The 50 Word Fiction Competition: Previous Winners

Read the previous winning entries, alongside the prompt they responded to. 

Want to try your hand at writing a 50-word story? Enter our monthly competition here.




Write a story featuring fireworks.


All-age category winner by Mary Sheehan:

Great Aunt Julia craved attention.
Her voice was the loudest in the room,
her clothes eye-catchingly bright.
She dreamed of being a Hollywood star.
When L.A.’s New Year’s Eve fireworks exploded into a million stars,
so too did her ashes which had been entombed within.
Making her dream come true.


Gaelic Category winner Robbie MacLeòid:

Dragh a’ Choin
Dorch. Oidhche. Cadalan. Sàmhach. Sàbhailte.
Boillsg. Brag.
Cuideigin. Rudeigin. Tachairt. Cunnart.
Boillsg, boillsg. Brag. Brag, Brag.
Cho mòr. Cho àrd. Cha tèid
a stad. Dè nì? Cà bheil? Cuidi
Toradh na Bliadhn’ Ùire: Cac agus mùn agus deòir.
Translation by the Gaelic Book Council:
The Dog’s Distress
Dark. Night. Snooze. Quiet. Safe.
Flash. Bang.
Someone. Something. Happening. Danger.
Flash, flash. Bang. Bang, bang.
So big. So high. It won’t
stop. What? Where? Hel
The New Year’s result: shit and pee and tears.


Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Rosie Wood, age 14:

The show was intoxicating. The way the dancers moved, as if they were fireworks, whizzing and darting across the stage till they exploded in bursts of colour and light. Their energy heated up the entire audience, until it died away as quickly as a spark, and the stage went black.


Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Esme Jack, age 11:

I was watching the fireworks on the Lyle hill. The fireworks were going up as fast as lightning. Then an alien came down from it's U.F.O.! It turns out the fireworks were coming from the a distraction! The aliens took over Greenock as their new galactic headquarters!


 Write a story featuring a camera.


All-age category winner Fiona

It was the sound the shutter button made when pressed, that I remember. 

Not ‘click’ - more ‘zzzip’.  My childhood camera of the 80’s, taking tilted snaps of classmates and pets. 

You could feel the film auto-winding behind its door, which would ping open if jostled. 

Exposures flooded with rainbows.


All-age Gaelic category winner Anne Macaulay

Thuig cuid dhiubh gura mise bu choireach, agus cha tigeadh iad nam ghaoth ri linn. Gu h-àraid esan. Am Baran. Von Richthofen fhèin. Ach fhuair mi e aig a’ cheann thall. Cliog. Gàire reòite agus anam glacte. Esan a’ tuiteam gu talamh; mise a’ sealg eun eile …

Translated by Gaelic Books Council: 

Some of them understood that I was to blame, and they wouldn’t come near me because of it. Especially him. The Baron. Von Richthofen himself. But I got him in the end. Click. A frozen smile and a trapped soul. He fell to the ground; I went to hunt another bird …


Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Sophia Ricaurte, age 16

Another Shooting

Screams of fear permeated the stadium. Sam ran onto the street and saw a mass of people on their phones filming the tragedy.

“Somebody, help me!” He cried. Blood ran down his face. Nobody looked up from their phones, too busy showing off their bravery. He died fifteen minutes later.


Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Murdo MacLeod, age 9

Once there was a 9-year-old boy whose name was Murdo. One Christmas he got a camera with 3 buttons marked “Grw”, “Snk”, & “Rst”. He pressed the Snk button and before he knew, he was tiny, he pressed Grw, and he turned normal, but 2ft taller but then pressed Rst.

Write a story featuring mist or fog.


All-age category winner Monika Johnson

Heidi’s red balloon disappeared into the hungry mist. A tear rolled down Heidi’s cheek.

‘It’s gone to see Grandpa,’ cuddled Granny. He’d only given it to her three days ago, in the hospital.

‘Goodbye,’ whispered Heidi. And she smiled, as the old grey embraced her little gift of love.


All-age Gaelic category winner Marina NicLeòid

'S iad na spàintean a thog m' aire an toiseach, air sgeilp nan crogan, ann am preasa an anairt. Dh'fhalbh an uair sin ainmean na cloinne agus thòisich na ceistean mu a màthair. Tè a bha san uaigh dà fhichead bliadhna.

A-nis, sùilean sileach ri 'n èiginn ’s a h-inntinn na cheò.

Translation by Gaelic Books Council

It was the spoons that first attracted my attention, on the pantry shelf, in the linen cupboard. Then went the children’s names and questions began about her mother. Someone who had been in the grave forty years.

Now, eyes water in distress, her mind in a fog.


Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Aimee Main, age 13

The sword gleamed, dragon scales littering the lavish furniture, the coppery mist of blood intoxicated the princesses, wrapped her like a wraith. Echoing her heels on marble tiles as she stepped forward, tears crept down her face as she pointed her sword at the knight. She had loved that dragon.


Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Jasmine Bayley, age 10

Mist ominously filled the playpark like sheets of white frosting. It covered everything but a  lone swing, occupied by a small girl. She sat upright on the swing with her arms and legs crossed like she was in school. Slowly, without her moving, the swing swung higher and higher.

Write a story featuring a bee.


All-age category winner Emily Teng

From: Hive 314A

To: Central

Project Pollination is experiencing significant issues in Sector 5NE. Human activity has caused setbacks of 33.1%. Anticipating severe delays if not properly addressed. Request permission to initiate countermeasures. Please advise as to aggression levels.
From: Central

To: Hive 314A

Permission granted. Proceed with maximum aggression.


All-age Gaelic category winner Aonghas MacGill-Eain

Bha i na suidhe air a' bhruach, uisge fuar an locha ma casan.  Bha a làmhan a' slìobadh an fhraoich, agus an-dràsta 's a rithist thogadh i a sùilean a dh’amharc na sgòthan a' sgapadh à sealladh gu tuath.

