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  • Writer's pictureJ.M.

A Writing Tournament!

I hadn't heard of a writing tournament until author William. J. Kite asked me to help out with his, which I'm so honoured to do. I think it's a fantastic idea – makes me think of knights on horseback with pens for lances.

The tournament’s inspired by The Border Reivers, skilled horsemen who terrorised the borderlands between England and Scotland for hundreds of years before unification in 1603 - pirates on horseback!

William’s own novel is all also inspired by the reivers. I've read excerpts and it's going to be a treat – atmosphere, action and peril wrapped up in a timeslip high stakes adventure. Sign up to his Newsletter for giveaways, publication and tournament updates and forthcoming stories in the world of The Border Reiver Chronicles.

The tournament's free to enter, If you're 8-16 years old, you can submit 50 to 500 words, a different piece every month if you like; it's a year long project. During the year, March '21 - March '22, selected entries will also be shared on Youtube. This is alongside the judging process and will have no bearing on whether or not these pieces end up in the final ten. It's another really nice thing about the tournament – it will be encouraging for those writers and at the same time encourage others to have a go.

Prizes on offer so far are publication in an anthology, work broadcast on Youtube and for the ten finalists, professional editing and the opportunity to resubmit for the final judging. This is all about encouraging young people to write and make stories, which is fabulous. When mental health has taken such a battering this last year especially, getting young people writing is a really good thing. I always feel tons more positive and able to cope with our world when I'm in a story. If only as a place to escape to!

Check out these great tips from published authors supporting the tournament . . .

Along with don't worry about it just write, Josh hit on my other favourite writing tip – ‘What are my characters going to do?’ For me great stories are all about action and not just big action like mad car chases, running into burning buildings or leaping off speeding trains but little ones too. For instance a character scratching their nose, drumming on the table with a pencil or reaching for a book. These are much easier and more interesting for readers to imagine that a character sitting or waiting or just being.

Cristy's tip is all about editing. The offer of editing is what makes the tournament unique. I can't think of another competition that offers editing and then the opportunity to resubmit. This is not the same as getting homework marked! Editing is about crafting and refining, making the story ideas the writer had when they sat down to write, shine through even brighter.

Stuck for what to write? Here's some inspiration from W.J.Kite and I learned a lot from this youtube channel about English Folklore.

You might notice Josh and Cristy's Aussie accents and that's because the tournament is truly international. It launches on March 27th in Scotland with the Hawick Border Reivers Festival, William J. Kite is a Geordie but living in Western Australia and the first round judges are from Australia, the UK, Canada and the US. The festival is obviously virtual this year take a look at the gallery from 2019 and that'll give you an idea. Love this picture from the site - click on it for some more great pictures of history being re-enacted

The the two finalist judges are the two Marks from The Bestseller Experiment Podcast my absolute favourite writing podcast and two of the nicest and most generous podcast presenters in the world! Check out their credentials . . .

Mark Stay is a Hollywood screenwriter (Robot Overlords with Ben Kingsley & a new horror movie coming from Warner Brothers soon), author of Crow Folk with Simon & Schuster and indie author of The End of Magic. Co-host of the Bestseller Experiment. 25 years in publishing industry.

Mark Desvaux Co-authored bestselling fiction (Back to Reality), is a bestselling musical artist (Urban Myth Club) and has built up the charity Foodshare, which teaches children to “Grow to Give”, producing home grown vegetables in schools. An entrepreneur and teacher, he is also co-host of The Bestseller Experiment.

I'm really looking forward to the round one reading – young people have the best ideas!

Please do share this with any young people you know!

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Sep 08, 2021

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