote this fortnight’s story starter. There were a lot of high-quality entries – I read snappy dialogue, humour, fresh description, clever simile. Well done everyone! I’ve mentioned some of the authors of these great stories in my comments below. The winner and runners-up are announced at the end.

The story starter had a few elements for you to work with: siblings who don’t always get along; a missing dad; a busy, overworked mum and an abandoned puppy who has gone missing. There are a number of ways you can go with a story like this. Your imagination is the only constraint.

The story starter was pushing you toward a heart-warming ending – and lots of your stories tugged at my heart strings. Thanks to Olivia P, Daisy G, Vienna, Hannah J, Emy, Amelie, Sa, Cullen J, Anya, Jemma R, Millie B, Isabelle P, Louise D, Isabella F, Mikayla, Sarah P, Lucy K and Julia M for the happy moments your wonderful stories gave me.

BUT just because the story starter pushes you one way, doesn’t mean you have to go there. And lots of your stories headed off in a completely different direction. And did so very well!

Indigo T submitted a heart-thumping adventure story involving scary dog-nappers. Awesomely done.
Another direction you could have taken was comedy – hats off to Louise D for a hilarious description of Lyra tearing up the neighbour’s garden. Seohee had very funny dialogue and puppy antics. Sarah A’s incy-wincy anti-gravity puppy that climbed onto the roof cracked me up!

You could have also taken the story into a fantasy realm. Sebastian took me on a journey to another land. Lily M showed fantastic use of imagination with a shape-shifting puppy and a funny ending. Great work Riley turning Lyra into a piano-playing fox!

Perhaps the least obvious path for this story to take was horror. Some of you went there and did it exceptionally well. Samith took me to a scary alien dog experimentation lab. Layla P turned that hole in the shed into something far worse. Isabella M’s very well-written story had a surprise stomach-turning ending and was a strong contender!

But sadly there can be only one winner (and a couple of runner’s up!)… THE WINNER IS…

STELLA from Roseneath School. I love the imagination Stella has used and the way she resolves all the story elements in a unique, interesting and funny way. The dialogue was snappy bringing the characters to life for me.

The runners up were…

EDEN – this story had great structure. It lulled me into thinking things were going to work out for the characters, then dropped to a sad point, before bringing home a happy ending. Again, using excellent dialogue.

SARAH P – I admire the clever solution that Sarah’s characters devised to find Lyra, and also the banter between the characters.

Stella’s Winning Story

“Lyra!” “Lyra!” we whispered frantically.

We ran around the shed and lawn checking every nook and cranny.

“This is all your fault!” Danny hissed.

“What? How is this my fault?”

“You didn’t give him his food today.”

“Oh my g- that’s not a reasonable explanation.”

Mum noticed we were home.

“Oh-no!” Danny winced.

Mum came outside. “I saw you two looking for something. Is everything alright?”

“Yup!” I said before blabbermouth said anything stupid. “Danny just lost his…“

“My pencil case!” Danny butted in.

“Don’t be too long!” She wandered back to the house.

I glared at Danny.

We turned around to look for Lyra. It was then that we both noticed the fence. It was a swirling mess. I looked at it open mouthed, The swirl was growing bigger, tearing up the fence. Suddenly, a cloud of dust spun around our house making it almost impossible to breath. It abruptly stopped, sending us flying. I found myself on the ground. I got up and dusted myself off.

“W-what is that?” I stared at it opened mouthed.

Danny looked at me. “A portal.”

I opened my mouth to say something but no words came out. Mum noticed the commotion and bolted outside.

“Don’t go in!” she screamed.

We scrambled back to the house but the portal was sucking us in. I took a last look at Mum.

Then, we got sucked in.

I squinted. All of a sudden – woosh – we fell to the ground. I was bleeding. Danny was unconscious.

Danny woke up, he was gasping for air. Everything was so colourful it looked like someone had painted a rainbow across the sky.

Suddenly we heard a voice: “Is that.. really you?”

I almost jumped out of my skin.

“D-dad? “ Danny looked amazed.

Dad ran and hugged us. I started crying. “ Mum told us you moved away with a new family…” my voice muffled into his coat.

I stepped away.

“How could you? You left us! “

“Look, I didn’t leave you. “ He sighs, “I mixed some different paints when I was painting the fence. They reacted and I got sucked into this portal. I’ve been living in this empty rainbow place for years.”

“Aarph! “ We saw a bundle of fur behind Dad. “Lyra!!“ We both yelled at the same time.

“Now, how do we get out?” Danny asked.

