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Posted in The Winner

Jane Bloomfield’s FABO Judge’s Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Highly Commended Stories

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

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

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

Happy writing everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

The doorbell chimed. I looked around.

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

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

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

I zipped up my puffa coat and walked towards the…

Bessie’s Winning Story

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

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

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

“Shut UP, Hallie!” I hissed.

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

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

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

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

My foot hit the book.

I was being pulled.

H
E
L
P

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

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

“HALLIGH! Helph!”

“James? Where are you?”

“I’m in fa fook!””

“Under the bed?”

“IN FA FOOK!”

“Book?”

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

“Helph!” I whimpered.

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

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

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Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

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

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

Instructions

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

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

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

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

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

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

The doorbell chimed. I looked around.

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

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

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

I zipped up my puffa coat and walked towards the …

You can finish the story on the Fabo Website now!

Posted in fabo story, The Winner

Maureen Crisp’s Fabo Judges Report

It is always interesting to see what themes pop up in the stories. There were many horrible principals and scary teachers. Bullying and revenge also featured a lot. I loved the stories that broke outside this and attempted to be really creative. An out of control yoghurt truck was a good idea but I couldn’t think how this could have fitted with the story starter of a repeat incident.

The phrases that stayed with me had these little gems…
weird blobby splashy crunchy noises.
and aggressively put my clothes on
3 super berry deluxe mouse yoghurts
his bushy eyebrows were like two fat caterpillars
buncha munchy crunchy carrots,

Shout out to the fabulous Upper Moutere school who sent in the most entertaining entries of really high caliber. Max you could have made the story longer…. Max you could have made the story longer… Max… you…. Sorry Max, My keyboard got stuck in a time glitch.

Also a shout out to St Cuthbert’s who also had excellent stories… pages and pages and pages of them. There were descriptive words everywhere. Verily my brain was working like a dynamo with all the expansive words that populated the discourse in the correspondence I received.

The FABO writers are all great writers but remember you need the boring stuff to give the reader time to reflect on your brilliant ideas. Presentation always lifts a story. Go back over your work and put in capital letters, full stops and paragraphs. This immediately lifts your story into the second round of judging. As entertaining as the stories are… they cannot be saved if the sentences run on and on without a pause in a great big long description of action and adventures and lavish attention to detail.

You do not need to show off how many long words you know. If you read an action scene you will see that the writer uses short punchy words to make the reader read faster. This is a writing trick called pace. You cannot write an action scene with long words because readers get caught up in wondering how to pronounce the words and what the word means. This pulls the reader out of the story. You want to hold your readers to the last full stop.

Ava Alpe worked hard on all the details to get her story right and it showed. There weren’t any missing words or a plot that went somewhere else. It was a complete story too. There weren’t too many of those.

Congratulations Ava.
If you send us your address using the Contact Us page on the website, we can get your prize out to you.

Maureen’s Story Starter

“Hey, Yoghurt Brains, are you coming to play footy? Hurry up will ya!”

The rest of my team laughed at Frazer’s sad joke. When would he give it a rest?

I sat down on the classroom steps to lace up my shoes. Just once I’d like to be known for something really cool.

Inventing a new dance move… Saving the life of someone….

But no, everybody knows me because of that stupid time I got detention with the principal and ended up in the school garden with a yoghurt pot on my head.

It wasn’t even my fault!

My mum says that if I write the story down I might win a prize. It’s got everything… Action… humour… sad bits… and total fiction. Nobody believes me.

“Come on,” yelled Frazer. “Yoghurt is faster than you!”

I jogged down to the field with my team. We passed the Harris triplets who were all eating yoghurt. That stuff should be banned, I thought. I could see Frazer turning to say something more… and then the whole story happened again right in front of me….

Ava’s Winning Story

Except this time … I was the one watching it unfold!

The Harris triplets were all sitting on the bench eating their yoghurt pots.

I mean why wouldn’t you eat yoghurt before sports practice? My mum always gives it to me. She says “It’s the perfect snack before sport. It’s full of calcium, it’s healthy and it will give you energy”. I wish she wouldn’t give it to me because nobody has ever forgotten what happened to me at detention. Frazer only makes it worse by never letting me forget it.

