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Posted in Enter Now, Poetry

Enter the Pop-up Poetry Challenge with Elena de Roo and Melinda Szymanik now!

There’s a fun new competition to enter on the FABO website!

Pop-up Poetry Challenge

With Elena de Roo and Melinda Szymanik

Using any of the starters below, or one of the pictures as inspiration, write a poem no longer than 25 lines. (It can be as short as you want). It’s okay to be inspired by a picture and use one of the starters.

Have fun – there are no rules in poetry! Your poems don’t have to rhyme but they can if you want them to. They don’t have to tell a story or even make sense, unless you want them to. You can have long lines or lines that are just one word or something in the middle. You can even make up new words just because they sound good.

Read your poem out loud — listen to the words and the rhythm they make. How does your poem make you feel? What shape does your poem make on the page?

You have two weeks to write your poem, so there’s no need to rush! Take your time and send us the best poem you can write.

Send your poem to us by 7pm Friday October 1st (NZ time).

You can enter TWO poems (at most).

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

Here are some poetry prompts to get you started on your poem – they could be the title, the first line, the last line or somewhere in the middle.

• The last polar bear
• Everything was melting
• I held the golden ticket
• The moon was a frown, upside down
• One cup of plain words
• I climbed until the sky turned inky blue
• It smelled of green
• As quiet as the tiniest whisper
• Like a shiny marble
• The boom of moon tubers*
(*You can change the spelling to “moon tubas” if you prefer).

You must:
1. EITHER use one of the poetry prompt lines somewhere in your poem,
2. OR write a poem using one of the pictures on this page as inspiration.
3. OR you can use BOTH a poetry prompt line and a picture to inspire you.

Send Us Your Poem Here…

Posted in fabo story, The Winner

FABO Story report for competition 10 judged by Michele Powles

Wow! Who knew there could be so many options for the contents of a fridge? Lockdown has not dulled your imaginations one bit. Well done everyone! With over 130 entries, anyone who gets a mention really stood out because there were some fantastic efforts, definitely some future novelists in the group here!

There were some common themes that emerged this time – crazy magical food, portals to another dimension, monsters, slime and witches all appeared in more than one story. I particularly loved Ruby Shepherd’s broccoli monster, Aria Llewellyn’s carrot nosed giraffe, Kaydee Marsh’s jelly trampoline and spaghetti rescue rope, Jonah Hinds epic food battle with carrot daggers and onion swords, and Janna Chans’ possessed Buddha hand – one cool looking piece of fruit (google it if you haven’t heard of it).

There were a lot of other types of monsters too, particularly blue and green, gooey and goopy ones. The slime is strong with all of you. Oh, and a fair few fluffy creatures in the fridge too. Possums and chinchillas were a fave, who turned out not to be quite so fluffy and cute, even if they did like eating cheese.

There were some truly wonderful descriptions. Congratulations on bringing your work to life with such vivid images and a really great understanding of metaphor and simile. Impressive! Special mention for descriptive prowess goes to Gracie Moodie, Arshiya Tuli, Sophie Vincent, Elsa Hurley, Bella Chen, and Gracie (from Bethlehem college, not sure of your last name).

A few special mentions. For pure creativity: Emma Herrett, loved your top tips, who knew you could google how to remove a strange creature that looks like your teacher from your fridge and find a good answer. Javhan Eka, I enjoyed your Dr. Wondertainments Magical Meat horror movie twist, it made me wonder what you’d been watching this lockdown, and Lennox of Epsom Normal Primary School managed to pull off a great twist on the “it was all a dream” narrative that we generally encourage writers to stay away from. Paige from Helensville Primary, making your story work within Prodigy game play was particularly clever, well done.

I also wanted to reward spine tingling tension. Bill Kelly from Brookland Primary school, you had me squirming as the kids dragged their lizard to the bathroom. And Beni T, your dismembered clown is going to give me nightmares.

And now…drum roll please, the runner up this time is Indigo Tomlinson. A wonderful story, rich with descriptions like “fantastical ribbons of green and purple, unspooling across the night like ribbons” and an emotional edge that made for a really satisfying read. It was a very close result this time around.

But the winner of a $20 book voucher, is Taylor Goddard from Lincoln Primary School! Congratulations on delivering a really fun, well thought out and structured story with a particularly good use of dialogue.

Well done to all of you who entered, keep up the great work!

Michele’s Story Starter

“Nothing has miraculously appeared since you last looked!”

Tor swung the fridge door closed and sighed at his mum. “But I’m hungry.”

Mum patted him on the head distractedly as if he was a puppy. “I’ll make lunch once I’m off my next call and you’ve finished your math. I have to go, don’t come downstairs.”

Tor picked up his iPad and looked at the 20 math questions his teacher had set. Fractions were his least favourite thing. Okay, that wasn’t true, class Zoom calls where everyone had to share were his least favourite thing, but fractions came in close. Lockdown was laaaaaame.

“Done and done.”

Tor looked up at his brother Duncan. “You are not.”

Duncan wiggled his eyebrows. “Level 39.”

