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On A High Note- a new competition for young writers

Time to write some lyrics for a great new song referencing some aspect of life in Aotearoa New Zealand.

On a High Note Lyrics Competition

Have you ever tried writing a song?

2024 is the 75th anniversary of the first wholly New Zealand-made record, ‘Blue Smoke’.

Your challenge is to write song lyrics that refer to Aotearoa New Zealand in some way.

You do not have to put your lyrics to music but if you are a winner then we will be in touch to discuss the possibilities of recording your song!

Details and entry form are all here: COMPETITION DETAILS

UPDATE: Following a request from young writers we have decided to allow collaboration for this competition! Please enter all collaborator's names. But there is still only one prize- you will need to share.

Two winners in each age group will receive a $30 Scorpio Books Voucher.

Six tips to make your lyrics sing!

There are many different ways to start songwriting- you could start with the music or with the lyrics- you might even have both arrive at the same time. For this competition, we are only interested in the words- the lyrics.

1. Look at Lyrics Read the lyrics of some of your favourite songs. Look at how they are structured. See what techniques the lyricist has used - you might try to use some of these in your work.

2. Use your perspective We love reading work from young writers that nobody else could have written! Use your personal experiences to inspire the song. One idea is to describe an event in the first verse and then describe how it affected you or made you feel in the second verse.

3. Verses and Choruses

You should have enough room in 24 lines or fewer to write 2 or 3 verses and a chorus.

The chorus is repeated so it should be simpler than the verse and easy to remember.

The verses should progress what it is you want to say.

4. Don't sweat it

Writing lyrics might be something new to you and good writing usually takes time- you may need to redraft your lyrics more than once. That's a cool thing about writing- we have lots of chances to revise and rewrite to get the lyrics into the best shape they can be.

One hint is that if you can't quite figure out how to say what you want within a particular line, jot down the gist of it and move on to another part of the song - you can come back to it later.

5. Experiment with rhythm- rhyme is sometimes secondary.

Not all songs need to have a strong rhyming structure but the rhythm of each line is important. Tap out the lines to a beat.

Rhyming can tangle you up into using words that don't say what you really want. Half rhymes and near rhymes are just fine. No rhyme is fine too!

6. Have fun with the 'sounds' of words

The sound of each word becomes more pronounced when sung rather than spoken. Think about how your words flow off the tongue, or add a staccato effect, or string together.

Write On - Competition Submission Guidelines, Terms and Conditions

Please read the competition guidelines, terms and conditions below.

  • All submissions must be via our online form using the ENTER NOW on this page.

  • Please take a moment to check your writing- is it your very best work?

  • Song Word Limit: 24 Lines ( This should allow for at least two verses and a chorus)

  • You do not have to put your lyrics to music but if you are a winner then we will be in touch to discuss the possibilities of recording your song!

  • Please format your work in a size 12 simple font.

  • No pictures or illustrations please - let your wonderful lyrics create the pictures.

  • Please make sure the title of your entry is at the top of your page.

  • All entries will be judged blind, so please do not include your name or school on your entry.

  • Work can be entered as .doc or .pdf files only.

  • Please make sure you pay your entry fee. This goes towards paying the judges. We are a charitable organisation. Please pay your entry fee ($6.00 per individual entry, or $30.00 for every six entries from a school to our Bank Account: The School for Young Writers 03 1704 0036137 000 Code: Your surname (individuals) or your school’s name (groups) Reference: COMPETITION). Schools with multiple entries may request an invoice.

  • No simultaneous submissions - please don’t send your writing to another publication or competition until after May 30 2024

  • If you are selected as a winner we may make small edits before publication.

Closing date: Friday, April 26 2024

Winning entries will be published in Write On: Issue 62 June 2024. Winners will be contacted in late May 2024

No correspondence will be entered into. The judges’ decision is final.

(c) Write On School for Young Writers, 2023


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