Back to the Harris Triplets – I don’t know if anyone else has noticed but they have to be the biggest kids in the whole school – and they aren’t even the oldest! When I say big – I mean big – they looked like an ad for weetbix. They had kauri trees for legs and they actually had muscles in their arms, which is weird for twelve year old boys! I swear all three of them were at least twice the height I am …. and I’m not small … I am a hooker!

But today I heard Frazer say something to the Harris triplets. Something he never should have said …. “You’d better watch out boys, if you eat yoghurt, you will end up just like Yoghurt Brains and everybody will laugh at you!”

Suddenly Frazer was in the air and I mean literally! He had a Harris on either side of him holding his legs and he was upside down. “Laugh at us for eating yoghurt?” asked the Harris triplet that wasn’t holding him. “Are you kidding mate? Yoghurt made us this big – maybe you should try it some time?” and then he laughed and so did his brothers. But while he was laughing, I saw him pick up the not yet finished yoghurt containers and get ready to throw them at Frazer. Frazer was so petrified, he started to cry. Worst of all, it was in front of coach, the team, some parents and me! The weirdest part of it all was I actually felt sorry for Frazer – even though he had tormented me the last three months over the yoghurt incident.

“Boys hold him up higher.” The two Harris triplets holding his legs, lifted Frazer impossibly high. The other brothers raised the first pot up in the air and went to throw it at Frazer. I have no idea what came over me – but I jumped in front of Frazer – and SPLAT, yoghurt was on my face. It had happened again. How was I ever going to get over this? Amazingly, the Harris triplets let Frazer go. He was shocked.

The Harris triplets told me they couldn’t believe that I would do that for a mate…take a yoghurt pot to the face! “You are some kind of dude,” they said “how come you are not the Captain of our team with that personality?”

The rest is history. Frazer has never teased me again. I was made Captain of our team and I got a citizenship award at the end of year assembly.

Things weren’t so bad after all.

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Maureen Crisp’s FABO Story Starter!

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

NOTE: This is the final FABO competition for this term. Whether there will be more competitions in 2017 is currently being determined (our author volunteers are checking their schedules). Please keep an eye on the website for updates.

Maureen’s Story Starter

“Hey, Yoghurt Brains, are you coming to play footy? Hurry up will ya!”

The rest of my team laughed at Frazer’s sad joke. When would he give it a rest?

I sat down on the classroom steps to lace up my shoes. Just once I’d like to be known for something really cool.

Inventing a new dance move… Saving the life of someone….

But no, everybody knows me because of that stupid time I got detention with the principal and ended up in the school garden with a yoghurt pot on my head.

It wasn’t even my fault!

My mum says that if I write the story down I might win a prize. It’s got everything… Action… humour… sad bits… and total fiction. Nobody believes me.

“Come on,” yelled Frazer. “Yoghurt is faster than you!”

I jogged down to the field with my team. We passed the Harris triplets who were all eating yoghurt. That stuff should be banned, I thought. I could see Frazer turning to say something more… and then the whole story happened again right in front of me….

Finish the story on the FABO website now!

Posted in fabo story, The Winners!

Kathy’s FABO Judge’s Report!

I don’t think I’ve ever read so many great ideas and well-rounded stories. Talk about making it difficult for the judge to do her job!

There were some exceptional ideas – using sticky tape on small hands to climb the walls, using lego pieces to spell out messages to classmates, and gigantic rats and spiders lurking in the back room. Some cockroaches morphed into humans and merged with human society. I particularly liked the rebelling mutant cockroaches who turned out to be badly-behaved kids, and Mr Lewis’ wife who had been trapped in the cockroach jar for 17 years! (Sian)

Language

I liked the way you played with language and used it to create memorable pictures of characters and ominous places.

The kids slowly sunk to the dusty floor like ice melting in the sun (Daniel);

Before the trio could speak, they had shrunk to the size of a child’s pinky finger and formed the shape of a crunchy little cockroach (Daniel);

The three kids became “the bugskiteers” (Sarah).

Characters

Some of you thought carefully about the detail in who the characters were and how they behaved differently.