Tor snorted. “Prodigy doesn’t count as school work.”

“Does if you’re in Miss Morelli’s class.”

Tor shuddered. Miss Morelli might set the least amount of home-schooling work, but she was creepy. End of story. When she looked at him with her dark, flashy eyes, Tor always got a sucking sensation like she was trying to pull his brain out through his eyes.

Tor grabbed his brother’s iPad. “You’ve still got this task to do.” He clicked on it:

Lockdown Life Lessons

Share a story and snapshots of life in lockdown. Things you’ve seen on a walk, things you’ve grown, creatures from your fridge, silly tales about your pets or family.

Weird. 

Duncan cleared his throat; it was a sort of strangled sound. “Ummmmmm, I thought you said there was nothing in here.”

Tor looked up, and saw Duncan bathed in the light from the fridge, his face twisted in a strange expression…

Taylor’s Winning Story

Tor could swear he heard angels singing, like in those movies when an incredible thing was about to happen and the camera zooms in on someone’s shocked expression.

It was exactly like that but with no camera and no movie.

And with a chipmunk in the fridge.

“It’s so beautiful!” Duncan said tears welling up in his eyes.

Tor looked from his brother to the chipmunk then back again.

“Have you had a knock to the head?” Asked Tor, genuinely concerned for his brother’s health. “Or is it the lack of chocolate biscuits in your diet?”

“I had three biscuits this morning,” replied Duncan without taking his eyes off the chipmunk.

“Duncan,” Tor treaded carefully towards his brother, not wanting to be caught in the chipmunk’s cute but deadly gaze. “You need to step away from the chipmunk. And eat less biscuits.”

Duncan took a couple paces back, until the golden light coming from the chipmunk couldn’t reach him. He shook his head then rubbed his eyes, trying to grasp onto what had just happened.

“We have a chipmunk in the fridge,” Duncan said.

“Oh really? I didn’t notice,” Tor muttered under his breath.

“Go talk to it.”

Tor looked at Duncan like he was mad, but there was a chipmunk in the fridge and that problem had to be dealt with first. He would worry about his brother’s sanity after.

Tor walked to the chipmunk.

“Good afternoon, err, chipmunk.”

“Good afternoon,” the chipmunk replied.

Tor blinked twice in astonishment.

“What… um… may I ask what you are doing in our fridge?”

“I was looking for a face mask.”

Tor wasn’t quite sure what to say.

“In the fridge?”

“Yes,” the chipmunk nodded. “You humans always look in the fridge before you put a face mask on to get food so I thought they would be in here.”

“Oh. We keep our face masks in a drawer,” Tor said, grabbing out a blue one and showing it to the chipmunk. “You can keep it if you want.”

“Thank you,” the little animal grasped the face mask in it’s paws and hopped down from it’s perch. “If you are having trouble with dividing numbers I always use short division. Search it up.”

And with that the chipmunk scampered away.

Tor and Duncan stood where they were, bewildered by what transpired. Duncan was the first to recover from his shock.

“Well,” Duncan said, brushing his hands together, like he was pretending to get rid of dust. “I have a Lockdown Life Lessons story about a chipmunk to start. See you at lunch.”

Tor took another couple minutes to calm his confused brain. He then took a big breath and laughed.

There had been a talking, magical chipmunk in their fridge who had wanted a face mask.

What are the chances?

He heard Mum come up the stairs.

“Almost ready for lunch?”

“Yeah,” Tor smiled. “I just need to learn short division.”

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Enter the ninth FABO Story competition judged by Michele Powles!

★ The ninth FABO Story competition for 2021 has started and author Michele Powles has written a story starter. Finish the story your way and 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 September 17th (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.

Michele’s Story Starter

“Nothing has miraculously appeared since you last looked!”

Tor swung the fridge door closed and sighed at his mum. “But I’m hungry.”

Mum patted him on the head distractedly as if he were a puppy. “I’ll make lunch once I’m off my next call and you’ve finished your maths. I have to go, don’t come downstairs.”

Tor picked up his iPad and looked at the 20 maths questions his teacher had set. Fractions were his least favourite thing. Okay, that wasn’t true, class Zoom calls where everyone had to share were his least favourite thing, but fractions came in close. Lockdown was laaaaaame.

“Done and done.”

Tor looked up at his brother Duncan. “You are not.”

Duncan wiggled his eyebrows. “Level 39.”

Tor snorted. “Prodigy doesn’t count as school work.”

“Does if you’re in Miss Morelli’s class.”

Tor shuddered. Miss Morelli might set the least amount of home-schooling work, but she was creepy. End of story. When she looked at him with her dark, flashy eyes, Tor always got a sucking sensation like she was trying to pull his brain out through his eyes.

Tor grabbed his brother’s iPad. “You’ve still got this task to do.” He clicked on it:

Lockdown Life Lessons

Share a story and snapshots of life in lockdown. Things you’ve seen on a walk, things you’ve grown, creatures from your fridge, silly tales about your pets or family.

Weird.

Duncan cleared his throat; it was a sort of strangled sound. “Ummmmmm, I thought you said there was nothing in here.”

