Here are the final results in the 2020 Young NZ Writers Secondary Student writing competition for Write Off Line: Scary Tales.
First Place: Disappeared by Denika Mead
Judges notes: Denika's writing shows a wonderful level of maturity. Her dialogue flows effortlessly, which is a talent in itself. Not only does her dialogue help tell this story, but it also helps the reader relate to the emotions, the fear, and the realization of the twist at the end. What a great way to end a short story. Wonderful job Denika.
Second Place: Funeral Flowers by Hazel Cook
Judges notes: This story was a joy to read. The use of metaphors blended seamlessly within the narrative. Hazel did a fantastic job setting up the character early and then bringing the title of the story full circle at the end. I also enjoyed the use of passing time via a countdown. This method worked well at building the tension as well as the anticipation that something was going to happen.
Third Place: Sludge by Hilary Smith
Judges notes: Hilary's story was such a fun read. I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh take on the monster in this tale. It had a unique way of making the reader both smile and be frightened at the thought of a toilet monster chasing me. It gives me the willies still. Great job at writing this little adventure in such an original way.
Highly Commended: The Forgotten Human by Nick Peterson
Judges notes: This dystopian sci-fi tale has great world-building. I definitely want to read more about Akechi. It is an imaginative and original take on a dystopian future. I could really see Akechi's story being expanded into something more.
Highly Commended: Last Month on Earth by Raeefah Ahmed
Judges notes: To tell a full story in a poem is a challenge, yet Raeefah accomplished it in this futuristic tale of hope, pain, and human survival. The choice of words and phrasing pulls the reader right in and strikes the core of the reader's heart. Anyone who reads this will instantly connect with the character. Put both the emotional response and personal connection together, and that is good storytelling. Great job, Raeefah!
Here are the finalist for this year's New Zealand Intermediate students short story competition.
First Place: The Watcher by Esther Scarlet
Judges notes: I was very impressed with Esther's story line and storytelling. She had me guessing right up to the end what was really going on. It was a very clever personification of fear/courage. She used wonderfully descriptive language to convey the turmoil of the earthquake and the story maintained a strong point of view. Great job, Esther.
Second Place: What Really Happens at the Canterbury A&P Show by Maria Walker-Kinnell
Judges notes: Maria's story had me laughing out loud – I'm guessing she had a lot of fun writing it. I would love to see cows playing frisbee! Her dialogue flowed well and carried the story. She did a great job of showing not telling, I loved the re-interpretation of Māori place names, too. Great ending. Well done, Maria.
Third Place: A Pinecone, a Rock, and a Very Big Hole by Orla Miller
Judges notes: I really enjoyed reading Orla's story. It was a very fun and original concept. Orla handled the internal dialogue very nicely. Good use of a series of 'disasters' to ramp up the tension and culminating in a great ending. I loved the tone of the story – of course everyone knows what happens when a Pinecone and a Rock meet. Duh! Well done, Orla!
Highly Commended: The Case of the Missing Dog by Malia Denny
Judges notes: Malia has created a clever story with the ending looping back nicely to the title. Switching between the two character's stories is handled well. We know whose head we're in. We feel the thief got what he deserved. Some beautiful metaphors. Well done in getting 'beyond belief' into the story, too! I think the plot could do with a few tweaks, but overall, great effort. Well done, Malia.
Due to the change in circumstances for all New Zealand schools, teachers, and students, we at YNZW are rethinking how to make the 2020 writing competition work for both students and teachers and still provide the best possible experience.
With the school holidays moved forward and into the 9th of April cut-off date for submissions, we thought it best to push the deadline for submissions to midnight 24th April 2020. Feedback will still be provided for all submissions as will picking stories to go into the yearly anthologies and stories for judging. Prizes and certificates will be sent in the mail.
Although we won't be able to provide a printed versions of the anthologies at this time, a soft launch is scheduled for 19th June when e-book versions will be available.