“Frankie landed neatly. Tyler sprawled and Brendan crashed into painful splits.” (Bessie);

Mr Lewis was beaming, and you could see all his cavities, silver teeth, and remnants of the burrito he had had for lunch earlier that day. (Indiana)

Dialogue

So many of you wrote great dialogue that I can’t mention you all. The best bits sounded really natural, with small pauses. For instance Kate wrote about how horrified the kids were when they found out that Mr Lewis didn’t know how to reverse what he had done.

“Scared that they won?” one of the boys shouted.

Mr Lewis shook his head.

“I don’t know how to reverse it,” he quietly sputtered.

The whole entire class gasped. You could hear a pin drop.

“Why, did you do this to US,” Frankie exploded.

In fact, Kate and Indiana had two of my favourite philosophical questions:

“Insects are a part of the circle of life. Do you like destroying the circle of life?”

“What is wrong with not making cockroaches’ legs twitch?!”

Endings

I like the way a lot of you played with words and used humour in your endings.

(After having been shrunk and re-sized)

3:30 at Tyler’s House.

“How was your day Tyler,” Tyler’s Mum asked.

“I have little to say about it,” Tyler replied. (Kate)

“Mr Lewis got fired, and now lives in his mother’s basement, trying to be a half-decent citizen.” (Jeremy)

Frankies eyes went blank. Her mouth was dry. “If this is a spider web, then where is its maker?” Eight eyes glowed red as Mr Lewis opened the cage behind them. (Indiana)

However I had the biggest chuckle with this from Daniel:

Mr Lewis came bursting in, Jason tackled him down like an ALL BLACK. Hurling him onto the red dot he commanded Brendan to press the button.

The evil teacher shrunk down to a cockroach. Wondering what the commotion was about, massive Mrs Watson quickly waddled in. Seeing the ugly insect on the ground she crushed it under her large shoe.

“Do you think Mr lewis is okay?” asked Frankie

“No guarantees” replied Jason.

You’ve made it particularly difficult to choose winners this time because

(1) you’re all talented;

(2) You’re getting better at delivering a well-balanced story (with surprises) in terms of a beginning, middle and end;

(3) You cleverly used details in the story starter and built on that story, making it something that was uniquely your own.

Prizes

I’m not joking when I say that so many of you were in my shortlist, so thank you to all of you for making me laugh and think. Congratulations to Indiana Taylor (age 8) and Daniel Morrison (age 11) who are my junior and senior prize-winners this week for being good at so many things, and because I loved the way you put your words together.

If I had highly commended prizes, I’d be giving them out to Bessie Martin and Kate Barber plus several others for doing particular things exceptionally well. Unfortunately, I’ve only got two prizes so I’m sending the rest of you a virtual high five. Indiana and Daniel, can you please email your addresses through the Fabo story website, so I can send you a prize.

P.S. My story starter was based on a real one. When I was 13, I stood up in my science class and told my teacher, Mr Lewis, that I wasn’t going to cut up the dead lamb on my workbench. Kids were firing body parts around the room and I found it upsetting. My friend Dinah joined my protest, and we both had to scrape chewing gum off school seats for a week as punishment. It was the first time I protested about something that mattered to me; I’ve done it many times since. ☺

– Kathy White

Prize-winner: Indiana Taylor, Pt Chev Primary

Something from above shot down at them, and cloaked all three in a sticky, tough, strong material. They were trapped. Goners. Doomed.

“Ughh… I read a book on spiders yesterday,” Frankie shivered. “And gathering all the facts together, this is a spiders w..w..web!” Frankie screamed as a small prod in the back occurred.

“It’s all right.” Tyler whispered. ‘We are going to be fine. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO US MR LEWIS! WHAT IS WRONG WITH NOT MAKING COCKROACHES LEGS TWITCH?!”

He continued. “Well, you’re not bugs, are you? Your sign only said no bug experiments. Or am I mistaken, are you a bug, and I should switch you for these cockroaches.” Mr Lewis smirked.

Tyler struggled to find his sign so he could change what it said. “Looking for this?” Mr Lewis was beaming, and you could see all his cavities, silver teeth, and remnants of the burrito he had had for lunch earlier that day.

Brendan thought back to all those missing children from room 5. Tyler probably was right with assuming Jenny didn’t go on holiday so suddenly, and for such a long time too. That was over 2 and a half years ago. And maybe Jack really didn’t switch schools without telling anybody. Maybe Mr Lewis had been up to his experimenting for some time.

