Opportunities for young writers!

Now that exams are over, you might be in search of something to do with all that free time you have from not studying. While being on Facebook, or watching yet another episode of your favourite TV show after telling yourself you would stop a few hours back sounds appealing, you could also be doing something else.

Have you ever thought that you could come up with a better storyline than what was used in that book you read, or that movie you watched? Do you want the chance to win some money? If your answer to these questions are (obviously) ‘yes’, then you might want to consider entering the BNZ short story competition, one of the biggest writing competitions in New Zealand. They have a category especially for secondary students, if you want to have a go. It’s free to enter and so you have nothing to lose. As strange as this may sound, you don’t necessarily have to be a good writer to write a good story – you might not have the best vocabulary or the ability to use elaborate imagery, but if you have a fun idea or a message you want to share then you don’t need to doubt yourself. If you didn’t know, Macleans College has a Writer’s Club, and each member is encouraged to enter this competition. Why not join them by writing a story of your own?

If writing a story up to 2000 words seems daunting, or if you are just lazy, you could have some fun with the short short story category which requires a maximum of 150 words. It’s not that hard to write what is literally a paragraph, and you can enter through Facebook. Not to mention, if you are the lucky winner you get $500 for writing down a few sentences!

On the other hand, if you have too much to say and your creativity cannot be contained within a few thousand words, then there are more writing opportunities to come. Ever heard of NaNoWriMo? If you have, you would know that it isn’t a word from some foreign or alien language, but ‘National Novel Writing Month’. This is usually in November each year, when you can sign up and aim to reach 50,000 words in one month. However, there is one coming up in July, and you can join the virtual Camp NaNoWriMo and share your progress as you write the next Harry Potter or Twilight or choose to ramble on about the topic of your choice until you reach that 50,000 word limit. It won’t be the best piece of literature given that you only have a month to write it, but writing the novel itself could be a fun process.

Detailed information about the BNZ short story competition and NaNoWriMo can be found here:




Put pen to paper, or hands to keyboard, and get writing!

Article by Su Young Lee.

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