Updates will be posted on the website. Thank you for your cooperation and understa
Thank you for your interest in the YNZW's national yearly writing competition for NZ intermediate students.
All submissions must be received before midnight Friday 24th of April, 2020.
Please read competition details carefully and send submissions via Google forms HERE.
Thank you for your interest in the YNZW's national yearly writing competition for NZ secondary students.
All submissions must be received before midnight Friday 24th of April, 2020.
Please carefully read details of the competition an send submissions via Google Forms HERE.
I've always been a huge fan of strange stories with a twist. Growing up, I collected all the Analog and Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Digest magazines and devoured every anthology of weird tales in the library.
When I first started writing seriously, I submitted stories to every magazine that accepted stories from nobodies - and I still have a large box full of rejection cards in my closet to prove it. Whenever I'm asked to name my literary heroes, there's no room on my list for Booker Prize winners, because all the places are taken by masters of the weird, eerie, strange and spooky short story with a twist, like Theodore Sturgeon and Fredric Brown.
So it was such a pleasure to read these eerie tales written with such panache by budding young writers. It was such a difficult task to choose a winner. Like every judge, I have my own personal criteria when deciding what makes one story stand out from another. Ultimately, for me, it's the originality of the idea and, equally importantly, the clarity of the writer's voice.
Lauren Pryor's Scrape, scrape stood out for all the right reasons. It was the most atmospheric and spine-chilling of all the entries in the best tradition of the genre. It kept me hooked from the title to the last, lingering line that will likely give me nightmares for a while. The story is dripping with tension and skilfully transports the reader to an alien land. The writing is fluent with some lovely, colourful language - "...headed off into the rioting bush, the call of a blue-grey bird haunting in my ears." An imaginative tale creatively told and very well written.
Sam Thomson's The Chipolata story was an eerie tale told with confidence and attention to detail - "dusty dirt-covered jandals and bright green stubbies", for example, makes a character come to vivid life. The voice never faltered and the writing was very atmospheric, sucking the reader into the story. And, rather importantly for such stories, the ending sticks in your mind. "It might even be moving in and out. It might be that fresh."
Mathew Hall's The mystery of the Mabel Monster had me hooked from the first line - "There was something different about the wind in Picton that day." Like all good stories, the opening line is so important to hook the reader. This story certainly achieved that! The writer then skilfully kept me on the line with writing drenched with dramatic urgency - "Then, we saw it. The tide was coming in. It was rapidly rising."
A special mention also to Arlo Bruce's Recording Thirty-Five for its clever use of recordings and its overall creative structure.
Thanks to all the writers for sharing their stories.
Young NZ Writers in conjunction with Phantom Feather Press announces the national Young NZ Writers Youth Laureate Award, a free-to-enter programme intended to develop and publish a New Zealand student novelist.
Emma Uren for her novel 'It's a small world' and Editor's choice winner Xiaole Zhan for her novel 'The Extinct'.
Both young writers were mentored by award winning author Lee Murray and their novella-length manuscripts were published by Phantom Feather Press. The young writers also will received NZ$200 prize money and a bespoke cover for their work illustrated acclaimed Australian artist and author David Schembriwith overall design and layout by writer-designer Alicia Ponder.
The books will be launched at GeyserCon science fiction and fantasy conference in Rotorua on Queen’s Birthday Weekend at 4pm on Friday 31st of June 2019.
In addition, an exert of entries shortlisted for the laureate will be included in the 2019 anthology of secondary school writing - Something Strange happened in Rotorua, which will be launch at the same time. These include, The Werewolf's Knife by Isabella Frances-Moore, The L.O.C.K. Mystery by Sophie L. Troughton, The Evil in Money by Holly Smallwood, The Day's Eye by Faith O'Hagan, Loops by Russell Boey, Free By Emma Lamb, The Elf's Code by Denika Meade, and A Mother's Promise by Kyla Forbes-Kean.