Frankies eyes went blank. Her mouth was dry. “If this is a spider web, then where is its maker?” Eight eyes glowed red as Mr Lewis opened the cage behind them.

Prize-winner: Daniel Morrison, age 11, Te Mata Primary

It all happened within a second, lasers shot out illuminating the mysterious room with colours, the kids slowly sunk to the dusty floor like ice melting in the sun.

Before the trio could speak, they had shrunk to the size of a child’s pinky finger and formed the shape of a crunchy little cockroach.

Mr Lewis gathered them up, walking them into the classroom he locked the back-room. With a little giggle he informed the kids in the classroom that he had found a few new cockroaches in the backroom.

Mr Lewis poured them into the jar on his desk and Tyler tried to escape but it was no use, they were trapped.

And then…

“Psst.”

“Hey… You three, can you guys get me out.”

“who are you?” Asked Brendan sounding confused.

“I’m Jason.” he answered.

“Jason Greene?” asked Brendan.

“Yeah,” he told them.

“You kicked the football through the window last term, Mr Lewis told us you were expelled” exclaimed Brendan.

“He turned me into an ugly six legged pest and has kept me in here for weeks!” Yelled Jason frustratingly.

“So who are all these people with you?” asked Tyler.

“Oh no these are just normal cockroaches” he said with a short smirk.

Everyone muted, the same thought locked inside everyone’s head. How to get out? Finally the silence broke.

“We could play dead!” screamed Frankie.

“Yes, and we run on three!” “Agreed Jason.”

The four insects faced their shiny backs to the ground and just laid there waiting. Just as they had hoped, a large boy from their class walked by noticing the four seemingly lifeless cockroaches laying in the jar. Out of curiosity he slowly lifted the lid up and Jason signaled

“3,2,1 GO!”

The pocket sized pests all scattered out of the jar within a second which made the poor lad embarrassingly scream his head off.

Tyler directed the three roaches to head under the back room door, they quickly followed. Frankie then got an idea.

“We could use those Lego pieces on that shelf to make words to tell the other kids to press the red button and turn us back.” she insisted

“Great idea” said Brendan, and quickly the insects formed the words.

Immediately a kid ran into the room with bug-spray in hand. Surprised by the Lego message, he pressed the button reluctantly. Again the room filled with light. Instead of shrinking, they grew from the red spot on the cold flooring, transforming back to their human form.

Mr Lewis came bursting in, Jason tackled him down like an ALL BLACK. Hurling him onto the red dot he commanded Brendan to press the button.

The evil teacher shrunk down to a cockroach. Wondering what the commotion was about, massive Mrs Watson quickly waddled in. Seeing the ugly insect on the ground she crushed it under her large shoe.

“Do you think Mr lewis is okay?” asked Frankie

“No guarantees” replied Jason.

Posted in fabo story, The Winners!

Sue’s FABO Report!

Thank you, Fabsters, for revving up your imaginations to finish the story starter. I was intrigued to see what you thought might happen when a lady in a funny old toy shop in a weird town told you to spin a globe which was clearly not going to be a normal globe. Where would you end up? The jungles of Africa? A Himalayan mountaintop? In fact, many of you ended up on desert islands with soft sandy beaches and turquoise sea. Could that be because we’re in the middle of winter?!

BUT, we also had: a planet where everything was the same yet different (Ella Stewart), Antarctica in the future (Finn Wescombe), inside the globe (Fatima Lefale), Dunedin in 1948 (Emma Shepherd), olde-worlde England (Maddie Mitchell), back to childhood (Mackenzie Carkeek), and the Titanic (Keziah). Oh yes, and Cole Wescombe landed on an island with a herd of buffalo, and also named the ‘weird’ town as Napier ☺.

Well done to those of you who included elements from the story starter in your writing. The toy shop owner, the sea serpents, Easter eggs and even pies were featured. Lucy Eastwood’s sea serpent appeared as a turquoise snake with curly horns, called Clarissa-Genevieve-Margaret-Elizabeth-Mary-May, and Indie Cowan’s was Falkor, the Luckdragon of Fantastica. I also liked Maia Wenham’s creepy button-eye dolls. Charlotte Rodgers-Foran gets an special mention for her truly scary and revolting serpent.

