Top Tips for Entering Young Writers’ Competitions

9 of our top tips for young writers


You’re ready to get writing but before you do, consider our top tips to give yourself the best chance of success. Whether you’re entering the Kingsmead Book Fair’s Young Writers’ Competition or another competition, this should be your starting point.

  1. STICK TO THE WORD COUNT Be aware of how many words you have to tell your story. We don’t want to read overly long stories and you don’t want to end up rushing an ending because you ran out of word count.
  2. PLOT A BIT Decide on your topic. Brain storm ideas.  Be spontaneous and write down anything that comes to your mind.  Think of a basic beginning, middle and end.
  3. LET INSPIRATION GUIDE YOU It seems contradictory to the advice above, but do let yourself write as the story comes to you. Don’t get bogged down on plotting if you feel the story is writing itself.  It’s your first draft. You can edit afterwards.
  4. ASTONISH US. Write a story that either powerfully grabs us, makes us laugh, makes us think, entertains us or quietly moves us. Either way make us sit up and take notice of your style, your ability to craft words, your understanding of character and setting.  For younger age groups, just write a story and have fun with it. 
  5. EDIT EDIT EDIT Cut out words and story lines that clutter the story. Add in details that bring it alive.
  6. WAIT A BIT You’ve written a story and you think it’s pretty good or needs more work? Put it aside for a few days. Come back to it with fresh eyes. Rewrite if needs be. Make your last changes, give it a day to breathe and look at it again.
  7. LAST CHECK Make sure you’ve done spell check, proofread it, and make it look good.
  8. SEND IT IN! Make sure you’ve followed all the rules and send it to us. If you have more than one story in you, write another.  You are limited by three entries per person.
  9. KEEP WRITING No matter who wins, if you want to be a writer you have to keep writing and improving your skills.  If you’re not successful this time, you’ll be joining so many authors who had to wait for their chance to be published.  Just think of JK Rowling whose best selling Harry Potter books were rejected 12 times before a publisher agreed to buy them!


Read, read, read.  Get ideas, see how stories are structured, see what has already been written about and think of a way you can make your story different.

Need more tips? We have plenty – check these blogs out. 

If you want more information on the Kingsmead Young Writers’ Competition, read here. 




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