“You can’t, “ shrugged Dad.

“What???????” We both screamed.

“Arph!” Suddenly the portal opened up as Lyra ran towards the rainbow coloured fence.

Then we realised that the only way the portal opened was because of Lyra.

She had rust on her, it must have been the secret ingredient we needed.

“Ok, that was simple.” Dad muttered

We landed on the muddy grass. Dirt squelched into my face.

“Emily?”

“Mark?”

Mum and Dad hugged each other.

“I missed you so much” they said to each other.

After today’s madness I’m just glad everything sorted itself out.

“Aarph!” Lyra the magic puppy agreed with me too.

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

A New FABO Story Starter By Suzanne Main!

A new FABO Story competition has started! Author Suzanne Main 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 16.

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.

Suzanne Main’s Story Starter

“Move it, slowpoke,” Danny grumbled.

I scowled at my older brother’s back. What was the big hurry? Mum was working late. As for Dad, we hadn’t seen him in years, not since he moved away with his new family. The house would be as cold and empty and unwelcoming as it was every day after school. I was in no rush to get there.

I kicked at a stone sending it scuttling across the pavement into the bordering bushes. A high squeal erupted, causing Danny to spin around. With a roll of his eyes and a resentful sigh, Danny trudged back. “Now what?”

“That wasn’t me. It came from in there.” I parted the branches of the nearby bushes and peered into the gloom.

I gasped.

Danny must have seen it too, because he dropped to his knees. Pushing his arms through the tangled branches, he scooped out a small bundle. A floppy-eared puppy, its black and white fur only thinly draping the fragile bones. It whimpered, obviously abandoned.

“Can we keep her?”

Danny frowned. “Mum couldn’t know. She’d never allow it.”

I scratched my head and thought. “It could live in Dad’s old shed.” Mum never ventured near Dad’s old domain at the end of our long garden.

Danny nodded and his mouth stretched into a strange shape. A smile. I blinked at the rare sight in amazement. He tucked the shivering puppy inside his jacket, cradling it against his body as we hurried home.

Together we made a warm bed for our puppy in the shed. We pooled our pocket money and Danny bought dog food from the dairy. The pup ate greedily then fell into a deep sleep. We named her Lyra after a character in a book Danny had read. That Lyra had lost her parents too.

A few days later, Mum left early for work as usual. We fed Lyra and played with her before school. She was already filling out and becoming more playful. When last bell rang that day we raced for home. The front gate was open. We pelted around the side of the house, down the garden, to the shed.

It was empty.

That was when I spotted the puppy-sized rust hole in the side of the shed.

“Ah-oh,” said Danny, noticing something else. “Mum’s home early.”

I turned with a sinking heart. The back door was open. Mum was inside, moving around the kitchen, her head visible through the kitchen window.

Where was Lyra?

Now You Finish The Story…

Posted in fabo story, The Winner

Wild, Wet, Willa: FABO Story Report by Michele Powles

Wow, you guys are amazing. Your stories are getting consistently better and there are more and more of you entering all the time. From all across the country, some wonderful stories wriggled their way out of more than 100 brains this week. There were SO many entries, and SO much great writing. Congratulations to everyone who entered, you really are all improving and writing some incredible work!

I’m super glad that David and Willa’s story inspired such a range of ideas for you all. A few themes popped up, with magic being the favourite. A lot of you used the fact that Willa was steaming and turning red to great advantage, having her change David and all manner of objects into other things.

Cats were popular, and Sarah Park from Te Uku School gets a special mention for her wonderful cat descriptions. Other transformations included turning Willa into dragons which Taylor Goddard from Lincoln Park did so well that there’s a highly commended award for her, and werewolves…wow. Chloe Morrison-Clarke from Casebrooke Intermediate, your werewolf was particularly terrifying and gets you a highly commended badge too! I also loved Sarah from Waikowhai Intermediate’s idea which took things even further, having Willa being taken away to a special magic school in handcuffs.

The other super popular theme used the real life setting of the story to talk about self-responsibility, stranger danger and emergency services. There were ambulances, Willa rushing about trying to get help, and some very smart kids looking out for each other. Maggie Thompson from Roseneath school was a standout with this theme along with Daisy from Rototuna Primary.

There were a few new schools to join the Fabo Family this week and an incredible effort from some schools in particular. Outstanding entries from Discovery school all round, especially Isabella F, a highly commended badge for you. Glen Eden Intermediate too had a big range of great entries, with particularly good work investigating description. Saint Clair School, you guys are just amazing. So many entries! It’s awesome to see how you’ve embraced Fabo and it captured so many of your imaginations so vividly, even sending the story back in time to World War II. A highly commended badge to Lucy Carrington too for your cloud castle puppet master story.