There was plenty of great descriptive writing. Keira Auden’s story featured an old lady with hair in “an unnecessarily tight bun”. Keira – I think I might just have to steal that for my next book! And Jade from Tauraroa School had the awesome line “Fairy tales go wrong” – but Jade, your lovely story was 1,348 words long. Hint: read the instructions!

Beginnings And Endings

A word about beginnings and endings. Your beginning needs to hook the reader in, and most of you nailed this. Straight into the action! Two fabulous beginnings were from Chelsea Young, whose story began: “I don’t know why I did what this woman told me to, it was a stupid idea. Maybe 13 is the age where you begin to do stupid things.” And Tatiana Austin, whose story began: “OK, so at first it sounds like a really idiotic thing to do, to spin a weird looking orb because a weird woman in a weird store in a weird town told you to. Man, I wonder why the result was weird.”

Now to endings. One of my favourite last lines came from Mackenzie Carkeek: “Well everyone must be a child one last time.” But, there were some riproaring stories that just fizzled out. Fabsters, we’ve told you before, we really like to know what happens in the end! How can you do this to us! Take a look at the winning entries to see how they have rounded off their tales. And something else we’ve mentioned before. Try and avoid the “Oh, it was a dream!” ending. Aim to be original. And think – if you got to the end of Harry Potter and found it had all been a dream, wouldn’t you be disappointed? The FABO judges are the same.

The Winners

And so, to my two winners! Yes, although I do have an overall winner, it was so close that I’m giving a second prize too.

The second prize goes to Peter Browne, from Otumoetai Primary School in Tauranga, whose spinning globe releases the serpents into the town, and he has to use his wits to outsmart them. Excellent beginning, plenty of action, a great ending and dollops of humour. Love it!

And the overall winner is … wait for it, wait for it … Mika, from Thighes Hill Public school, whose story had it all – superb descriptive writing, really creepy, and a great twist at the end.

I will email you two to let you know about your prizes.

Here are the two stories:

Mika’s story

The light was inexplicable. It tore away everything, blocking out all sound and vision. My throat was raw, my limbs paralyzed. Terror took hold of me, gripping my heart with icy fingers. I screamed, willing my legs to move, but nothing would come.

Nothing.

Something solidified under my feet. Solid ground. The earth beneath me was hard like rock, and had a strange, foreign feeling underfoot, almost bouncy.

As the vision returns to my eyes, I hear a raspy, terrifying voice choke out a feeble sentence, “But… Where… no…” My hand flies to my throat as I realize the voice was my own.

The scene around me is both horrifying and stunning. The land is perfectly flat, covered in long, wavy grass that goes up to my waist. To my left the land slopes downwards and meets the waterline. The waves soar above my head, crashing just metres away from me. I catch the salty spray on my tongue and pull away, scrambling into the grass. Briefly I remember the strange creatures that roamed the water on the globe. The sun suddenly becomes unbearable. The heat pelts down on the land. Sweat breaks out on my brow and I cringe. I raised my head and stared upwards. My heart skips a beat.

Above me, the sky is curved upwards, forming a glassy dome above me.

And behind the dome is the face of the store owner. Her grey hair surrounds her laughing face like a hood, her eyes peeking out from under her fringe of curls.
I am trapped, gone.

Nothing.

Peter’s story

As it spun, the brownish land and sea turned green and blue suddenly the sea serpents grew bigger and bigger and BIGGER! Finally, the serpents came to life! The serpents slithered out of the toy shop.

“I have to save Easter from the serpents, otherwise they’re going to wreck it!” I thought.

I sprinted out of the toy shop and into the town that really wasn’t a town. The serpents were already heading into a café. If I didn’t stop them the people in there would die then I would die to. I ran down the street and into the café.

When I reached the café the serpents had almost eaten their first meals! I needed to distract them. I grabbed the door and started swinging it open and shut. Well that got their attention, it worked really good … a little too good – now the serpents were after me, not the café people! I ran for my life (and for Easter).

I wondered about the old lady back in the toy store. Did she want this to happen? If she did then she’s going to pay for it.

“Snap out of it” I said to myself “Stop thinking and start running!”

Finally, I had an idea. If the sea serpents came to life when I spun the globe right, if I spun it left the sea serpents would go back in. “I’m a genius,” I thought, but did I spin it left or right? I’d forgotten. Well, I did just randomly spin it.

