Budding Blue Coat Writers: 500 words for Prizes!

Last year, I volunteered to be a shortlisting judge in the Chris Evans 500-word story competition for children. I am glad to see that the competition has been run this year too for all children under 14 years of age. As a judge I was afforded a valuable insight as to the quality of writing that is submitted in these types of competitions and it made me think, "Blue Coat children should enter this - we'd be in with a good chance!"

The BBC website sets out all of the guidelines for entering the competition, but the remit is simple: write a 500-word (or less) story about anything you like and, as long as you're aged 13 years or under AND have the permission of you parents, submit it to the BBC via the electronic form on the BBC website to be in with a chance of winning.

Plot, characters, setting, ending and of course spelling and accuracy of sentences are all key criteria once the judges get their hands on your stories. But most of all, having read so many stories in a short space of time, it's the ones that stand out with that extraordinary twist that grabs the judge's attention and makes them think 'wow!' that will have the best chance of being shortlisted. Children, try to steer clear of the usual story settings and 'it-was-all-a-dream' style endings - the judges are looking for something unpredictable, clever and a little bit shocking.

Take a look at the 50 best entries from 2011 to give you some idea of the competition and what caught the judges' eyes.

I know that some of the Year 5/6 pupils have been using the blogs to limber up for this competition, but let's try to get some stories from across the entire school to show just how talented our children are!  Good luck everyone!