Tor looked up, and saw Duncan bathed in the light from the fridge, his face twisted in a strange expression…

Now You Finish The Story…

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 The Winners!

FABO Story report for competition 7 judged by Maureen Crisp

I will never look at the swamp in the same way again… after reading these wonderful stories. Hidden below the mud exist magical lands full of monsters and kings, mermaids and sprites, and sacks full of gems, enough for a dragon’s hoard.

When I wrote the beginning, I was remembering a school trip I had been on where we went to the swamp to study what things lived there. It was great to see stories that took this a little further with eels and frogs making appearances in New Zealand swamps. ( FYI. We don’t have alligators.)

A lot of the stories ended in dreams or forgetting what had happened or abandoning people in the swamp. A good story should have a satisfactory conclusion for the reader. If you find yourself floundering in a swamp of words trying to finish the story, retrace your steps to where you last made a plot decision. Taking another plot path can get you out of the word swamp.

These stories really stood out as being complete stories and had me chuckling as I read.

Juliet and the colossal eel

Johnna with mud mermaids

Bill – Lord Horticulous Murke XIV

Danika with Cassie the swamp monster!

Lily with Mutant number 1

Cleo- left me hanging in a great story. What happened next?

Arshiya and the beautiful wonderland under the swamp

Jerry – an epic tale of rescue

Sarah – The scepter

Peyton and the massive frog

Grady – with Max and the floating clothes

Aurie and the rescue of a missing man in the swamp.

Indigo-and where imaginations go to die… (Ouch Poor Swamp.)

Bethany – and the sprites of the swamp.

Matty and the mud elf

You are all wonderful writers using great descriptive language. It was hard to choose one winner from the great stories so I have chosen two. Both stories finished well. When a reader is still thinking about the story a few hours later, that’s how you know it is a winner.

Congratulations Aurie Tzeng and Bill Kelly.

Maureen’s Story Starter

Tere balanced on one leg in the swamp. He had left his gumboot back in the mud. Around him he could hear the rest of the class as they began their swamp study.

‘Hey everybody, Tere is doing ballet,’ laughed Max who had gone ahead of him.

‘Shut up Maxie.’ Tere carefully inserted his foot back in the gumboot and heaved. A sucking slurping sound came from the mud as it reluctantly let go of his foot. The stench of rotting plants wafted all around him. He screwed up his nose trying not to smell it.

Suck. Gurgle. Squelch. Every step brought clouds of midges around him hunting for food from the mud he stirred up. They batted his face. He could feel them on his skin and in his hair. Tere waved his arms trying to get them away from him and clamped his lips tight so he didn’t swallow any.

When he finally squelched to their study section, Max was waiting for him, casually leaning up against a cabbage tree. ‘Took you ages to get here.’

‘Yeah,’ said Tere. ‘Thirty seconds behind you. Come on, let’s do this work so we can get out of here.’

They marked out their square metre and then leaned down for a better look at the mix of plants, mud, and stinky swamp water in their section. ‘Living animals first,’ said Tere, ‘millions of midges.’

Max picked up a long stick to push aside clumps of grass. The clumps bobbed away. ‘The grass must be floating on the water,’ he said.

‘Is it living fauna?’ asked Tere, ‘cause that’s what we’re looking for, eels, fish, frogs, birds, insects.’ He had their clipboard ready to list all the things they found for their assignment.

‘Well, it could be.’ Max poked at the grass again. ‘It could be a disguised swamp monster.’

Tere sighed, this promised to be a miserable school trip, stuck in a swamp with Max-imum Idiot as his partner. ‘Grass is flora. We’re looking for fauna first.’

Max poked at the clumps a few more times, pushing them under the water and watching them bob up. When he poked the biggest clump, his stick went down into the water and stuck fast. Max flailed. His body arched like a bow as he struggled to stay anchored to solid ground.

Tere grinned as he watched Max struggling. If Max fell in the mud, it would be a sweet payback for all the hassle Max had given him. I’d better help him, he thought or we’ll never get this thing finished. He grabbed the back of Max’s shirt to haul him back but he was ready to let go, if he had to.

‘Aaargh the stick is getting sucked down.’

‘Let go.’

‘No, I’ll fall in. Pull me,’ yelped Max. ‘Something’s got the stick.’

There was a stirring of mud and water and an awful stench surrounded them both. Max was almost a bridge now. His arms stretched, hands gripping the stick. His back was flat and his legs bent. His feet slid into the soft mud goop.

‘The only way out, is to let go,’ said Tere, still hanging on the Max’s shirt. He was trying hard not to laugh out loud, glad that Max couldn’t see his face.

The muddy swirl around the stick kept churning. ‘That’s not natural, is it?’ Tere frowned. The goopy mud bubbled and slopped getting nearer to where he was standing.

‘Look out, I’m coming through,’ said a voice.

Tere turned. ‘Oh No! Don’t!’

Aurie’s Story – Winner One

The churning swamp water erupted into the air as a grime-covered figure burst from it. The pressure on the stick released as Tere dragged Max back to the safety of dry ground. The muddied figure flailed wildly in the swampy water, sending wave upon wave of mud in all directions.