Dh'èirich dranndan seillein bhon mhonadh; bhiodh blàths-leighis an t-samhraidh faisg.

Mhaireadh i.

Author’s own translation:

She was sitting on the bank, her feet immersed in the cold water of the loch. Her hands were stroking the heather, and now and again she would lift her eyes and gaze at the clouds dissipating from sight to the north.

The humming of a bee rose up from the moor; the healing warmth of summer would be near.

She would last.

Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Louisa Gower, age 16

She’s heard of Bees, but their magic has long since been lost on her. They’re as real as Unicorns; that's to say, not at all. Yet there was one before her, a splash of yellow amidst the smog, a wish on a spring morning, and she starts to believe again.


Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Amy Paterson, age 8

Happy was a small fuzzy, buzzy bee. One day he set off across the garden to find his favourite flower, it was pink and purple. Oh how he loved it, he loved it like a friend. It welcomed him with open petals. I'm sure you would love it too.


Write a story featuring a subway


All-age category winner Ed Hassall

His right leg crossed. Her left leg crossed. Their facing trainers almost touch. They look at photos on their phones: mountains and lochs as lonely as them. Between Hillhead and Kelvinhall their trainers briefly kiss, sole to sole. Brief, mutual apologies; no eye contact.
She gets off at Kelvinhall, alone.

All-age Gaelic category winner by Manus McLeod

A’ dol dhachaigh air an t-subway. Mar a rinn mi fad fichead bliadhna.

Carson a thug iad a’ bhròg dhomh an dèidh na rinn mi dhaibh? Dè chanas mi rithe?

Sin mo stad air a dhol seachad. Ach cumaidh mi orm. Mu thimcheall cearcall Ghlaschu gus an tig freagairt.


Going home on the subway. As I have done for twenty years.

Why did they get rid of me after all I’ve done for them? What will I tell her?

There’s my stop going by. But I’ll continue. Around the Glasgow circular until I come up with an answer.


Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Isobel Morrow, age 13


+50 points: crossing the gap between the train and the platform without falling
-50 points: falling over when the train starts moving
-50 points: making eye contact with anyone
+100 points: wearing headphones
Game Over: attempting any social interaction. At all.

Press any key to begin.


Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Jamie Low, age 11

He walked onto the subway wearing all black carrying a bag with something round in it. As he slowly unzipped his bag he put his hand in and pressed something, it started beeping. There was a countdown. 3, 2,1 BANG!!! The carriage was filled with confetti!




Write a story featuring a piano.


All-age category winner by Lisa Holland:

The boogie-woogie was driving her crazy.
Every night, downstairs, her brother would practice those songs on the old piano.
Every night, upstairs, the music would keep her awake.
Until the day she crept downstairs in her pyjamas, and smashed the lid on his fingers.
Now his knuckles had the blues.


 Gaelic Category winner Ann MacLean-Fleming:

Taigh sàmhach. Làn dhaoine ach balbh. Am fìdhlear na laighe sa chiste, fidheall ri a thaobh, a’ dol a lobhadh san ùir còmhla ris. Taigh-tuiridh seach taigh-ciùil. Òigear a’ dlùthachadh air a sheann phiàna. Ceòl a’ bristeadh na sàmhchaire. Taigh an fhìdhleir aig fois, làn ciùil seach bròin.

Translation by the Gaelic Book Council:
A quiet house. Full of people but silent. The fiddler lying in the coffin, a fiddle by his side, which will rot in the soil with him. A mourning-house rather than a music-house. A youth approaches his old piano. Music breaks the silence. The fiddler’s house at peace, filled with music instead of sadness.


Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Megan Harper, age 17:

His slender and frail fingers found difficulty sitting on the rough surface of the keys, the scars covering them hurting his pride enough to make his whole body shake with rage.
"You can do it. Work on pressing one key. Just one."
He pressed his index finger down. B Flat.


Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Matthew Will, age 10:

My grandma's old piano is quite odd, if you press a key it plays the note that is symmetrically opposite. One day I got curious and looked inside, to my surprise there were three mice, two skinny and one fat. I pressed a key, the fat one ate cheese while the skinny ones worked together to play the opposite note!

 Write a story featuring a bike ride.


All-age category winner by Giancarlo Rinaldi:

“Look mum, one hand!” cried Luca, excitedly, the first time he cycled past the family home.
Then, the second time around, he shouted with even greater delight: “Look mum, no hands!”
But, on the third passing, it was the bicycle that spoke.
“Look mum,” it said. “No Luca!”

Gaelic Category winner Iain MacRath:

B' e sgreuch a dhùisg Lachaidh. Bha e na shuain-chadail, a' bruadar mun cheapaire le ìm saillte agus càis’ làidir, tiugh. Fàileadh cularan fhathast air a chiabhagan. Sguir a’ chrith shocair, ruitheamach agus lìon a’ bhasgaid le solas. Rinn Lachaidh leum, a' toirt geall nach rachadh e cuairt baidhsagail a chaoidh tuilleadh.

Translation by the author:

A scream woke Lachie. He was deep in slumber, dreaming of the sandwich with salty butter and strong, thick cheese. The aroma of cucumber still on his whiskers. The gentle, rhythmic shaking stopped and the basket filled with light. Lachie leapt, swearing never again to take a bicycle trip.


Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Lily Stiven, age 15:

The storm chased her, flashing and rumbling, as she sped along the crumbling road. The old bike lurched beneath her and the wheels sent up a spray of cold mud. Grandma had warned her of the selkies' power, yet the stolen coral necklace bounced in her pocket. 


Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Phoebe Stirrup, age 6:

Mike liked his bike
so he rode it all the way to the moon
But when he got there,
he fell into it because it was cheese
But 3 mice liked it so they licked him free
and he rode all the way back
to the world and landed in a tree.
Write a story involving time travel


All-age category winner by Jamie Redgate:

Just got back from my all-inclusive trip to the Minute Before the Big Bang and the Formation of the Universe. Always wanted to see what was up back then. Unfortunately when I arrived there was no gravity, nothing to sightsee, no facilities at all in fact. Zero stars: don’t recommend.


Gaelic Category winner Ann MacLean-Fleming 

Nam sheasamh sa chladh. Deòir air m’ aodann. Bròn gam dhalladh. Duine laghach sa chiste.

Ciamar a bhios mi beò às aonais? 

Ach thill e, mar neach-siubhail ann an tìm, airson innse dhomh gu bheil e sona, gum bi e daonnan còmhla rium. Cha chuir sìorraidheachd fhèin dealachadh eadarainn.


Translation by the Gaelic Book Council:

Standing in the cemetery. Tears on my face. Blinded by grief. A lovely man in the coffin.

How will I live without him?

But he came back, like a traveller through time, to let me know that he’s happy, that he’ll always be with me. Eternity itself won’t separate us.


Young Writers (12-18) category winning fictional story by Ashley Willis, age 16:

Travelling back in time to kiss your tiny palm clinging to life. I'm shredding you out of your skin of wires, machines and pushing you on a swing, healthy giggles erupting the sky. Your life isn't marked on a stone rotting from rain and tears. In the past you breathe.


Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Maggie Carr, age 8:

5 ways to spot a time traveller.
1. They will never learn to drive.
2. They have no finger nails at all.
3. They will always see you.
4. They are only men.
5. Their eyes are black and unhappy.
Now remember. If you see someone with all of these things... RUN!

Write a story about rebellion


All-age category winner by David Drury:

We stole henhouse eggs. Six warm in each pocket—a delinquent’s dozen. What shall we break them against? Tractor or farmhouse? Which act will signify true rebellion? –Neither, answered the wind. Cover them. Keep them warm. Hatch them into danger and defend them from that which others took from you.


Young Writers (12-18) category winning fictional story by Rosie Sumsion, age 15:

I took a breath and began typing. My mouse hovering over the button
I felt myself transported back to that night: hands shaking, heart pounding, unable to breath. Torn between the anger of being silenced and my own gut wrenching terror.

I clicked.

New Notification: Your post “#metoo” was uploaded


Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Elisabeth Lyons, age 11:

As we were marching I could hear everyone around me shouting "race, religion, colour doesn't separate us!" and I could see their banners of brightness and equality shining on everyone in the street. Their beaming smile lighting up all of New York.

Write a story about an unusual plant.


All-age category winner by Iain Macfarlane:

The family filed out of the lawyer's office, dismayed at the trinkets they'd been bequeathed. Had the fabled safety deposit box been just that? Geraldine alone was pleased. Clutching Grandma's prized geranium, she emerged into the sunlight. In the darkness, the roots of the geranium clutched a slender brass key.

Gaelic category winner by Marie Christine Macaulay:

Is iad flùraichean an dòchais dhòmhsa. Chan e na flùraichean àbhaisteach earrach mar tiuilip, lus a’ chrom-chinn agus an t-sòbhrag, ach na flùraichean cian-annasach Sleepy Snakeheads. A’ nochdadh gu dìleas anns a’ Mhàrt tro thalamh dorch, fuar, fliuch, grod le luibheach. Le cinn fhìnealta dhathte bhreac-phurpaidh.

Ath-bheothachadh nàdair.

Author’s translation

They are my hope flowers. Not the usual spring flowers such as the tulip, the daffodil and primrose, but the exotic Sleepy Snakeheads. Appearing faithfully in March through dark, cold, wet soil, rotten with weeds. With delicate drooping heads and speckled purple colour. 

Nature re-awakening.

Young Writers (12-18) category winning fictional story by Katie Hendry, age 15:

The biologist stooped over and plucked the specimen from the dirt; three days into this jungle expedition and she’d found nothing but bug bites. She stared down at the plant as it unfurled its tendrils with a gooey pink squelch. With a slow and heady blink, the plant stared back.

Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Lexie Spencer, age 11:

"That plant is beautiful," I said.  I reached out to touch it and my hand stuck to a soft grey leaf. Time stopped.  Everyone around was still. The plant turned and the leaf opened to reveal a thousand tiny, sharp edged clocks.  Time moved jaggedly and my hand dripped red.

Young Writer guest judges for May 2018

This month, two guest judges choose an additional winner in the 12-18 category. Andrew is a 16 year old writer and poet with us for Work Experience from the Royal Blind School, and Amelia is a 15 year old poet with us on Work Experience from Trinity Academy, their choice was:

Guest judges winning story for Young Writers (12-18) category by Sarah Kelly, aged 16:

The laughter of the flowers echoes, from bubbly shrieks of iris to low rumbles of lilies. Their petals curve intricately to form a face; human-like, yet separate in every way. I’d laugh with them if it wasn’t for their stems caging me in and the hunger in their villainous eyes.

 Write a story set on a beach.


All-age category winner by Catherine Bruce:

It was a few hours before I finally got a result. My metal detector bleeped as I swept it round again. I dug down excitedly and a flash of golden metal caught my eye. I carefully brushed sand, revealing an ornate ring. But unfortunately, it was still on a hand..

Gaelic category winner by Abel Warries:

Cho fad air falbh o bhailtean mòra bha na rionnagan saor. B’ iadsan rìghrean nan speur. Dh’fhaoidte gur ann airson an coimhead-san a thàinig an caraidean a-mach às a’ mhuir an oidhch’ ud; sin comas-tàlaidh nan reultan os ar cionn. Cha mhothaichte do mhòr-uaigh ghainmheil nan crosgagan gus an ath-mhadainn.

Translation by The Gaelic Books Council.

