The quality of the entries was very good. The winner and the commended stories were of a very high standard. I found difficulty in choosing a commended story. Those whose stories are shortlisted have high potential as creative writers.
Many writers had an imaginative story line and fell down when they didn’t deliver with tight writing. Plots were extremely varied – some historical, most present day and many futuristic. I read about themes of loneliness, depression, friendship, hope, resilience, betrayal and love.
Here are some areas where you can improve your story telling:
- Don’t annoy the judge by sending your story in a non-approved format. I had great difficulty opening two stories.
- Make sure your story has an ending. Three stories just stopped. Another stopped mid-sentence. If your story is not complete, don’t enter it. A couple of incomplete stories showed promise with very good writing style in the first paragraphs
- You don’t need to write 2,500 words (Sections 1 & 2 for example). That is the maximum. Several stories rambled, extending the story unnecessarily. Make sure that each event moves the story along.
- Show, don’t tell! Create the action rather than describe it. Put the characters into the events and have them speak. Use dialogue with a new paragraph for each new speaker and punctuate correctly.
- Be sparing with adjectives and adverbs. Make your similes and metaphors original. Avoid clichés. Use colour, smell, touch and sound to enhance your descriptions.
- Check your punctuation. Avoid ‘run-on’ sentences. If there are two separate ideas, they should form two separate sentences. Use a full stop, not a comma.
- Don’t forget to start a new paragraph when the subject changes.
- Take care not to change tenses mid story. Choose a tense and stick to it unless you have a very good reason to change the time setting.
- Avoid passive voice. Who or what is creating the action? Make them the subject of the sentence.
- Avoid starting sentences with ‘ing’ participles. ‘Subject, verb, predicate’ is a safe sentence order e.g. John gave the book to Kate and he smiled at her.
The very best story of the entire competition came in Section 4 – from among the youngest entrants.
RESULTS: Hilarie Lindsay Competition 2021
Section 1 Years 11–12
‘The Voice of Nothing’, Nathan Mackrill, Barker College NSW
‘Heart of the Shadow’, Cooper Kahui-Chee, Marist Catholic College NSW
‘What is a Villain Without their Hero’, Jasmine Crofts, Northlake Senior Campus WA
‘Lost in Time’, Minethra Epa, Somerville House QLD
‘A Nightmare is just Hell Being Shy’, Kieran Beridge, TIGS NSW
‘Colour Theory’, Jane Pekin, Camberwell Girls Grammar VIC
‘Azadeh’, Hana Jamali, St Ives High School NSW.
Section 2 Years 7–10
‘Decomposition’, Amelie Jenkins, St Scholastica’s College NSW
‘This One was Different’, Alexandra Roberts, Mosman High School NSW
‘Overpowering Flawlessness’, Denisse Lopez Garza, Mount Lilydale Mercy College VIC
‘The Bridge’, Lily Stabler, St Mary’s Catholic College Gateshead NSW
‘Snow in Belzec’, Phoebe Paleologos, Pymble Ladies College NSW
‘The Way We Say Goodbye’, Ashleigh Faulkner, St Mary’s Anglican Girls School WA
‘A Labyrinth of Thorns and Branches’, Emma Galvin, Braemar College VIC
‘Once in A Lifetime Trip’, Alexandra Rossiter, St Scholastica’s College Glebe NSW.
Section 3 Years 5–6
‘To a Better Future’, Rachel Theresia, Abbottsleigh Junior School NSW
‘The Chosen One’, Sophie Morse, St Joseph’s Corinda QLD
‘Where Do I Stand?’, Skylar He, New Lambton South Public School NSW
‘Free’, Abbie Houston, Cable Beach Primary School WA
‘Courage takes Fear’, Laura Mac, Ashfield Public School NSW
‘Pigs Might Fly’, Hazel Mazza, Home Educated VIC
‘Worthless’, Rochelle Tao, Artarmon Public School NSW
‘The Elephant’, Jingyi Soon, Methodist Ladies College VIC
‘Coconut and the Thief of Food’, Flynn Plumley, Brighton Beach Primary VIC.
Section 4 Years 2–4
‘When He was Here’ *Best Entry in Competition*
Astrid Esslinger, Austinmer Public School NSW
‘Naughty Boy’, Jason You, Roseville Public School NSW
‘The Same Blue Sky’, Eloise Imkoff-Keogh, Armidale Primary VIC
‘Little Bundles of Joy’, Lucy Bacaller, Pearcedale Primary VIC
‘The Robber’, Ethan Rumley, Townsville Grammar Junior School QLD
‘The Day I Fell into a Book’, Svara Mutalithas, Somerset College QLD
‘The Dinomore Boy’, Adviti Menon, Oatlands Primary VIC
‘The Present’, Esther Li, Pymble Ladies College NSW.