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ARVON TOTLEIGH BARTON SHORT STORY COMPETITION – WRITING TIPS

Do you go to school in Devon and love words? If so, then this one’s for you.

We’re looking for fiction stories from you of up to 500 words.

We will choose our favourite and announce it at Hatherleigh Festival on July 22nd.

Emma Carroll, who will be judging the competition and is a published writer, knows how hard it can be to make up worlds and write them down. She sent us some tips to help you start and finish your story in time for our deadline on May 26th. We look forward to reading your story immensely.

1) It’s best to focus on one vital scene – a discovery, an argument, a journey.

2) Think about the structure – there needs to be a definite start, moments of conflict and some sort of resolution by the end.

3) Consider how your main character grows or changes during the scene- do they gain knowledge, find something, feel something, change their mind, face a fear?

4) Don’t worry too much about the word count in the early drafts. When you do go in for the word cull look to cut adjectives, repetition, fillers in speech (little phrases we use that don’t really mean much like ‘How are you?’ and ‘you know what I mean?’, words like and, but, that, this that don’t add anything. Basically, be ruthless! Cut as much as you can without losing meaning.

5) Good luck! Writing is hard: writing a story in 500 words is a challenge.

~ Emma Carroll

To enter this competition, check out our submission page here.

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