A giant clump of grass and slop hit Max square in the face. He tumbled backwards in a tangle of limbs and landed with a thump on the ground. Tere would have burst into laughter had the situation not been so frightening.

Max clambered to his feet and staggered away from the swamp while wiping mud off his clothes. Tere could sense Max slipping over and cowering away from the abomination in front of them, turning the surrounding swamp into a whirlwind of flying mud.

Max scuttled back like a spider in a feeble attempt to slip away, but he was met with the swamp behind on either side of him. Tere stood still, trying to be brave and control his primeval instincts to run and hide. Then for a moment, Tere fancied he could hear muffled words.

“Max, hold on!” exclaimed Tere in an attempt to calm Max. “Listen, he’s speaking English. I think it’s a human.”

Max stopped struggling to find a dry path to safety and made painful eye contact with the figure.

“Hello?” questioned Tere.

“Thank you, boys, so much!” roared the man so suddenly that both boys unconsciously flinched away from him.

“Uhm, you’re welcome,” Max mumbled, confused.

“I was stuck under that swamp for days, I was,” the man started, seeming not to have heard Max. “I was walking, looking for some firewood, and I tripped on this here very root.” He jerked his head in the direction of a clump of roots protruding from the uneven mud clumps. “I fell face-first into the swamp. Luckily for me, there was a sort of cave thingy down there, and I got stuck right in it.” He paused for effect. “The hole in the swamp where I fell closed up like a door on a hatch, and I had to use my jacket here to block the spot, so I didn’t drown. I was damn scared to try and push through to the surface, so I was stuck down there for a couple of days, drinking from my water bottle and eating an energy bar I found in my pocket.

“And when my stick got stuck in there, it opened a hole up for you,” offered Max, seeming to regain some of his composure.

“Exactly! I grabbed onto that stick when it went through the roof and clung of for dear life.”

“So… what now?” asked Max.

“Well, we were here with those museum reporter guys, right?” said Tere after some consideration. “Let’s get them to record this; it will make a thrilling story on the news.”

Five minutes later, Tere, Max and the man arrived back at the dusty road and the parked school bus. The reporters were filming students holding up tiny swamp creatures. When one of them caught a glimpse of the mud-covered man out of the corner of his eye, he nearly dropped his camera in shock.

“We have quite the story for you,” said Tere, grinning.

Bill’s Story – Winner Two

A big green face popped out of the mud, sending a wave of water over the top of Tere’s boots. He let go of Max.

‘Well, how do you do?’ said the unusual figure, holding out one hand towards Tere and picking up Max with the other.

Max’s mouth dropped open, ‘w..whu..t?’ he mumbled.

‘Very sorry, did I startle you. My name’s Murke. Lord Horticulous Murke, the XIV,’ his hand still held out to shake Tere’s. ‘I was rather hoping you two boys could help?’ he asked in a posh accent.

Tere and Max grabbed at each other, they were sinking, the mud now over their knees. Max made a gasping noise like he was trying to speak but nothing came out.

‘Looks like you could do with moving to higher ground,’ said Murke. The boys turned with a squelch and waded carefully through the smelly green water, midges clouding around their heads, whilst seeming to avoid Murke’s matted brown curls. Not noticing the panicked look on his companion’s faces, Murke continued ‘I have concluded you are interested in swamp creatures and if you are interested in swamp creatures,’ he paused momentarily taking a breath and then adding ‘you might be interested in helping me?’

Max opened his mouth to speak again, this time managing part of a jumbled sentence ‘actually… school trip…and…’ before trailing off when Tere stamped on his foot.

‘Many years ago’ Murke continued, ‘I was a happy fellow, living in a beautiful house surrounded by wild flowers. Then this tragic accident befell me…’ he stopped and eyed the boys closely. ‘I got into debt, and ended up in prison. When I got out I had lost everything and had nowhere to go. Finally I made my home here with the eels, and the frogs and the insects.’ Murke sniffed loudly and tears rolled down his face. ‘and now… now they are going to destroy it, drain the land, build a factory, poison us, our home.’

‘That’s horrible! And I thought this was just a rotting swamp’ Max quietly sympathised.

‘It’s our home, and they are going destroy it,’ Murke repeated, sobbing. Max patted Murke’s green hand, trying to provide comfort without getting himself any muddier. Max, for once, seemed lost for words.

The silence was broken by the voice of their teacher, Miss Grimwald, calling them.

‘We’ve got to go’ said Tere pulling Max, ‘we will think of a plan. Good bye, Horticulous,’ Tere’s voice cracked and he paused, ‘it was… interesting to meet you.’

On the bus on the way back to school, the class talked excitedly about their swamp study and all the things they had found. Tere and Max stayed silent, they didn’t think anyone would believe what they had discovered. However when back at school the boys googled the swamp and found there really were plans to drain it and build a factory, which upset the whole class. Everyone decided to write letters and show how important the wetland was for different fauna and flora. The local newspaper got involved and Tere and Max made placards and even got on TV.

