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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!

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Enter The New FABOstory Competition Now!

Children’s author Sue Copsey (author of The Ghosts of Young Nick’s Head, and The Ghosts Of Tarawera) is judging the next FABO competition. 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 4th. No late entries will be accepted.

Sue’s Story Starter

I wasn’t in the slightest bit happy when Mum said I was going to stay with Aunt Jules for the Easter holidays. Aunt Jules lives in a town Mum calls ‘quirky’ and I call weird. It’s not even a town, really. It’s just a place on the way to somewhere else. There’s a petrol station and a couple of cafes that Mum says are just like the ones she grew up with (which means only pies), and … nope. Can’t think of anything else.

So here I am, sitting on Aunt Jules’ sofa, coming to terms with dial-up internet. One good thing, though. Aunt Jules says there’s a toy shop, and she’ll give me money. She says the shop’s ‘curious’.

The bell dings as I open the toy shop door. It’s dark in here, so I get a bit of a fright when a little old lady pops up from behind the counter. She’s got frizzy grey hair and round glasses that twinkle.

“I bet you think this town is boring, eh?” she says. “You’d rather be somewhere else?”

I think this is a strange way to greet your customers. I told you this town’s weird. But before I can answer, she takes out something from under the counter. It’s a globe – an old-fashioned one with brownish land and sea, and scary looking sea serpents in the oceans.

“Spin it!” she says. So I do.

You can finish the story on the FABO website now!

Posted in fabo story, The Winner

Michele’s FaboStory Judge’s Report

Nice work Ninja netters! This week there were some stand out entries purely based on the level of description you guys are all working with. Paying attention to details really brings life to a story so well done. Special mention for this goes to Sienna Maia Smith for “the breeze closed the door behind us” and Catalina Addis for your “steel lion knocker made a thump as it hit the vintage wood”, Finn Wescombe of Aidanfield Christian School for his beetroot allergy details and Evie Wilkins from Woodland’s Park School, because, puppies! You all brought me into the scene of your story and made me believe I was there.

A huge shout out to all the entries at Saint Kentigern College in general this week. You all gave great attention to detail and made some seriously great ninja netting attempts. I particularly enjoyed how Holly Huges solved all the mysteries in the story starter and gave us a sense of place with the creeping cold of night. A big thumbs up to Saint Francis de Sales school too, particularly Jack Townsend for his awesome Ninja 101 dial up story. And finally great work to Island Bay school too, particularly Helena R, some fantastic entries this week.

One thing to remember is to pay attention to tense and point of view. There were a few stories that started out in present tense and then shifted to past tense – (I am catching the ninja – present tense) would change to (and then the ninja was caught and our jobs were done – past tense) for example. And there were a few where your narrator would start out in first person (I am going to catch a ninja) and then end up in third person (he crept up on the ninja and wrapped him with a net).

But this week’s overall winner was Larry McMyler! Larry, could you please contact Michele using the Contact form on this Website? You get to choose a book from this year’s New Zealand Children’s Book Award Shortlisted titles. You can all check them out by clicking here! Some of our Fabo Judges are among the shortlisted authors. Yay!

Larry did a great job of creating tension, pace and a setting that brought the story to life. Congratulations to everyone! A ninja job well done!

Michele

Read Larry’s story here

“Ninja net it is,” Ivan agreed. And so we began. Weaving, cutting, tying, we knew it would take time and hard work, but we believed it would pay off. And it did. Because after many hours, sitting out on the cracked, weed-strewn patio, we had ourselves a decent net. Now I say decent, not amazing, because sure, it would hold together, but maybe not under the strength of a fully grown man who has spent his whole life training in a secluded Ninja Dojo, hidden in a remote mountain range in Tokyo, training under the guidance of a 90 year old man who can arm-wrestle anyone into the ground. But yeah, decent enough. Once we had finished the net, Ivan decided we should scout out our target first. But first, we needed camouflage. So after a few minutes of searching the Invention Potential Pile, we had found two beanies which were long enough to cover our faces. We then cut three holes, two for the eyes, and one for the mouth.

“Tonight, at seven, we will disappear into the night, and our target will be in our sights,” Ivan said in a deep, raspy voice. Then he pulled his makeshift mask over his face, and dived behind the couch, knocking over the reading lamp.

“Alright, Batman,” I said, rolling my eyes.

So that night, after a lot of explanation to my parents, we met up at the letterbox at the end of Mrs. Gilinsky’s driveway. Mrs. Gilinsky, our neighbor, always kept her dog inside its enclosure, for fear of people feeding it anything outside its strict diet of only the best dog roll. The dog, a cocker spaniel with long silky fur, attracted a lot of attention with the local children.

“So did you bring the net,” Ivan inquired.

