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Uncommon Sense- a new competition for young writers

There is still time! Deadline: September 29 2023.

Issue 60 of Write On magazine is out now and it is full of wonderful writing. We noticed how many of our young writers use fabulous sensory detail - it is almost as if they have super senses! So we came up with a new challenge!


Write a super-short short story (up to 400 words) in which a character has a super sense.

How do they use their super sense?

Have they just discovered it or have they always had it?

How does this super sense affect them or impact others?

Enter your story in the Write On Uncommon Sense Story Competition by September 29 2023. Details and entry form are all here: COMPETITION DETAILS

Six tips to make your writing super and sensory

1. Start your story right at, or just before, the main event. You might know a lot of backstory for your character but you don't need to include it all in the final draft for the reader.

2. Reveal the super sense rather than telling us straight out. If you show us what they see and how they see it then you don't need to tell us they have super sight. If they have super hearing let the reader experience all the sounds too.

3. End your story as the character (or reader) realises something has changed. You don't need to wrap up all the loose ends. But also don't leave us thinking "What just happened?" Endings are tricky. Some of the best endings leave the readers saying "I should have seen that coming."

4. Your final draft of your story needs to be up to 400 words (not counting the title). Your first draft may be a bit longer as you get the story sorted in your head. When you redraft you can find ways to condense the story and give it more impact by cutting back.

  • Snip out any sentences that don't add a new idea.

  • Prune out any passages that are not necessary to understand and engage with the story- even if you like them!

  • Reduce words by using precise nouns and vivid verbs ( Then you won't need so many adjectives and adverbs)

  • Pull out little weedy words that take up space: eg: that, next, just, started to, but.

5. Use sensory language that shows rather than tells. Words such as lovely, beautiful, nice mean you are telling the reader what to think. Instead use sensory descriptions so that they can say 'that is beautiful' (or scary or disgusting) for themselves!

6. Redraft! That's a cool thing about writing- we have lots of chances to revise and rewrite to get the story into the best shape it can be. :)

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

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

  • Story Word Limit: 400 words

  • Ask a teacher or parent to read it over and give you some feedback.

  • Please format your work in size 12, Times New Roman, black.

  • No pictures or illustrations please - let your wonderful writing 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 ($5.00 per individual entry, or $25.00 for each 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 December 1 2023

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

Closing date: Friday September 29 2023

Winning entries will be published in Write On: Issue 61 Dec 2023. Winners will be contacted late November 2023

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

(c) Write On School for Young Writers, 2023

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