They won. The swamp was saved. The boys went back to tell Murke about their success but they couldn’t find him, just mud and millions of bloodsucking midges.

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 The Winner

FABO Story report for competition 6 judged by Elena De Roo

There were thirty entries from all around Aotearoa, from Southland to the Tutukaka Coast, and I enjoyed reading every single one of them. Well done to everyone who entered! I thought the overall quality of the writing was outstanding. 

I was impressed by the range of inventive ingredients in your “wisherpies.”(Kudos to Taine from Sylvia Park School for coining the word “wisherpy” meaning “wish recipe”)

Grace’s (Bethlehem College) list impressed me with its poetic qualities:
A raindrop from the sun
A hair from the head of a dreamer
A lifetime of good and gold
A hope from the fire within
A wave in the middle of a storm
A dream
A wish

Eva from Churton Park School had an intriguing mix of the everyday and the magical in her list of ingredients:
Mayonnaise
Salt Water
Tree Bark
A Star
I loved the way Jono decided to use a dried starfish instead of a star, and your powerful description once the final ingredient is added.
“… the bowl exploded into a puff of smoke, thunder clapped, the sea roared as the recipe floated into the air and a voice called out ‘make your wish now’ …….”

I really liked the thought and detail Angela from Taupo Intermediate put into her recipe method, especially the ominous warning.
“Grind the lemon candy into a powder, along with the huckleberries and flower petals. Slice the peacock feather into the smallest possible pieces after boiling in a pot with three cups of spring water … Mix well. Let sit for 22 minutes …
WARNING: DO NOT DRINK ALL IN ONE SIP, AND DO NOT FORGET THE CINNAMON!!!!!!!”

Julia from St Cuthberts College spiced up her ingredients list with the addition of “an annoying little brother.”  

Elise from Southland Girls High invented a clever rhyming incantation to say over the mixture “Magic bring the light in me, a wish is what I plead of thee.”

But my favourite ingredients, “grated unicorn horn and ogre snot”, were created by Juliet (Halswell School).  I especially liked your comic twist of turning Ash into an “Ashicorn” with a horn that “looked soft and was a subtle shade of blue” and Anaru into an ogre “carbuncled, green, stagnant and slouched”  making them the source of the ingredients.  “Jono grated the Ashicorn’s horn with such vigour that he grated his fingers more than once. I was failing at Anaru’s nose-blowing routine. He defiantly sat there, his bead-like eyes glinting angrily … pruney arms crossed.”  Great choice of descriptive words, without over-doing it, and very funny too!

But of course no matter how strange and wonderful the ingredients were the wishes didn’t always go to plan.

”They [the cupcakes] look so good,” Anaru said. “But what about the icing? I wish we had some.”  (Sophie – Churton Park School)

“’Well I wish that this goop would turn into a cupcake,’ Ash said … Slowly, the gloop started to take shape, it was as if invisible hands were moulding it into the shape of a cupcake … it grew bigger and bigger until it finally stopped at the size of a chair … the cupcake formed a mouth. The mouth opened wide and before Ash could register what had happened, he was swallowed.”  (Yang Yang Lei, Marina View School)

Taylor’s (Lincoln Park Primary) character begins by wishing sensibly, then sneaks in a little extra wish as well, which is a nice touch. “’I wish for us to leave and I wish for everything to be okay … and if flying is an option, I’d like that too,’ I whispered. “

I liked the vivid picture Mattie, from Nelson Intermediate, created with his description of a grumpy genie:  “… a slightly chubby genie floated above Anaru’s head. It looked around the room, its face covered in wrinkles like hundreds of interlocking valleys and two caves for a nose. The genie zipped around the room and shovelled all the cupcakes into its mouth then glared down at us. ‘Well hurry up, what’s your wish?’ it demanded.’”

And Janisha from Tirimoana Primary wrote this beautiful line bringing her, Shakespeare-loving, Nana character’s voice to life: “Even now, I could remember her lovely lilting accent soaring through the words, lightly deciphering the harder phrases and chuckling occasionally at the porter’s antics in her favourite, Macbeth …”

Araav (Balmoral School) – “This recipe is to be kept in uttermost silence … The Elder ones have signed a pact to protect this with their soul … It made me wonder what Nana actually did when she said she socialised at the nursing home hosting long games of bingo. Even though we all saw though the lie, we kept that to ourselves … We can all agree Nana was good at many things but lying was not her strong suit.” Your story has an epic quality to it, with some wonderful description and a nice mix of humour, mystery and suspense. Well done!

Finally, I whittled the thirty down to a short short-list

Jerry  (Churchill Park School) – “We all flopped onto the sofa in despair as the rain gently ‘pitter-pattered’ on the roof. The sky rumbled and flashed in the distance. What a gloomy day it was. “ This is a great beginning, it really sets the scene. And what a superb idea to hide the secret ingredient inside a Pickle and Brussel Sprout Lasagne recipe – it made for a great story.