A final mention to some other stand-out stories. Gayathri Dinesh from Glen Eden Intermediate, I’m not sure what Willa ended up turning into but I’m terrified by your description in the best possible way. Highly commended. And Stella O’Brien from Roseneath school, I may have nightmares now, you created great suspense throughout your whole story, highly commended to you! Also, a highly commended badge to Maia O’Callaghan from Carmel college for your body swapping story and to Catherine Mcleod from Pillans point primary school for your incredible shrinking science project mishap, and to Frances Nawoo Gregory from Hukanui Primary School for your stormy sequence.

A quick reminder that stories should be less than 500 words, this took some of you out of the running for the top prize. It’s also totally fine to ask an adult to help with checking over spelling if you’re using words that are tricky. But do remind your helpers that this is your story not theirs, we love to hear from you all.

While many of you did an amazing job of creating a world for your story, some of you ended with “it was all a dream.” This can be useful, but if you can find a way to keep us in your story world it’s often even more exciting.

One quick technical tip because some of you are writing at such a high level: try if you can to keep your story in one character’s point of view or if you change it, be aware of the shift. So, if we’re reading about what is happening for David, hearing his thoughts, describing what he is seeing, then stay with him, rather than suddenly being inside Willa’s head. While it’s great fun to hear what all your characters are thinking and seeing, it can sometimes be hard to read if we thought we were with one character and we suddenly change.

Now, to those that did everything right! I had to invent a new award this week for best sentence because it was just so great. Best sentence award goes to eleven-year-old Indigo Tomlinson from Whakatane Intermediate. “The rain pelted harder, dark clouds bulging like an old man’s belly, restrained by a too-tight belt.” Amazing.

Runners up to the top prize are twelve-year-old Isabel Calvi-Freeman from Roseneath School and Julia Moffitt from Hauraki Primary School. Your stories were wonderful, with lots of care and attention to technical detail, as well as imaginative ideas. Great job.

But finally, the winner this week is from Pt Chev Primary. Ten-year-old Indi Taylor, your use of language is amazing. Keep up the great work. Thanks for letting me read all your stories everyone!

Michele’s Story Starter: Wild, Wet, Willa.

“You said you had it in your pocket!” Willa’s face was twisted into angry creases as she hissed at David.

“I didn’t,” David replied. “I said I thought I had it.”

Willa closed her eyes for just long enough to make David hope she’d forgotten she was yelling at him. Then she opened them again and wiped rainwater off her face. “You. Were. In. Charge. Of. The. Key.”

David shrank. It was true. Mum had put him in charge of the house key, and now that they were standing on the doorstep, in the pouring rain, he couldn’t remember what he’d done with it.

The school holidays had sucked, big time. One of David’s fish had floated to the top of its tank and gulped its last gulp. Someone had driven into Mum’s car and busted it up so they’d had to cancel their trip. All David’s friends were away and there was nothing to do. Oh, and it had rained. Every. Day.

Standing outside as his hoodie turned into a soggy, skin-sucking mess without any way of getting out of the cold, was the icing on the sucky-holiday-cake.

Willa folded her arms, her wet hair plastered to the sides of her face. “Let’s go next door for a while, you said. It’ll be fun, you said.”

David looked at the skin on his thumb and pulled at a loose bit near his nail. “It was fun. Sort of. And anyway, why didn’t you take the key? You’re the eldest.”

“Mum said I needed to stop doing things for you. You’re eleven.”

“Eleven and a half,” David muttered and knew, immediately that it was a mistake to mutter anything while Willa was in this sort of mood. The concrete thudded wetly as she stamped her foot. She pointed her finger at him and her face started going red.

“It’s okay. I’ll find the key, promise,” David said, frantically digging in his pockets.

Willa opened her mouth and looked down at her body, her eyes growing wider and her face getting steadily redder.

Uh oh. “Take a breath. You can do it,” David said desperately.

Willa gasped and managed to squeak out, “You said this wasn’t going to happen again.”

“I didn’t think it was. Quick, think about kittens. Puppies. Sunshine.”

Willa’s whole face was now the red of overripe tomatoes. Red, and starting to glow. Her eyes started changing colour and as she glared at David, a loud whooshing noise rushed into his ears and made him feel woozy….