“Sure did,” I answered, producing the net from my schoolbag, “Where will we hang it?”

“From the tree by the doorway,” came the reply after much consideration. And so we fastened the net so that it hung from a branch of the Pohutukawa that stretched across the yard.

“And now we wait,” I said, once the job was done.

“Yup.”

We waited for about ten minutes patiently, then just as we were about to pack up and head home, a figure leaped over the fence. We retreated to our hiding place, behind the recycling bin, and watched the mysterious trespasser. The child, he or she was definitely a child, and was, by an estimate of height, about the age of eight. They seemed to be walking gingerly towards the dog kennel. But just before they could make it to the kennel, they got caught up in the net. A voice, the voice of a young boy, cried out in shock.

“Benjamin?” I called out to my brother, revealing our hiding place.

“George!” Ben replied. A light turned on in the house, Mrs. Gilinsky must have heard us.

“Come on guys!” Ivan whispered, pulling us behind the bin. And just in time as well. Mrs. Gilinsky was just opening the door. She spent some time looking out onto the yard.

“Pesky possums,” she said in a shrill voice.

When we made it back home, we took off our muddy shoes and went into the living room.

“Where have you lot been?” said Mum.

“Ninja hunting,” I replied with a smile.

Posted in Prizes!, The Winner

Melinda’s FABO Report For The Competition Ending June 9

It is wonderful to see so many of you participating in Fabostory, even from as far afield as Canada (Hi Ella!). We received 67 entries for this challenge. Wow! Good effort, people!

It was really interesting to see several of you take the story in an Alice in Wonderland direction with cakes saying ‘eat me’ and drinks saying ‘drink me’ and odd doors and special keys.

There was some terrific writing although sometimes it was let down by the lack of an ending. It is true that good endings are hard to come up with, but there are other ways to finish a story in a satisfying way, even if you can’t figure out a resolution. Please, please make sure you check your story for mistakes, correct punctuation (are there enough full stops and commas), consistent tenses and that it is complete before you submit it. Some wonderful stories had too many mistakes which meant I marked them down.

There were many lovely images and ideas – like this from Maddie Mitchell at Raumati Beach School, “Great,” I thought. “Now I have a chance of getting strange-looking-vine-from-tree-o-thermia.” And Fear hung in the air like a thick mist from Maia at Carmel College. My feet vacuumed me down like I was getting pulled down a plug hole, by Maddie at St Cuthberts and Jake Richards at Upper Moutere wrote – the forest had eaten us.

I liked Vaya and Laela’s (Sunnynook Primary) idea of the children being in a video game. Charlotte Ng Waishing from St Cuthberts created a very interesting world of sweets trapping Maria and her friends. It was cool how intasab Zohra from Sunnynook Primary linked this story with the previous challenge, and how Natalie Lamb from St Cuthberts wrote the story as a police procedural.

Rosie Shiu from St Cuthberts had an interesting approach with the forest having a Dark Side and a Bright Side. The story by Indie Cowan from Cambridge East School was well paced and had some great action. Amber Wastney from Upper Moutere had a fresh, original idea for her story using mirrors.

Alex B from St Cuthberts had some lovely language – My heart was pounding like a piston, and, I blow the evening zephyr a kiss.

I loved these lines from Mackenzie Carkeek from Carmel College – ‘Are​ ​we​ ​seriously​ ​going​ ​to​ ​do​ ​this​ ​you​ ​know​ ​how​ ​it​ ​always​ ​ends​ ​in​ ​action​ ​movies’​ ​said​ ​Josh​ ​in​ ​a worried​ ​tone, and, ​the​ ​air​ ​was​ ​still​ ​a​ ​nose​ ​burning​ ​stench.

Jade from Clevedon School had a really intriguing story with chapters. And I loved the idea that the world was ‘degravitised’ in Leah Joy Werner’s (Upper Moutere School) story.

I liked Julita Seumanutafa’s (Carmel College) use of ‘voice’ – All these questions popped up in my head like, “What was I supposed to tell her parents?, especially her mum she would probably bite my head off.

If I just told her that Maria’s feet just disappeared, she would have asked me if it was her daughter’s feet that had vanished or whether it was my mind that I had lost.
And also Lola Wood at Raroa Normal Intermediate – Crawling through talking bushes isn’t exactly where I excel…

Grace Chisnall and Rosa Kelly both from Upper Moutere School had some great over all writing as did Annabel O’Rourke from Carmel College, Rebecca from Northcote Intermediate, Julia Wilkins from Willow Park School, and Cole Wescombe from Aidanfield Christian School.

My runners-up for this challenge are Ella Ava Bruce Sievert from Verran Primary, Nathan Stacey from Churton Park School and Finn Wescombe from Aidanfield Christian School. Great writing folks!