Indigo from Huanui College cleverly used personification to make the wish a character in its own right. “Suddenly the ink seemed to rise off the page, and it twisted through the air like black ribbons, twining together into the shape of a hunchbacked old woman. She was made up of half-formed streaks and tears dripped like viscous oil from her unseeing eye sockets …” Wonderfully evocative description and I loved your ending too.
“’Well everyone makes mistakes,’ I said gently, feeling a bit sorry for her, ‘I think you just need to accept that you did something wrong and move on.’
Mum ALWAYS said that when Jono and I had a fight.
Suddenly a gust of wind blew through the kitchen, and the witch seemed to disintegrate into fragments of dust that scattered to the corners of the room as though swept by an invisible broom.
The lights flickered back on.
I looked at the piece of paper still lying innocently on the bench.
Two words etched in black lettering curled across the page.
Thank you. “  

And my winner is:

Bill Kelly from Brooklyn Primary School

I was won over by the way your story made me laugh, its attention to detail, the nice balance of dialogue, description and plot, and its simple but clever ending. Big congratulations! I’ll be in touch shortly, to find out where to send your prize.

Elena’s Story Starter

Even though Jono and I both had friends over, the rainy afternoon seemed to be stretching out forever. 

“What about baking something,” called Mum from her home office, when Jono and Anaru started chasing each other around the living room, whooping loudly. “There’s a recipe for cupcakes somewhere in Nana’s old scrap book.”

It sounded like a good idea, especially as we could eat them afterwards.

While Ash and I turned the pages, Jono and Anaru looked over our shoulders. The recipes, most of them in Nana’s spidery writing, were dotted with grease spots and had interesting titles, like Tapioca Pudding and Lemon Barley Water.  

“Give it here. I’ll find the cupcakes,” said Anaru. He started rifling through the pages and a small square of folded paper fell out. “Bet that’s it.”

The faintly lined paper was yellowed at the edges and almost falling apart along the fold lines. I laid it out carefully on the bench. ~ RECIPE FOR A WISH ~ it began, in Nana’s best printing.

Bill’s Story

1 snail’s shell (ideally a magic variety)
1 Tbs of red sand
Juice of a fresh lemon
3 teeth (crushed)
5 drops of black ink

The first ingredient was simply a matter of a trip to the top of our garden. Deep in the foliage Ash found a sparkly gold snail shell the size of a button, hopefully it was a magic one. For the second ingredient we ran to the sheer rock face that separated our home from the waves of the wild Pacific and climbed down the steep stairs. Rain sprayed in our faces and water filled our gumboots as we waded out to Kaipara’s Rock. The small island named in 1824 after the fastest runner in Aotearoa who drowned when he fell from the rock and hit his head. I scooped up a handful of red sand and put it in one of Jono’s old plastic beach buckets along with the snail shell.

Soaking wet we trudged home for tea. Mum had made hot soup and Nana’s scones. “How will we get teeth?” asked Jono. Anaru offered to pull out three of his baby teeth using a rubber band attached to the door knob, which Jono got very excited about but Mum thought wasn’t a good idea.

“Let’s not worry about the teeth for now” said Ash bringing us back to the task “we need a lemon.”

“You’re in luck” Mum volunteered “There’s one in the veggie box this week, it’s still fresh.”

“Thanks Mum” I replied “but where do you think we can find some teeth?”

Mum looked like she was thinking hard.

“I know”, shouted Jono as he jumped up from the table “the rat trap.”

We all grimaced, “Eww gross!”

“It’s the best idea we have got” stressed Jono. We spent the next 20 minutes poking around Dad’s rat traps at the top of garden, trying to avoid losing a finger in the process. Finally my hand felt the stiff body of a dead rat and we carefully carried it back down to the house.

Jono laid the rat on the kitchen table.

“Out”, shouted Mum so we trouped back into the garden and Ash used his pocket knife to ease out three sharp teeth. It was grim. Jono and Anaru made gagging noises and then Anaru kicked the body over the fence into the neighbours while we used rocks to grind the teeth down and add them to the bucket.

Our final ingredient, the black ink. I found one of Mum’s old ball-point pens and snapped it so the ink spread across my fingers. As I slowly added 5 drops into the mixture we crowded over the bucket and watched as the potion began to fizz and splutter. Yellow bubbles sprayed on to the bench and a smell like cat pee filled the room.

“What should we wish for?” I asked.

“A huge lolly” said Jono,

“Lego” added Anaru,

“To Captain the Black Caps” countered Ash,

“No!” I said, “we need to wish for something special.”

We all looked at each other. “After three, say the most important thing you can think of that would change the world forever.” Then I counted down slowly, “Three… Two… One… We wish for… “

“Kindness” we said in unison..  

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Enter the Seventh FABO Story competition judged by Maureen Crisp!

★ The sixth FABO Story competition for 2021 has finished and author Elena De Roo is reading your entries. She will announce a winner on this website in the next few days. 

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

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

Instructions

1. Read the story starter and continue the story.

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

3. You have two weeks to write your story, so there’s no need to rush! Take your time and send us the best story you can write.

4. Send your story to us by 7pm Friday August 20th (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.

Maureen’s Story Starter

Tere balanced on one leg in the swamp. He had left his gumboot back in the mud. Around him he could hear the rest of the class as they began their swamp study.