Indi’s Winning Story

Abruptly, clouds of steam hissed from fissures that appeared in Willa’s sides. Her hair extended to the ground in scraggly streams, while rapidly turning a fiery red-orange hue. Bubbling on the circumference of her head were small pustules; some of which burst and spurted a boiling, molten liquid onto David. The air around her was suffused with a hot red light. There was no question about it. Willa was a human volcano.

David inched backwards, watching Willa’s face contort before she erupted with an angry shriek.

“AAAARRRGGGHHH! You told me everything was fixed. You told me I wouldn’t do this anymore. You told me I was fine!” she spat, aiming the words towards her sibling.

“Keep thinking about…” David looked around. “Rainbows, chocolate, theme parks.“

Rushing towards the door to the house, David lifted the corner of the polka-dotted doormat up for the umpteenth time. It still revealed an empty space where the spare key usually sat.

They were both startled by lightning that blanched the sky above, followed by an almighty clap of thunder. A heavier shower of rain pelted down, making Willa’s flowing lava simmer and sizzle in a furious hum. Where had David left the key? Willa was howling insults at her brother, but they had no effect. David knew the only way to stop her angry stampede was to find what she needed. A key that not only opened the door, but Willa’s peaceful side, aswell.

Pouring down in buckets, the rain seeped into fractures that had cracked in Willa’s outer layer. This temporarily plugged the sluice of lava that gushed from her top. David studied the way the water stuck to the oozing liquid; how it created a sort of cement. An idea formed in his head.

To create a deluge of water, David wrenched Mum’s pansies from the nearby pot. He grappled fistfuls of dirt and threw them onto the driveway. When it was free from soil, David held the container underneath the leaky drainpipe on the side of the house. He could hear the water collecting in it, and he knew his plan was working.

When the overflow of water started dripping onto him, David stumbled (carrying the heavy pot) over to where Willa was fuming, and tipped. The rivulet splashed into Willa’s open top. It hardened within moments. The torrent of lava that had been brewing inside of Willa was suddenly replaced by a stone-like substance. Her body twisted back to its normal shape, her face colour changing back to its original, pale tone, and her hair was stripped back to the brown bob that reached her ears. Willa was back.

“Ow.” Willa squeaked. “Something hit me.” Her fingers fumbled around in her matted locks, before bringing out a thing made of metal. The key!

“Must’ve been in the pot plant!” David cried, incredulous about the discovery.

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

A New FABO Story Starter By Michele Powles!

A new FABO Story competition has started! Author Michele Powles 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 2nd.

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.

Michele Powle’s Story Starter: Wild, Wet, Willa.

“You said you had it in your pocket!” Willa’s face was twisted into angry creases as she hissed at David.

“I didn’t,” David replied. “I said I thought I had it.”

Willa closed her eyes for just long enough to make David hope she’d forgotten she was yelling at him. Then she opened them again and wiped rainwater off her face. “You. Were. In. Charge. Of. The. Key.”

David shrank. It was true. Mum had put him in charge of the house key, and now that they were standing on the doorstep, in the pouring rain, he couldn’t remember what he’d done with it.

The school holidays had sucked, big time. One of David’s fish had floated to the top of its tank and gulped its last gulp. Someone had driven into Mum’s car and busted it up so they’d had to cancel their trip. All David’s friends were away and there was nothing to do. Oh, and it had rained. Every. Day.

Standing outside as his hoodie turned into a soggy, skin-sucking mess without any way of getting out of the cold, was the icing on the sucky-holiday-cake.

Willa folded her arms, her wet hair plastered to the sides of her face. “Let’s go next door for a while, you said. It’ll be fun, you said.”

David looked at the skin on his thumb and pulled at a loose bit near his nail. “It was fun. Sort of. And anyway, why didn’t you take the key? You’re the eldest.”

“Mum said I needed to stop doing things for you. You’re eleven.”

“Eleven and a half,” David muttered and knew, immediately that it was a mistake to mutter anything while Willa was in this sort of mood. The concrete thudded wetly as she stamped her foot. She pointed her finger at him and her face started going red.

“It’s okay. I’ll find the key, promise,” David said, frantically digging in his pockets.

Willa opened her mouth and looked down at her body, her eyes growing wider and her face getting steadily redder.

Uh oh. “Take a breath. You can do it,” David said desperately.

Willa gasped and managed to squeak out, “You said this wasn’t going to happen again.”

“I didn’t think it was. Quick, think about kittens. Puppies. Sunshine.”

Willa’s whole face was now the red of overripe tomatoes. Red, and starting to glow. Her eyes started changing colour and as she glared at David, a loud whooshing noise rushed into his ears and made him feel woozy….

Click here to 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…