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How to write your 500 Words story

So you’ve got your great idea, and you’ve planned the plot. Now comes the hardest (but most rewarding) part – actually writing your story. Here are my top tips on how to get started.

Don’t forget to enter your finished tale into the BBC’s 500 Words competition!

1. Find a space to write

This could be at the kitchen table, in the library, or even on the bus to school. Michael Morpurgo writes his books in bed! Wherever you choose to write your story, the most important thing to do is start writing.

2. Turn off your inner critic

Every author has a critic inside their head telling them what they’re doing wrong. But if you spend too much time listening to them you’ll never do anything right – or write! Stop worrying about your spelling and punctuation and instead concentrate on getting your story down on the page. You’ll have time to fix up any mistakes you make when you edit your story later.

3. Grab your reader’s attention

Remember, the beginning of your story needs to hook the reader from the very first line. Try to create a dramatic opening that will make readers want to carry on reading to find out what happens next.

4. Show, don’t tell

As you write your story, think about what you want the reader to see. Choose details that help them to imagine the action. Remember it can be more powerful to show how a character is feeling through descriptive details, rather than telling the reader directly. ‘A tear ran down Alice’s face’ works better than ‘Alice was sad’!

5. Craft the perfect ending

This is where you need to wrap up the plot of your story. Whether it’s happy or sad, scary or strange, the ending you choose needs to leave the reader feeling satisfied that they’ve read a great story.

So, what are you waiting for? Get writing!

Activity sheet

Action and emotion

Get thinking about vivid vocabulary with our BBC 500 Words activity sheet. Discover imaginative ways of showing a character’s emotions, rather than telling the reader directly.

For more activities and information about the 500 Words competition, visit our BBC 500 Words page.

Download the activity

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