‘Hey everybody, Tere is doing ballet,’ laughed Max who had gone ahead of him.

‘Shut up Maxie.’ Tere carefully inserted his foot back in the gumboot and heaved. A sucking slurping sound came from the mud as it reluctantly let go of his foot. The stench of rotting plants wafted all around him. He screwed up his nose trying not to smell it.

Suck. Gurgle. Squelch. Every step brought clouds of midges around him hunting for food from the mud he stirred up. They batted his face. He could feel them on his skin and in his hair. Tere waved his arms trying to get them away from him and clamped his lips tight so he didn’t swallow any.

When he finally squelched to their study section, Max was waiting for him, casually leaning up against a cabbage tree. ‘Took you ages to get here.’

‘Yeah,’ said Tere. ‘Thirty seconds behind you. Come on, let’s do this work so we can get out of here.’

They marked out their square metre and then leaned down for a better look at the mix of plants, mud, and stinky swamp water in their section. ‘Living animals first,’ said Tere, ‘millions of midges.’

Max picked up a long stick to push aside clumps of grass. The clumps bobbed away. ‘The grass must be floating on the water,’ he said.

‘Is it living fauna?’ asked Tere, ‘cause that’s what we’re looking for, eels, fish, frogs, birds, insects.’ He had their clipboard ready to list all the things they found for their assignment.

‘Well, it could be.’ Max poked at the grass again. ‘It could be a disguised swamp monster.’

Tere sighed, this promised to be a miserable school trip, stuck in a swamp with Max-imum Idiot as his partner. ‘Grass is flora. We’re looking for fauna first.’

Max poked at the clumps a few more times, pushing them under the water and watching them bob up. When he poked the biggest clump, his stick went down into the water and stuck fast. Max flailed. His body arched like a bow as he struggled to stay anchored to solid ground.

Tere grinned as he watched Max struggling. If Max fell in the mud, it would be a sweet payback for all the hassle Max had given him. I’d better help him, he thought or we’ll never get this thing finished. He grabbed the back of Max’s shirt to haul him back but he was ready to let go, if he had to.

‘Aaargh the stick is getting sucked down.’

‘Let go.’

‘No, I’ll fall in. Pull me,’ yelped Max. ‘Something’s got the stick.’

There was a stirring of mud and water and an awful stench surrounded them both. Max was almost a bridge now. His arms stretched, hands gripping the stick. His back was flat and his legs bent. His feet slid into the soft mud goop.

‘The only way out, is to let go,’ said Tere, still hanging on the Max’s shirt. He was trying hard not to laugh out loud, glad that Max couldn’t see his face.

The muddy swirl around the stick kept churning. ‘That’s not natural, is it?’ Tere frowned. The goopy mud bubbled and slopped getting nearer to where he was standing.

‘Look out, I’m coming through,’ said a voice.

Tere turned. ‘Oh No! Don’t!’

Now you finish the story…

Posted in The Winner

FABO Story Report for competition 5 judged by Sue Copsey

Thanks to everyone who entered this round of FABO. I wondered what you’d think the blood moon signified, anticipating plenty of werewolves, vampires and monsters, and I wasn’t disappointed. Just … a little grossed out, perhaps! Some of you didn’t hold back in your descriptions about what a rampaging monster might do when there’s a blood moon (yikes). I’ll be keeping my windows shut if there’s another!

Before I share the winning story, many honourable mentions – you all have the best imaginations! To: Ana Sarniak-Thomson for a well-paced story with plenty of action; Shiloh Weavers – lovely description of Charlie turning into a monster; Anna Duff, who described Charlie’s fear as being ‘worse than the time she had to sing in front of the whole school’. I loved Sophie Strugnell’s story, especially the part about food being named after the charmed little girl: ‘There were Morgana biscuits, Morgana cupcakes, Morgana Brussels sprouts … the brussels sprouts were soon take down and replaced with Morgana lemonade.’ It really works to put a bit of humour into a horror story.

Mattie Lang deserves a mention for her tomato-sauce-loving bunny from Mars. Mereania Makoare’s story had a moral, summed up in her last line: ‘I learned to always listen to my mum, respect our culture, and never, ever leave the windows open on a blood moon.’ And Sophie Cooper, I loved your plot twist at the end 😉 Elizabeth Stroebel’s story was beautifully written and stood out to me as an editor, for its total lack of mistakes, its spelling and punctuation all just so. Lauren McKenzie was a hot contender for first place – I loved your well-written apocalyptic story with a great twist at the end. Another special mention, to Shaun Zixu, who at the age of seven wrote a great little blood-curdling tale about a dog eating the moon and making it bleed. Amara Shah wrote about why the moon turned red – blame the vampires! Amelie Forrester’s beautiful description of a ghost blew me away: ‘She had big, round, milky eyes framed by snowy lashes. Her skin was pearly, with frosty hair that carried a tint of red …’ and her story ended ‘All ghosts aren’t bad’, which as an author of ghost stories, I totally agree with!