So far away from big cities, the stars were free. They were kings of the skies. Perhaps it was to gaze upon them that their friends made their way ashore that night; that’s the attraction of the stars above. The sandy mass grave of the starfish wouldn’t be noticed until the following morning.

Young Writers (12-18) category winning fictional story by Anna Davidson, age 16:

Though the explosion had happened far from the coast, heavy black swirls had begun to churn inwards with the waves onto the shore, carrying strangled, matted seabirds from the ocean's greasy mouth. Small fires flickered on the sea's dark surface, and glistening spirals of oil suspended flat, empty life-jackets.

Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Stewart McDiarmid, age 6:

I saw a tiger eating a banana on a beach. I ran away and hid behind the fence. I looked and saw a man getting gobbled up.
Next the tiger made a sand castle.
The sand castle got washed away and the tiger cried and ran away.
So did I.


 Write a story about a painting.


All-age category winner by Morag Hill:

"Why are you late, mummy?"
"I got held up, Fiona. Sorry."
"You're always late on Tuesdays. I've been waiting ages."
That teatime Fiona smiled at daddy.
"Look what Fiona painted at school. It's just like you!"
"That's mummy," said Fiona. "And that's the ginger man in mummy's car on Tuesdays."

Gaelic category winner by Seonaidh Adams:

Bha an t-eadar-sholas gorm-purpaidh. Bha agus na cruthan daonna. Le bloighean ruadh, geal, buidhe agus glas. Bho pholl, cailc, clach agus brìgh lusach. Gach fèith, gach alt, gach cuisle.
Buill-airm. A’ tighinn gar spadadh. Chan ionann iad agus ìomhaighean geala na Roimhe.
Borb. Righinn. Dathte. Dùthchasach.
Cruithnich. Dealbh beò.

Translation by Gaelic Books Council:

The twilight was a bluish-purple. That and the human figures. With splashes of brown, white, yellow and grey. From mud, chalk, stone and plant essence. Every sinew, every joint, every vein.
Weapons. Coming to kill us. How different they are to the white statues of Rome.
Brutal. Tough. Colourful. Native.
Picts. A living painting.
Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Grace Clark, age 12:

He was screaming, always screaming. My class walked straight past him but I lingered. I stared. Shadows flickered in the corner of my eye. On the canvas, two figures I hadn't already noticed moved. The gallery turned suddenly cold. I realised what he was screaming at. I turned and fled.

Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Mugunth Muthu Ramakrishnan, age 7:

On my birthday my parents gifted me a easel and paints. I was eager to paint a giant monster. I was surprised to see the

monster come alive. I was scared and thought it would attack me but it didn't. We both became friends. This will be my new pet.


 Write a story on the theme 'someone's at the door'.


All-age category winner by Joyce Ohara:

I walked, slowing as I approached,
Steps cracking the gravel drive of the beautiful, Victorian house.  
Lawns happily edged with roses, pansies and tall sunflowers following the sun.
Relief fills my heart and emotion traps my breath.
Clenching my handbag with the precious baby photograph, treasured since 1952,
I knock.

Gaelic category winner by Seonaidh Charity:

An toiseach, parsail an siud ’s an seo. Trì no ceithir gach mìos, sa gheamhradh fhuar. 
Ghnogadh i aig an doras, an lèine-t uaine Yodel oirre, am bogsa na làimh, a gàire…
A-nis – samhradh – parsail a h-uile latha. Cunntas banca falamh. An-diugh, thig am parsail le fàinne ann.

Translation by Gaelic Books Council:

At the beginning, a parcel now and then. Three or four each month, during the cold winter.
She would knock at the door, in her green Yodel t-shirt, the box in her hand, and a smile…
Now – summer – a parcel every day. An empty bank account. Today, the parcel containing the ring will arrive.

Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Emily Campbell, age 12:
I knocked. The door creaked opened, revealing a tall, figure before me. My heart stopped and I felt my sins crawling up my back... But the feeling didn't last for long as a grip tightened on me. The door slammed and the darkness around me began to eat me alive.
Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Matthew Little, age 9:

One day when I was at home watching tv, I heard someone knocking at the door loudly. It was a tall, scary person holding a parcel. The parcel started to shake so I opened it and it was a necklace. I thought 'no' and just put it in the bin.

Write a story that features 'face paint'.


All-age category winner by Alexandra Folly:

A fine black line over the eye. Deepest red for the lips. And some colour for the eyelid. After a long look in the mirror, Jenna removes the make-up with a sigh. James has to go to work. Reluctantly the cotton pad scratches over his beard stubble.

Gaelic category winner Laura Nicolson:

Là a Dhà air Cùrsa Ghàidhlig

Obh, obh, chuir mi tòrr peant air m’ aodann an-diugh. Rinn mi mearachd mhòr an-dè agus cha robh mi airson a h-uile duine a bhith coimhead air m' aodann, cho dearg ri seann bhogsa fòn! Dh'fhaighneachd mi dhan neach-teagaisg, “An tusa m’ athair?”

 Translation by the Gaelic Books Council

Day Two of a Gaelic course

Oh dear, I put lots of make-up on my face today. I made a big mistake yesterday and I didn’t want everyone to see my face as red as an old phone box! I had asked my tutor, “Are you my father?”

Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Louis Bruce, age 15:
The paint covered his scars from wars long forgotten. The man gazed into the mirror, staring back at him was an unrecognizable figure. He limped away and picked up his rusty longsword to defend his home.
Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Charlie Cameron, age 11:

The blood dripped down the clowns smeared bright red, blue and chalk white face paint. At this point the clown was only a corridor away. It was so silent, we could hear his dripping face paint hitting the floor. The door that we were hiding behind creaked THERE HE WAS!!!


Write a story set at a music festival.


All-age category winner Lesley Cameron

I didn’t know you were coming home today. I’ve missed you, you know, but it was still a shock to see you there. I wish you’d told me you were coming. I would have asked him to leave yesterday, if only I had known.