I have a special prize this week for Marlow Cornish from Taupaki School who is new to the story writing business but who impressed me with his vivid and cool ideas. Well done Marlow! Keep up the good work.

And finally, drum roll please …. The winner of this challenge is Anita Lese from Ellerslie Primary with great poetic language and a smart twist. You can read her story below. Congratulations Anita!!

Marlow, please could you email your postal address to me at melinda@tale-spin.com so I can send out your prize (or I can forward it to your school if you prefer). Anita, Tania is going to send your prize and has already emailed you.

Anita Lese’s Story

Her shriek morphed into a nail, and drilled itself into our memories. We retreated as a pack, shins scraping against bare bush, hearts pumping under our blazers. With our fear came sweat, penetrating the safety of our group.

I struggled forward searching for any changes to the scene. A puddle of dry mud encasing a pair of sneakers met my eyes.

A rustle of dead leaves reminded me of my companions. As if acting to cue, a hand squeezed my shoulder. I turned my head and saw the worried face of my friends. “Are you going in?” Rosie questioned, voice crackling with fear. The crackles turned into a roaring fire. The squeeze of my shoulder was a way of releasing nerves. I am the brave one. They are a shaky building, and I am their supports.

With new authority I nodded and threw my now undesirable bag over my shoulder, along with my strangling tie which flew through the air, then nestled around my discarded bag. One by one they followed suit. “You don’t have to.” I said. “We know.” Replied Charlotte and they continued to copy me.

Panting heavily in anticipation, we jumped into the great unknown. Our brains were radios all tuned to the same station. The ‘Save Maria’ station.

Everything was dark. Our eyes drifted around, searching left, right and centre. Searching for clues. Maria. Light. There was nothing.

Suddenly a light formed and slowly grew into a sun, we laid back relying on the sun’s familiar rays to calm us. A burning sensation in every spot the sun touched us was our repayment.

Faster than a wink something was sprouting from our shoulder blades and spreading to our fingertips. Wings.

The fear was back, eating our insides. Coursing through our blood. Lungs yearned for air, but mouths wouldn’t open. Once again, the fear led to sweat. It was sliding sloppily down my brow.

Animal like whimpers escaped Charlotte and Rosie’s mouths. Their worries gave me strength, reminded me I was the supports. I must stay calm. I pointed to the sun, then indicated my wings. Luckily they understood my wild gestures and each clasped my hands.

With that simple act our lungs opened, letting in fresh oxygen. Clearing our minds from any worry. We rose up, uncertainly flapping our wings. Could we trust these wings? With everything that had happened would this be a blessing? A curse?

The air was alive with the sound of our flapping wings. We were doing it, soaring high above the ground towards the sun. The wings were trustworthy, no hoax.

A sneaker patterned limb waved in front of my face. Maria. I clutched her leg and pulled her along with us.

“We escaped. We survived.” I tell the teacher. But she doesn’t believe me, she just gives me the knowing look only a teacher can give. Maybe that excuse was a little too crazy. Next time I’ll just do my homework.

Or stick with the classic, “The dog ate it.”

Posted in Enter Now, fabo story

Enter The New FABO Competition!

Judging the next competition is author Michele Powles. To enter the competition, just finish her story in 500 words or less and submit it using the online form. Good luck!

Instructions

Read Michele’s story starter and then finish the story any way you like. Your entry must be submitted by 8pm Friday 23rd June. No late entries will be accepted.

Michele’s Story Starter

Ivan and I had planned to make a net after school. We hadn’t been able to agree what it would be for, but we had agreed that making a net was the best use of the ten balls of orange and red yarn that we’d found in the cupboard under the stairs.

“You asked your mum if we could use it?” Ivan asked me for the tenth time. His mum keeps everything, like Every. Thing. They even have a pile of stuff in the corner of their lounge that they all call the Invention Potential Pile. It’s cool, even if it’s a bit weird. I mean, I don’t know what you would be able to turn broken dolls and an old fan into, but that’s what’s at the top of the pile at the moment.

“She said it was fine,” I said to Ivan. Actually, she said, “knock yourself out.” But I didn’t say that to Ivan. He takes things literally and I didn’t want to answer endless questions about how we were supposed to knock ourselves out and still make a net.

“Cool,” said Ivan. “So, a fishing net, or a ninja net?”

“Definitely a ninja net. There aren’t any fish in the river at the moment.”

“There aren’t any ninjas either,” said Ivan. It was true. We had been hunting ninjas for the last term and hadn’t found any. But I was sure there were some in our neighbourhood. Who else would be leaving muddy footprints on Mrs. Gilinsky’s door step every Thursday night? Or taking all the black socks from Mum’s washing line each week?

“We’re making a ninja net,” I said with a sharp nod of my head. “Fishing nets are too easy.”

Finish the story here!