Short Story Competition

Introducing a short story competition for the budding writers and dreamers of the Central Coast, NSW!

Students are encouraged to submit a short story, make some waves and go in the running to win prizes for both themselves and their schools.

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Ripples is the Kids & Schools Program stream of Words on the Waves, the first and only writers’ festival to take place on the Central Coast, NSW.

Here at Ripples we’re all about making waves. We want children to have fun getting in the ebb and flow of story writing, and being as creative as they can be. The Ripples 2024 Short Story Competition has some great prizes for budding authors, their adult and their school! Write a short story on this year’s theme The Ripple Effect to enter.

Make us laugh, make us cry or blow us away with where your imagination can take us!

Read on for all the relevant information.

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Instructions

  • Write a short story, inspired by the theme: The Ripple Effect!
  • If you are in school years 4-6, make sure your story is between 250 and 500 words 
  • If you are in school years 7-9, make sure your story is between 750 and 1000 words
  • Save the story with a filename that is the same as the story. E.g if the story is called ‘The Ripple Effect’ then the file should be named therippleeffect.pdf
  • Stories should be saved as a PDF. 
  • Each page should be numbered with a title in a header.
  • Entries should be in Times New Roman, 12 point, double spaced.
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The theme

Action creates a ripple effect just like in a story. How will you interpret Making Waves? Are they real like a tsunami or a sound wave, or is your character about to fight for something they really believe in?  Are they energy waves transmitting from outer space, a mexican wave, a kindness wave or a wave to a stranger that sets something unexpected in motion? Or perhaps your character is dealing with someone else’s waves…

Whether you’re drawn to a story set around the ocean, or shaking things up and creating a splash, Making Waves is yours to explore in whatever way you want to!

For more inspiration, check out these ‘Making Waves’ books from our previous Ripples Presenters!

For Starfish Scribblers – (school years 4-6)

Dear Greta by Yvette Poshoglian

How To Be Prime Minister And Survive Grade 5 by Carla Fitzgerald

Silver Linings by Katrina Nannestad

For Sea Scribes – (school years 7-9)

Half My Luck by Samera Kamaleddine

Shadows of Olive Trees by Susanne Gervay

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Guidelines

Your entry is:

  • a short story with no chapters
  • original fiction, written by one person (not a group, not using AI)  
  • written for this competition only, inspired by the theme ‘The Ripple Effect’
  • a narrative (not a rap, recount or poem). 
  • has a beginning, middle and end (avoid ending ‘to be continued’ or ‘it was all a dream’)
  • has no personal details within story content, including your name
  • The story must meet the conditions of entry and follow the guidelines published on the website.
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What the judges look for

All stories will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Characterisation
  • Structure (beginning, middle and end.)
  • Plot
  • Originality
  • Language
  • Enjoyment

Top Tips:

Check out our Ripples Tips Here.

*Successful entries will go through an edit process to ensure ease of reading for the general public.

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Prizes

The Prize Packages will be announced when the Competition opens for Submissions, on 2 April 2024. Stay tuned!

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Prizes

Main Prize package (The Ripples Ripper Award)

Prize Total: Two. One each for grades 4-6 and 7-9

The Main Prize package includes:

  • Your winning short story published on the Words on the Waves website.
  • A certificate of place
  • A Kids Gift Card voucher to the value of $100
  • A book pack consisting of 5 current children’s fiction books
  • An author or illustrator visit to your school.
  • A One Day Pass to the Words on the Waves Writers Festival 2025 for the submitting adult.

Total Prize Value (incl. GST): $650

Runner-Up (A Whale of a Tale Award)

Prize Total: Two. One each for grades 4-6 and 7-9 

The Runner Up Prize package includes:

  • One copy of your short story published on the Words on the Waves website.
  • A certificate of place
  • A Kids Gift Card voucher to the value of $50
  • A book pack consisting of 3 current children’s fiction book

Runner-Up Prize Value (incl. GST): $150

Highly Commended Prize (Simply Swell Award)

Prize Total: Two. One each for grades 4-6 and 7-9

The Highly Commended Prize package includes:

  • One copy of your short story published on the Words on the Waves website.
  • A certificate of place
  • A book pack consisting of 2 current children’s fiction book

Highly Commended Prize Value (incl. GST) $50 

*Please check the Terms and Conditions for expanded information on the prize packages.

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Timeline

  • The competition opens at 9:00am [AEST] on Tuesday 2nd April 2024 and closes at 8:00 pm Friday 10th May 2024.
  • Prize winners and honorary mentions will be notified by phone, email and/or mail at the end of the competition period and by no later than Friday 24th May 2024.
  • The Competition Announcement Ceremony is on Sunday 2nd June 2024 at the Ripples Family Fun Day in the Peninsula Recreation Precinct (Umina Beach).
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Partners

To make the Ripples Story Competition a success for children across the Central Coast, we’d like to thank Walker Books and Allen & Unwin for donating books as part of the Prize Packages – more to be announced 2 April 2024. 

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Checklist

▢ My file is saved as a pdf
▢ File name is the same as my story e.g. if the story is called ‘The Ripple Effect’  then the file should be named therippleeffect.pdf
It is between 250 and 500 words: (Starfish Scribblers – school years 4-6)
▢ It is between 750 and 1000 words: (Sea Scribes – school years 7-9)
▢ Each page is numbered with the title in the header
▢ It is in Times New Roman at 12 point double spaced

T&Cs

All the Terms & Conditions of the Ripples Short Story Competition will become available 2 April 2024. 

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Support our Festival

As a not-for-profit organisation run with a small team of volunteers, contributions of any size go a long way in enriching the creative culture of our community. The Committee includes local Peninsula residents passionate about bringing the arts to the Coast. We are seeking support from the community to help us create a wonderful and inclusive festival.

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