Suddenly I remembered that it was Easter! I ran down the road and into another café. Sure enough there were Easter eggs everywhere! Lucky me, I thought, so I asked the counter person if I could have some eggs. She said no, but when the serpents came in she gave me them all. I was chocolate rich, but this wasn’t for me it was for the serpents.

I ran out of the café holding the Easter eggs in my hand and screaming at the top of my voice. “Come and get it, you slimy sea monsters!” They soon followed me at supersonic speeds. If I couldn’t outrun them I’d have to outsmart them. So I dodged, jumped, and swerved until I’d almost tired them out. Finally, I could run to the toy shop.

When I reached the toy shop I found the lady asleep on the counter so I walked over to the globe. “Here goes nothing” I thought, and spun it … Sure enough the serpents got sucked back into the globe.

As for the old lady, she got sent to jail for the rest of her life. And, I was interviewed for breaking news on Channel 3.

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Finish Kathy’s Story And Enter The FABO Competition Now!

Children’s author Kathy White has come up with the start of a story – it’s called No Guarantees. She’d like you to finish the story in 500 words or less and submit it using the online form. Entries close 8pm Friday August 18th. No late entries will be accepted.

NO GUARANTEES

“I’m not doing it. You can’t make me.” Tyler gripped his placard tightly and stood his ground. Behind him, the other kids in Room 5 fell silent. Even the cockroaches in the jar on Mr Lewis’s desk stopped moving. A chair scraped on the lino, as Frankie stood up and crossed the classroom to stand behind Tyler. Brendan reluctantly followed her.

“Well, well. What have we here? The Three Musketeers?” Mr Lewis leaned forward to read Tyler’s sign.

NO ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS AT WOODLAND SCHOOL. BUGS ARE ANIMALS TOO.

Mr Lewis slurped on his tankard of coffee. “Is that right?”

Brendan started to answer, but Frankie nudged him sharply with her elbow.

Mr Lewis picked up the jar and shook it. The cockroaches bounced off the sides of the glass. “Don’t you want to make their legs twitch?”

Tyler swallowed. His mouth had gone dry.

Mr Lewis stared at them through the jar, one eye magnifying and shrinking in turn.

“No problem,” he said suddenly, placing the jar back on his desk. “We have lots of chewing gum that needs scraping off seats. Or maybe you can help Mr Lancaster with the rubbish for the next two weeks. Hmmm? Would you like that?”

Frankie screwed up her nose as if she could smell the bins already.

“There’s one other option, but the equipment hasn’t been used much lately.” Mr Lewis’s lips curled into a little smirk. He rubbed his hands together. “No guarantees.”

He tilted his head towards the door to the back room. “Shall we look?”

The fluorescent light in the back room flickered, revealing a jumble of jars and cabinets in a room with a long corridor. Cobwebs draped across piles of papers strewn with scribbled sketches. In the middle of the room was some kind of machine that looked like a telescope but with an eclectic mixture of switches and gauges and a huge dial with labels in another language.

“Wow, you’re into astronomy, Mr Lewis. I didn’t know.” Frankie leaned in closer and read the labels aloud. “Pusillus and ingens.”

“Pus sounds gross but I like engines,” Brendan grinned.

“It’s ingens,” Frankie repeated. “I think it’s Latin. Like in Harry Potter.”

“As long as it doesn’t have anything to do with those giant spiders, I don’t care,” Brendan said. “They freaked me out. I couldn’t even go on holiday to Australia after I saw that movie.”
“So what exactly do you want us to do?” Tyler asked.

The teacher pushed Tyler to a red circle that had been drawn under the skylight. He positioned him carefully and then beckoned to the others. “I just need to calibrate the machine. Can you three stand over here so I can adjust the focal range. It’ll only take a minute.”

The three friends huddled together while Mr Lewis made his calculations and adjusted his gauges.

Frankie nudged Tyler and whispered. “Doesn’t pusillus mean small?”

Tyler suddenly got the chills. “What is this machine, Mr Lewis?”

Mr Lewis closed one eye and squinted through the viewfinder one last time. They were perfectly in focus. Just perfect. He pushed the uppermost red button and smiled.

Finish the story on the FABO website now!