Gaelic category winner Ruairidh MacIlleathain

‘Tha mi seachd searbh sgìth dhen sgrìobadh mhallaichte seo!’ An doras air a tharraing fosgailte gu grad. Cù mòr uaine air an stairsnich, a chluasan cho dearg ris an fhuil. Cù-sìthe! Bi fialaidh dha no trèigidh do bheath’ thu! ‘A choin bhrèagha bheannaichte, thigibh a-staigh agus dèanaibh ur garadh …’

Translation by the Gaelic Books Council

‘I’m sick to death of that damn scratching!’ The door thrown open. A large green dog on the doorstep, its ears as red as blood. A fairy dog! Be hospitable to it or you’ll lose your life! ‘Come in, beautiful blessed dog, and make yourself at home…’

Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Angelika, age 12

Grey clouds hung gloomily above the ocean, as a boat crashed against sombre rocks peeking out of the sea. Hurtling towards a beach, it sent salty sprays of water into the air. Hitting the rocky shores of Aberdeen, a red-faced man wearily stepped out, gasping for breath. Where was he?

Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Jack Dalziel, age 10

I dropped off the money to two people in the boat. Turned, briskly, walked away, picked up the pace, still the men were sailing away. My heart was beating so fast, exploding in my chest. In the distance, they opened the suitcase. One million tissues flew everywhere. I ran.


Highly commended:

For this special edition of 50 Word Fiction, judging in collaboration with National Trust for Scotland, we selected a few stories we thought deserved a special mention.

All-age category by Darren Syme Coremans

News of his arrival reached me before he did. Knowing that he stood now on the same island that had for twelve years been my sanctuary, made the sprawling copses, glens and mountainous ranges seem miniscule and insignificant. Nowhere to hide. I had always known he would come for her.

All-age category by Thomas Malloch

 She lights the candles and moves across the room to dim the lights. Examines the table, set for two.


The doorbell jerks her from the moment.

Check self; in the mirror; en passant. At the door, smooth skirt. Breathe. Open. Then she slows.

‘Oh,’ she says; flat. ‘It’s you.’

Young Writers (12-18) category by Evan Law, age 16

Muffled clatters brush away my slumber. My clock pulses, welcoming in December. Trembling, I enter the lounge. Switching on the light, I notice a rotund crimson creature hulking over a mammal.

"What are you?" I demand.

Eyes glowing, flesh in its crooked fangs, and a bloody beard, it grunts


Young Writers (12-18) category by Avery Grey, age 18

Autumn comes; in its shell, a tiny creature wakes.

Broke in trees, a broken limb, wailing from outside.

Curious sound, the creature’s found, unable to stand, move or mew.

Golden fur tampered with dirt.

“She’s fallen down the hill.”

Autumn comes, colder.

“I hope you take her in.”

Young Writers (5-11) category by Annie Young, age 10

I'd an unexpected visitor wearing yellow, black and blue.  I thought he was a bee that had fallen into a pot of blue paint so I ran away because I'm scared of bees.  He robbed my house whilst I hid fearfully in the wheelie bin surrounded by disgusting banana skins.

Young Writers (5-11) category by Danny McEwan, age 11

*CRASH* Then a quiet knock at the door. There was a small blob on the doorstep who made its way into our house and fired acid everywhere, burning through everything in the house. We stood there as it turned around and flew into the unknown.


Write a story set at a music festival.


All-age category winner P.W. Bridgman

I was conceived in a field at Woodstock while Jimi played that reverse-strung Strat. My father’s tattooed backside appears briefly, 91:16 minutes into the movie. It’s all we have. He disappeared next day. Mom’s now a semiotician: successful, embittered. Him? Still searching. I pace, ever vigilant, all along the watchtower.

Gaelic category winner, Joan Stewart

“An e ‘fèis’ neo ‘feis’ a tha ann?”

“An dà rud... ma tha thu fortanach!” thuirt Niall le gàire.

Eh, bha mi ciallachadh an robh stràc air am facal Gàidhlig airson ‘festival’, ach air an làmh eile... Uill, bidh Niall anns an teanta co-dhiù. “Tiugainn!” thuirt ise le priobadh.

Translation from Gaelic Book Council

“Is it ‘fèis’ [festival] or ‘feis’ [sex]?”

“Both… if you’re lucky!” said Niall with a laugh.

Eh, I meant was there an accent on the Gaelic word for ‘festival’, but on the other hand… Well, Niall will be in the tent anyway.

“Come on!” she said with a wink.

Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Ewan Little, age 16

We were rocking and rolling - banging, scraping and screeching. I knocked my head back and forth to stentorian tones, raked my fingers across the strings, bleating out boisterous melodies. With a crash, the cacophony was over. My Mum, standing awkwardly at the back of our garage, gave polite applause.

Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Dougal Webb, age 9

One night, at Bristol Music Festival, as everyone’s favourite singer sung the first few bars of her song, a blinding flash came from the microphone. The audience’s gaze turned towards the city. They started to walk and say “Tonight’s the night we destroy.” The singer laughed wickedly.
Bristol was doomed.


Write a story featuring a winter feast.


All-age category winner Lorraine Thomson

Grace never cared for pigs wrapped in pigs, nor greasy chins and tooth gaps filled with sinew, nor wagging tongues furred with sauce. Curtained by red festive cloth, she preferred to feast beneath the table, devouring gifted books whilst sucking toffees to the roof of her mouth.

All-age Gaelic category winner Marie Christine Macaulay

Blàths is blas. Stòbha air. Fàileadh caineal, cnàmag, spìosraich, dearcagan, rèiseidean agus sultanas. Air a mheasgachadh ann am bobhla le flùr, siùcair, uighean, ìm agus drudhag bhranndaidh. Ag ullachadh airson cèic na Nollaige. A’ faighinn moladh mòr airson an tiona cèic a’ lìnigeadh agus mar dhuais, cothrom am bobhla imlich.