Richard Xu your story was so fast paced it really bowled along. Kennedy Lee’s excellent story was terrifying. More lovely writing from Gracie Moody, Charlotte Houliston, Isabel Foster and Juliet Young (who described Charlie’s nerves as feeling like ‘fantails flitting in his gut’). I loved Johnna Zixu’s description of passing through a ghost as being like ‘showering in ice cubes’. Araav Das Roy came VERY close to winning for inventive use of language, especially ‘sweat ran down his face faster than a Maserati’.

My overall winner is nine-year-old Isabel Wadham from Remuera Primary School, whose story stood out because of its lovely description, its pace, its clever theme (each blood moon is an omen of a natural disaster) and the touch of humour at the end. Here’s Isabel’s story:

Sue’s Story Starter

‘I hope the sky stays clear for tonight,’ said Charlie’s mum. ‘This only happens once in a blue moon.’

‘Once in a red moon, don’t you mean?’ said Dad, helping himself to more salad.

‘Silly me, of course. Red moon.’

Blood moon,’ said Charlie. ‘Why does it turn red?’

Charlie regretted the words immediately – Oh no, what have I done? – as Dad reached for a tomato and began, ‘So, imagine this tomato is the sun …’

Ten minutes later, when the large, medium and small tomatoes were back on their plates, Mum said, ‘Well that’s interesting, but where I come from, a blood moon has a different significance.’

‘How so?’ said Dad.

‘Let’s just say, we should keep the bedroom windows shut tonight.’

Isabel’s Winning Story

After that unearthly dinner, Charlie brushed her teeth. As chalk white foam flowed out of her mouth, notions were gushing through her mind. What did Mum mean by “where I come from”? What is a blood moon? Why did Dad use so many tomatoes?

Charlie inched into her bunk bed, questions that needed to be answered lurched around her brain, questions that needed to be answered NOW! It was around 10:30 at night, but Charlie was still wide awake. She stood up, with her back hunched, and toddled to the end of the hall. 

On the other side of the door, Charlie’s parents were discussing, but Charlie could only faintly apprehend what they were saying. So she flicked back her creamy cocoa brown hair, and tucked her fringe behind her ears. “I can hear much better now!” she thought.

Mum said “A different natural disaster happens every year when there is a blood moon, shouldn’t we be worried?!”


“Well, 2020 was a landslide, 2019 was a volcano, 2018 was a tornado, should we warn Charlie?” Dad replied, anxiously. 


“It’s late, we’ll let her rest for now,” Mum said in a drowsy tone. “But remember, the redder the moon, the wilder the disaster!” 

Charlie was panic-stricken, and was breathing as loudly as never before. She gently tiptoed to her room, but instead of climbing into her bunk bed, she gazed out the window. The moon was a bloodshot red, with a baffling feel to it, and a smoky grey cloud, with its tip covering the moon. Charlie was dazzled, but then she remembered what Mum said. “The redder the moon, the wilder the disaster,” she whispered to herself. All the dazzle melted into pain and fear.

Beneath the moon, the ocean started to inhale all the water, sucking it further and further away from Charlie. A wave formed. Charlie’s heart dropped lifeless. The wave wasn’t like the ones in cartoons, teal and transparent, usually with a face on it. This one was as black as a panther, staring it’s vicious eye at you. On the top of the tsunami, there was a livid dollop of milk white foam bubbling with rage.

Mum and Dad suddenly burst through the room. “TSUNAMI!!!” Dad yelped, with a bewildered look on his face.

But Mum just strutted away, with her heels making a “CLICK!” each step she made. Mum noticed that Dad and Charlie weren’t following, so she called from the hall, “Follow me!” 
Charlie and Dad were confused, but did what she said anyway, like they always did. They all dashed up their local mountain, and boy, Mum could really run in heels! 

The smoky grey tsunami had everything in it. It was like the merry go round at the park, but this one has howling people in it, praying to live just one more day. The sickening tsunami came under the family but then suddenly pulled away and… THEY LIVED! Mum said to Charlie in a cocky tone, “It happened all the time where I grew up, you guys should get used to it!”

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Enter the fifth FABO Story competition judged by Sue Copsey!

The fifth FABO Story competition has started. Author Sue Copsey has written a story starter. Finish the story your way to enter the competition!

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 9th (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 Sue!

Sue Copsey’s Story Starter

‘I hope the sky stays clear for tonight,’ said Charlie’s mum. ‘This only happens once in a blue moon.’

‘Once in a red moon, don’t you mean?’ said Dad, helping himself to more salad.

‘Silly me, of course. Red moon.’

Blood moon,’ said Charlie. ‘Why does it turn red?’

Charlie regretted the words immediately – Oh no, what have I done? – as Dad reached for a tomato and began, ‘So, imagine this tomato is the sun …’

Ten minutes later, when the large, medium and small tomatoes were back on their plates, Mum said, ‘Well that’s interesting, but where I come from, a blood moon has a different significance.’

‘How so?’ said Dad.

‘Let’s just say, we should keep the bedroom windows shut tonight.’

Now You Finish The Story…