Congratulations to Roxanna Toyne and Olivia Hunt who were the gold prize winners in BBC Radio 2’s 500 words children’s story competition. You can read or listen to all the winning and shortlisted stories here. The thing that surprised me most about this competition was that they received over 90,000 entries!
When I was a child I was always making up stories for my own amusement but I can’t remember ever being encouraged to write fiction by my teachers or parents. The only creative writing I did at primary school was essays – we called them compositions – with uninspiring titles such as What I Did in the Holidays. I confess I sometimes made them a bit more interesting by adding some fiction!
I loved reading, but I think I assumed that the people who wrote all those stories lived on some remote planet. They certainly weren’t ordinary people like me – or anyone I knew. When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up (why do adults always ask children that impossible question?) it never occurred to me that being a writer was even an option.
It wasn’t until I was well and truly grown-up that I started to wonder if anyone else might be interested in my stories, and it still took several years of writing in secret before I plucked up the courage to show some of my work to a publisher.
I think it’s wonderful that not only are so many of today’s children producing imaginative and well-written stories, but they also have the confidence to share them. The only problem is that my ‘must read’ list is going to keep getting longer and longer!
How old were you when you decided you wanted to be a writer?