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Halloween Creative Writing Competition

25 October 2019

Spookily creative, students from key stages 3 and 4 submitted short stories to mark Halloween. Staff were so impressed with the range of talent, and dismayed at having to choose a winner, we ended up awarding five prizes- and wish we could have awarded more!

"Each of the five winners demonstrated a different set of skills, from compelling manipulation of structure to an evocative use of imagery, and original plot ideas. What they each share is a truly distinctive individual 'voice' and the potential to captivate their readers."


Miss Hawker

Prizes were awarded to the following students:

FIRST PLACE: Poppy Gillam (Year 8)

Poppy demonstrated a skilful use of imagery and structure. Here is a sample of her story:
'Cold. A cold breath struck me like a lightning bolt, shattering my heart like a glass bowl. This was the night I dreaded.
It was 7.30 am. A Siberian breeze lingered in the air. I locked my eyes onto this sight in front of me: forest. It felt like I was running across an eternal bridge. Oblivious that the sun was going down, I kept running.'

JOINT SECOND PLACE: Olivia Kirby-Davies (Year 8) and John Evans-Richardson (Year 10)
John skilfully uses dialogue to open his story, placing the reader at the centre of the action. In the tradition of the horror genre, he utilises a familiar setting coupled with a sinister tone, in order to further unsettle his readers:
'"Run. Run, you're it," shouted George. "Fall in!" shouted a voice from the distance. All at once a herd of scouts of all ages came rushing towards this daunting voice. It was the first night of summer camp; tonnes of scouts were waiting motionless for this.'

Olivia successfully creates a distinctive narrative voice from the outset of her story. It gives an impression of a beguiling storyteller, preparing to share a secret with the reader:
'Slowly, Tori, Ami and Sam paced down the street, stopping by occasionally at the Apleasing house. But at some point they must have made a wrong turn because now they were on a gloomy and misted street that was unfamiliar to the trio.'

THIRD PLACE: Lilly (Year 8)

Lilly has a narrative voice that would be perfect for a younger reader; it is concise and somewhat lyrical, reminiscent of the genius of Janet and Allen Ahlberg.
‘One day, on the 31st of October, the devil came to say hello to the little boy who lived with perfect parents. But little did he know, when he opened a book, thousands of millions of people- not ordinary people, but clowns, witches and zombies- rose from the dead to give him the worst treat you will ever think of.’

Poppy, Olivia, John and Lilly all went home with a pumpkin full of sweets.

FOURTH PLACE: Lailah Rae Rivers Boyden (Year 9) 

Lailah has made a superb effort to imagine the world of her characters, the Brown family. She uses dialogue and description for characterisation, as demonstrated in this extract:
‘As they stepped inside, it was like stepping into another world. “Hello. Can I help you,” said an old woman. Amy spun around, shocked to see someone behind her. The old lady wasn’t like your typical old lady; she had jet blue hair, her face holding millions of wrinkles and whiskers. Surprisingly, her clothes were not beige, but they were black. The old lady looked somewhat familiar, a bit like the someone at her window a few days ago.’

Lailah went home with some spooky chocolate.

The next creative writing competition has a deadline of Friday 8th November. The task is to write a minimum of three descriptive (not narrative) paragraphs about a bonfire night. It is open to all in Key stages 3 and 4. Entry to Miss Hawker. See Miss Hawker, also, for hints and tips for success.