Translated by the author
Warmth and flavour. Stove heated. The smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, spice, currants, raisins and sultanas. Mixed in a bowl with flour, sugar, eggs, butter and a drop of brandy. Preparing the Christmas cake. Getting praise for lining the cake tin and rewarded by getting to lick the bowl.

Young writers Gaelic winner Eilidh MacLeod, aged 9

Aon Oidhche Nollaig chaidh sinn gu Talla Bhatarsaigh airson dinnear Nollaig. Thàinig Bodach na Nollaig, an teaghlach agam, muinntir Bhatarsaigh, na fèidh aig Bodach na Nollaig. Bha fhàileadh blasta cearc-Fhrangach ann. Bha craobh Nollaig mhòr ann, làn tinsel, solais Nollaig. Chuala mi glagan agus seinn. Bha e cho math, bha a h-uile duine a’ dannsa.

Translated by the Gaelic Books Council
One Christmas Eve we went to Vatersay Hall for Christmas dinner. Santa Claus, my family, the people of Vatersay and Santa’s reindeer all came. There was a delicious smell of turkey. There was a big Christmas tree, full of tinsel and Christmas lights. I heard bells and singing. It was so good, everyone was dancing.

Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Annet Rodriguez, age 13

Sugar is lightly dusted on top of the recently made pastries. These were made especially for the competition at the annual winter feast. As mother tries one, her face lights up with hope. Will we win? We must be optimistic, this may be the chance to be free at last.

Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Cameron McBain, age 9

All 13 witches gathered stealthily around the long oak table.
"It's time to have our winter feast!" said the leader.
"How dare you kill our makers!" shouted a voice.
10 snowmen came in and stabbed all the witches using their carrot noses and stick arms.
"Feast time?" said a snowman..




Write a story featuring a roll of the dice.


All-age category winner by Wander Gubler-Leeuwenhoek:

It was just a game. Everything was. Is. Yet,  frenetic - eyes darting, heart thundering - I weighed my changes. Endless variables. Outcomes beyond count. An entire embryonic universe stretching out before me, yearning to unfold. So, teetering on this razor’s edge between ubiquity and oblivion, I cast the die.


Young Writers category winning story by Carmen Sunny-olowu (age 13):

'It's magic!' He shouted after her retreating back.
She stopped and slowly turned around. 'What do you mean?'

He grinned and slowly raised a finger to his lips. 'Shh...'
And with a flick of his wrists, he rolled the dice. At first, nothing happened.
And then, everything did...
At once.


Write a story inspired by a balloon scape.


All-age category winner by Izzy Jones:

The first time the balloons came, it was raining. They emerged from the clouds, plump rotting plums, panting out thick gold coins that rattled down our streets. The thunder spoke: ‘consider this payment in advance.’ Today we saw them approaching, we do not know what they have come to take.


Young Writers category winning story by Heidi Ida Josefsson (age 14):

Emerald skies
above kingdom

Nescient balloons
in air

Sleeping sun
above castles

Scornful grass
on ground

Furious queen
in chamber

Dark creatures
in forest

Golden children
among trees

Lost beads
in moss

Troubled king
wife's bracelet

Dreaming me
my words


Write a story featuring a camp fire.



All-age category winner by Lyn Fountain:

To make a fire Dad's fingers fold,
knot, craft a triumph from the embers
of yesterday's cold racing papers.
Rent books and betting slips make hopeless tapers;
they glitter for a moment,
turn to ash. Mother's face
reflects the blaze like a newly struck penny;
the heat of her shame.

 Young Writers category winning story by Aimee McCall (age 14):

The witches cackled with delight as they tossed a young boys body into a cauldron which was sat upon a campfire.
"He deserved that!" The eldest screeched.
"Yes!" The rest of the witches cried. "A child with a side of cheese... now that he is not stealing it."



Write a story set in a train station.


All-age category winner by Graham Holliday:

Lost my job, it was my last commute, so I got drunk at the train station. Yeah, I know, they warn you, “Luggage left unattended may be removed or destroyed”, but my ticket was in there. The numbers came up, saw ‘em on the telly, it was a rollover too.

 Young Writers category winning story by Anino Ejuliuwa (age 17):

The musician at the station easily pulls a crowd. Alistair stands there, smiling and clapping to the lilting rendition. Applause follows its conclusion, and when the bowing man lifts his head before him, Alistair freezes. He no longer hears the loud engines or the voices. His own face stares back.


Write a story set during a family meal.


All-age category winner by Tabatha Stirling:

The food, like my parents' marriage, comes to the table in technicolour.  The tension makes sprouts over green and a promising gravy congeals into fatty emotion and regret.  My mother launches a crystal glass of Shiraz at the wall.  Another victim, it decorates the blinding white like blood spatter.

Young Writers category winning story by Odhran Leeson (age 13):

It was dinner time. The Connellys were ready to eat the succulent roast chicken in front of them. Kenny, the dad, was about to cut it when, suddenly, it lunged at him. Gobbled him down and swallowed him whole. The rest sat in stunned silence imagining death by chicken.


Write a story set in an enchanted forest.


All-age category winner by Cath Ferguson:

The thin witch stirs her cauldron, kept boiling for stray children. They never come. The once deep, dark forest is reduced to a layer of trees, behind the giant Tesco, outside the new town. In Fairy’s Glen a trolley lies rusting. Reluctantly, she clicks the button: “home delivery”. Pasta again.


Gaelic category winner by Robbie MacLeòid:

Dh’fhairich i a cas a’ pronnadh an damhain-allaidh.


Nuair a thog i ceann, bha craobhan na coille air cromadh os a cionn mar cheudan casan corp damhain-allaidh. Dhort sùgh sìos gach crann, na duilleagan dearga dearga mar neòil fhuilteach, ga falach fon speur.

