Unsolved |
Creative Writing Competition

11-18 Years

Unsolved Video

Unsolved - every sentence counts!

Enthral imaginations with creative writing as young writers create their own mini saga!

'Unsolved' invites your students to write a mini saga (a story told in just 100 words) inspired by the crime & mystery genre.

Will they fight for justice? Take on the role of detective in an enthralling whodunit? Or embark on an adventure as a fugitive?

Create a buzz in your English lessons as your students get excited to write!

There's a fun 1-minute video to introduce your students to the activity, plus a students' info guide and worksheet, and we've even got virtual classrooms covered with options such as the Word Doc version of the entry form and the Online Writing Portal - simply login or create your free teacher account at www.youngwriters.co.uk/teacher



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Rules

To make sure your entries are valid, please follow the rules listed below:

  • Only one entry per student, there is no limit to the number of entries per school.

  • Mini sagas can be on the entry form or an A4 sheet of paper or typed.

  • Mini sagas must be your students' own work.

  • Ensure that all students include their name and age on their entries.

  • Mini sagas must be told in no more than 100 words (the title isn't included in this).

  • Independent entries are welcome - please provide your home address details instead of the school's.

  • Where possible, the school to send / upload / email all their students' entries to us.

  • Story starters are optional but if used must be included in your students' word count.

If you are unsure on any rules or have any queries, please don't hesitate to Contact Us.

For Schools

1st Prize

The Young Writers' Award of Excellence and an awesome book bundle

2 x Runners-Up

A framed certificate and an awesome book bundle 

School winners will be chosen from entries received in the 2020/2021 academic year.

For Students

Our 5 favourite published writers will each with £100 and a trophy!

Winners are chosen from entries received in the Summer Term 2021 and announced in the Autumn Term 2021.

Online

Send your entries by uploading them:

Enter Now

Enter through our student writing portal:

Writing Portal

Alternatively, you can email your entries to [email protected].

By Post

Send your entries, along with your school entry form, to:

FREEPOST RSLY-AUJA-RAHY
Young Writers SS
Remus House
Peterborough
PE2 9BF

Writing Tips


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Tip #1

Take advantage of all the free online resources - ideal for both remote & classroom learning!

There’s a video that introduces the activity to your students in just a minute!

A fun activity sheet that has 4 different scenarios to help your students think about character, setting and plot.

A students’ info sheet – a handy guide to the competition suggested by our expert panel of teachers!

A PowerPoint presentation so you can run the activity in a real or virtual classroom!

All these can be downloaded here.

Tip #2

Writing a story in 100 words is a challenge, so simplify the plot to keep them on track...

A crime is committed
Clues are examined
Suspects interviewed
The culprit is revealed

Your students can focus on one area, such as writing about the crime or perhaps be a detective pondering a tricky clue and working it out so the culprit is revealed in the last sentence. They could focus on the culprit, perhaps an internal monologue of their thoughts, or their explanation for their crime.

Tip #3

Create an anti-hero!


It’s a great plot twist to throw in an anti-hero and cause a moral dilemma. The anti-hero solves a problem but not by conventional or moral means.

Tip #4

Plot twist... make a location the character!

Ideas

- A prison
- A smugglers’ den
- A police station
- Somewhere familiar

Your students can write about the location rather than an actual crime/mystery or person. It’s a fun way to explore another writing viewpoint.

Tip #5

Remind your students what active and passive voice are:

In a sentence written in the active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action. In a sentence written in the passive voice, the subject receives the action.

Active Voice Example: Jack posted the blackmail letter.

Passive Voice Example: The blackmail letter was posted by Jack.

The passive voice tends to use more words and in a mini saga, where every word counts, this isn't ideal! The active voice tends to be more direct, and the passive voice can be more mysterious so the reader has to work harder.

Which will your students choose to write in?

Tip #6

To write a classic ‘whodunnit’ you’re going to need:
A victim
A crime
Some suspects
Someone to reveal the truth

Remember, you also don’t want to reveal too much too soon! Your job as a crime/mystery story writer is to keep the reader guessing until the end, so maybe a red herring too… That might sound a lot to fit into 100 words, but word choice, vocabulary and key info will ensure you can do this.

Next week’s tip looks at the hook, and introduces you to “An Act Of Murder” – Young Writers’ mini saga that shows you how to build up your story and we hope you find the title intriguing…

Tip #7

A narrative hook is a literary technique in the opening of a story that 'hooks' the reader's attention so they keep on reading. The hook is ideally the opening sentence.
Here are a few examples:
“Marley was dead, to begin with.” (A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens)
“All children, except one, grow up.” (Peter Pan – JM Barrie)
“Mother died today.” (The Stranger – Albert Camus)

“An Act Of Murder” by Young Writers

She was killed on stage.

The first line ‘She was killed on stage’ takes you straight to the action. We have a victim, a crime, and a location. No long description or set up, just straight in. So then, who killed her, how, and why?

Find out in next week’s tip as we explore writing the beginning of a mini saga.

Tip #8

After the narrative hook, your mini saga needs a strong beginning. With just 100 words there isn’t room for a big build up, so get straight to the point. Look at the story starters. Can you see how they dive into the action?

 “An Act Of Murder”

 She was killed on stage.

 The leading man, Alfie Jacks, did it of course, but who’d swapped the prop knife for a real one?

 In this second line we find out how she was killed – stabbed by accident by the lead actor, because someone had swapped the prop knife! So we’ve got the introduction to the story all mapped out.

 Notice how there isn’t much description – the reader will know what a theatre looks like, and we’ve given them the information that there is a man and a woman. They can fill in the details themselves – let them use their imaginations! So then… whodunnit? Find out more next week when we explore characters.

Tip #9

“An Act Of Murder” already has the victim, an actress. We also have a suspect – the lead actor Alfie Jacks. Now we introduce a third character, the detective, who is also the narrator.

What characters do you plan to have in your mini saga? With only 100 words to write it, don’t go overboard on characters as you’ll struggle to give them a big enough role and they’ll eat up your word count! Use strong adjectives rather than long descriptive sentences.

“An Act Of Murder”

She was killed on stage.

The leading man, Alfie Jacks, did it of course, but who’d swapped the prop knife for a real one?

I arrived promptly, the body still warm, and gathered the suspects. “Mr Jacks, it was you. The victim had recently rejected you, so you concocted this plan, hoping nobody would believe you’d commit murder in front of a live audience!” An officer arrived and cuffed him, ignoring his pleas of innocence.

The latest story installment doesn’t show any other suspects – unfortunately we haven’t got enough words to add in more, but just having the detective ‘gather the suspects’ tells the reader to add in a few more people, even if they don’t actually appear in the text.

Then the narrator/detective reveals the killer – it was Alfie Jacks after all! A fourth character, the officer, is shown but only as a device to handcuff and arrest the murderer.

It is possible when using the first person narrator to show them making mistakes or having flaws – they are a character to remember. Alfie Jacks is still saying he’s innocent, so has our detective got this one wrong…?

Get In Touch

Post
FREEPOST RSLY-AUJA-RAHY
Young Writers SS
Remus House
Peterborough
PE2 9BF

Email
[email protected]

Tel
(01733) 890066

Closing Date: Friday 28th May 2021