For Wadadli Pen Competition Guidelines go here; it’s important that you read and follow the guidelines when submitting

Draw on Caribbean lore, attitudes, values, environment, sensibility, and your own experience; feel free to make up a world with wholly new characters and/or creatures, to reflect your own world, to incorporate real life characters from the past or present, to invent your own characters, to have both invented and real characters play in the same pool. There are no limits on imagination.

Engage and amuse your reader; have fun with it.

Enrich your stories with detail, authenticity and sensitive treatment of issues. “Description is hard. Remember that all description is an opinion about the world. Find a place to stand.” – Anne Enright, author

Draft and redraft until you have it just right.

“I write, rewrite, add, delete, analyze and synthesize continuously until I feel a sense of satisfaction with the piece.” – Malachi Smith, poet  http://geoffreyphilp.blogspot.com/2009/01/so-much-things-to-say-malachi.html

“Editing is everything. Cut until you can cut no more. What is left often springs into life.” – Esther Freud, author

Use proper spelling, grammar, punctuation – take the time to proof your submission or have someone do it for you.

Keep in mind that a story is more than just a chronology of events and pay attention to things like plotting, character development, pacing, tone, style, and rhythm – yes, rhythm. “A story needs rhythm. Read it aloud to yourself. If it doesn’t spin a bit of magic, it’s missing something.” – Esther Freud, author

Make it fresh.    “Beware of clichés (including clichés of response, observation, thought, conception as well as expression)” – Geoff Dyer, author

Show don’t tell…tighten it up…pay attention to pacing – http://www.unheardwords.com/tform.htm (The Problem of Form by Bill Manville)

Further reading:

Examples of past Wadadli Pen winners who’ve created close to the kind material desired are:

Stray Dog Prepares for the Storm by Gemma George (2004) https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/stray-dog-prepares-for-the-storm-by-gemma-george-2

Fictional Reality by Rilys Adams (2005)

and The Creation by Rosalie Amelia Richards (2006)  https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/the-creation-by-rosalie-amelia-richards

Also check out other winning pieces categorized by year elsewhere on this site and visit our Reading Room or check this Caribbean children’s literature site where perhaps you’ll find inspiration.

Of course, we think you can do better. Do not attempt to mimic these, dip into your own imagination and see what comes out.

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