Bha i air dol fada ceàrr.

 [Translation by The Gaelic Books Council]

She felt her foot crushing the spider.


When she lifted her head, the trees of the forest had bent over her like the legs of hundreds of dead spiders. Sap poured down each trunk, the red, red leaves like bloody clouds, shielding her from the sky.

She taken a very wrong turning.


Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Zofia Kopiec:

Players bowing, bows playing. The string orchestra struck out some chords to the maple audience.
"That's my sister!" a branch cried, dropping leaves on a violinist.
"My mother!"
"Left lung!"
A stick hit the wood of a viola and the cellos stopped playing. The conductor looked up.


Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Frazer Dewar:

The Kingdom was surrounded by the forest. Now and again playful racoon dogs would find their way in. Everything was fabulous. Until one day the forest started to burn. People were screaming “The legend is true!” Then right in the centre of the forest there it was. The Blind Dragon.


Write a story set at the seaside.


All-age category winner by Lisa Bywater:

“Hello, Mr Punch!”

Children crowd below the tented stage, their mouths wide in rapt delight as they urge the puppet’s stick down and down.

I sit apart, my own children happily subsumed into the shrieking mass. I taste sea salt, not blood, and tentatively allow myself to believe: we’re safe.


Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Erin Green:

The little girl ran screaming into the water, her feet pressing into the salty sand. She could feel it against her skin, squidging between her toes. All of a sudden she felt something different: hard and rough; scales on skin, and a large green eye slid open beneath the sea.


Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by George Downey, age 6:

Once there was a little boy called George and he loved making sandcastles. George would make sandcastles so big that no one could ever reach the top! Seagulls would nest there. One day George climbed up and made friends with the birds. He shared his dinner with them and danced.


Write a story featuring a horseshoe


All-age category winner by Dean Macgregor:

As the dementia worsened, my Mother would leave herself clues around her tiny Dundee bedsit. Little everyday things, receipts, bus tickets and such. But when she suddenly disappeared, the police found her flat empty. No furniture, no clothes, no clues, nothing but this rusty horseshoe, alone on the carpet.

All-age category Gaelic winner by Alison Lang:

Bha iad air tighinn an rathad seo. Chitheadh na lorgan, ùr an-diugh, làrach shoilleir nan crùidhean is fiù ’s nan tarragan, air am bualadh dhan ùir uaireigin feasgar, oir bha e tioram sa mhadainn. Chuir i suas facal taing don Chruthaidhear airson a chuid aimsir. Bha i faisg orra a nis.

Translation by author: They had come this way. The tracks were visible, fresh today, the clear outline of horseshoes and even of nails, pounded into the earth this afternoon, because it had been dry this morning. She offered her thanks to the Creator for the weather he had sent. She was close now.

Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Emma Millar, age 12:

Its elegant, curved form hangs on my wall, watching like an eagle. It's always scared me, because I don't know why it stares, all day and all night. Then I realize. It isn't the horseshoe that's staring, it's what's inside it. I see it so clearly now that I know.


Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Tess Clare, age 9:

I picked it up in the paddock. It was so rusty it stained my hands. Bits fell from the crumbly horseshoe onto the grass below. That was when I saw the horse staring from across the field. At that precise moment, he began to gallop straight towards me.

 Write a story featuring a bridge.


All-age category winner by Bruce Chambers:

“Is this the road tae Dumpy Dans. The scrappie?”
The man on the bike asked Jim and Tam
“Aye, on the ither side o’ the bridge?” The man shot off at speed.
“The bridge. Whit bridge?  Is it no away?” Tam said
“Aye. Dumpy took the girders for scrap.”


All-age category Gaelic winner by Dougie Beck:

Nam sheasamh nam aonar air Drochaid Choire Shalaich, fuaim an easa nam chluais, thuit sgillinn bhom làimh, saighead bheag òir a' sgèith tron t-sìorraidheachd a thèid a sguabadh a Loch Bhraoin le tuiltean an fhoghair. Chaidh m' ìobradh beag dìomhair à sealladh, is fhuair mise cead tilleadh dhachaigh

Translation by the Gaelic Books Council: Standing alone on Corrieshalloch Bridge, the sound of the waterfall in my ears, a penny fell from my hand, a small golden arrow flying through eternity to be swept into Loch Broom by the autumn floods. My small secret offering disappeared, and I was permitted to return home.

Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Hattie, age 14:

None of the locals walk on Rushmore Bridge anymore. They used to, until they started disappearing. First it was Annie from the Post Office, then Jeff with the wonky leg, then Sarah, Mr Andrew and even old Mrs Martin. Nobody even realised until the children began playing poohsticks with ribs.


Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Lachie McLean, age 11:

The first mistake I made that day was agreeing to investigate with Conor the sounds we heard last night.  We crept into the forest, suddenly running sprinting from it, from them, animals. Through the forest Conor crossed the bridge safely   It was my turn next. That was my second mistake…..

Write a story featuring a black cat.


All-age category winner by Lynda Nicolson:

"Rosemary Anderson's cat's deid."
"You mean her trousers are too short?"
"No, her actual cat, it's been run over by a van, I saw it from the school bus. You tell her, she's your pal. Here she comes."
"Oh Rosemary, Stevie says Blackie's puddens are all over the Lanark Road."


All-age category Gaelic winner by Ailidh Kingham:

Dà bhròg a' suidhe ris a' chagailt, cupa tì fuar air a' bhòrd.
Anns an leabaidh fhalamh, tha e a' feitheamh air gormanaich, agus an cat dubh a' tilleadh dhachaigh.
Aon latha, 's dòcha, bidh i a’ tilleadh mar bhean a-rithist.

Translation by the Gaelic Books Council:
Two shoes sitting next to the hearth, a cold cup of tea on the table.
In the empty bed, he waits for dawn, and the black cat’s return home.
One day, maybe, she’ll return as a wife once more.

Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by R Lapsley:

I stood there gazing as the flames danced. Something brushed against my legs. I watched the black cat slink into the shadows. The one that was always there. At every fire. Ever. It just sits there, staring into space. Sometimes I wonder what it’s thinking. I wonder what it knows.


Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Zac Dodd, age 11:

We had four mice. Now we only have one. The devious black cat is a sly and silent killer. He stalks the fat juicy mice one by one. First it was Chuck. Dan. Butter. All victims of the evil cold hearted killer. The only trace is a black, small hair.


Write a story featuring street food.


All-age category winner by Carrie Shearer:

Compatible pancake filling choices are important in a relationship. For example , I could never consider a ‘Lemon and Sugar’ or, even worse, a ‘Savoury Option’!
‘What’ll it be?’ I asked, pouring the batter on to the griddle.
‘Marshmallows and Chocolate’
‘With cream’ he added.
Our children would be beautiful.


All-age category Gaelic winner by Michael Bauer:

Shuidh am bodach aig bòrd beag air stiall chumhang de chabhsair eadar seann bhalla agus gleadhraich na sràide. Caractaran àrsaidh dearga ag innse gur buill-èisg biadh an latha. A’ cuimhneachadh gaol màthar is co chomann a’ bhìdh, faireachdainnean ga bhualadh mar stuagh. Is an àite bìdh, a’ blasadh deòir shearbh-mhilis na cuimhne.

Translation from the Gaelic Books Council:

The old man sat at a small table on a narrow strip of pavement between an old wall and the clamour of the street. Old-fashioned red letters announcing that fish-balls are the dish of the day. Remembering a mother’s love and the association with food, emotions hitting him like a wave. And instead of food, tasting the bitter-sweet tears of memory.

Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Kayleigh Cockburn, age 17:

I'm burning! What did I do to deserve this hell?! To be quartered, diced and thrown into the lava, snatched by the hands of gods and consumed by titans. This fate...for me...and yet aren't even called my name. I am just served on a napkin and called 'chips'.


Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Freya Karg, Emma Vella, age 11:

As I walk past the busy streets and markets,
I see people throwing darts at targets,
But the things that catch my attention most,
Are the strange street foods that are much more exciting than toast,
Like crepes and sour sweets,
But my favourite street foods are the succulent meats.

Write a story featuring winter lights.


All-age category winner by Helen Jane Somers:

Sarah dragged the corpse through the kitchen.  It left a messy trail behind. Cursing, she began to clean up before her husband returned.  He’d loved the fragrant Norwegian beauty, had enthused how their dreary winter nights had been illuminated.  Next year, she decided jealously, their Christmas tree would be artificial.


All-age category Gaelic winner by Anne Campbell:

Chi mi an t-sealagair leis a bhreacan-guailne a’ lasadh suas an oidhche, geal a measg a mhuir dhubh agus sinn seoladh eadar na solais aig bonn an t-saoghail. Rua Reith agus Hyskeir, Uisinis agus Neist gam chumail ceangailte ris a mhuir agus an oidhche agus an dorachadas.

Translation by the Gaelic Books Council:

I see the Hunter with his plaid lighting up the night, white amid the black sea as we sail between the lights at the end of the world. Rua Reidh and Hyskeir, Uisinish and Neist* keep me tied to the sea and the night and the darkness.
*These are all lighthouses on the west coast of Scotland.

Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Tristan Deeley, age 16:

The lights are beautiful from up here.
Cold winds rise. The oxygen tanks ran empty hours ago; our lungs die slowly. God took pity, giving us the kaleidoscopic Aurora Borealis. You freeze, eyes still stargazing. Lucky. Frosted eyelids flutter softly, wanting to shut.
The lights are beautiful from up here.


Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Freya Karg, age 10:

Two kids were playing in the snow when they saw a candle. they thought they should bury it but suddenly it went out. A storm started and a snow demon came out. They ran and the demon chased them. Then'' SUPER DAD TO THE RESCUE!!! '' Dad jamp out and sucked the demon up with a hoover and lit the candle.




Write a story set in the future.


All-age category winning story by Robert Shepherd:

The future was supposed to be spaceships, not giant feet. No-one foresaw the day they rose, great arches stretched up to sky.

Hindsightedly, we saw the signs. Skyscraper toenails in London, great tendons trawlered in nets. We should have known, we said. Just once, we should have seen something coming.


Young Writers category winning story by Abigail Januszewicz (aged 12):

The computer says it’s year 9019. Today robots have just been released from factories all over New York and the rest of the world. My robot keeps saying “keep calm through this transition between your kind and mine”. Its light sensor turned from blue to red, then it exploded.


Write a story inspired by a night time crowd scene.




All-age category winning story by Anna Doherty:

Mr Mint is highly allergic to fur, so Mrs Mint keeps a secret dog at work. Whenever Mr Mint is being unreasonable and waspish, she smuggles the dog home in her rucksack to moult and then Mr Mint is bedridden for days. She feels it’s less hassle than divorcing him. 


Young Writers category winning story by Natalie Boal (aged 14):

My eyes locked on the prize, just a street away. Pain clawed at my stomach as I quickened my pace through the obnoxious crowd of suits and umbrellas. Car horns blared as I began to sprint across, and pulled out a dead president.
‘Large with ketchup and mustard’ I panted.


Write a story inspired by the sculpture by Eduardo Paolozzi.


All-age category winning story by Bruce Chambers:

“Two road sweepers observing the sculpture. 
“The big haun’s oot again.”
“Aye, the cooncil’s lookin’ fur a handoot.”
“It’s no real.”
“Naw, it’s surreal.”
“It’s whit?” 
“A kinda dream idea.”
“Tam’s no gauny be happy either way.”
“How come?”
“He’s tae sweep it up.”
“Whit, a dream idea?”


Young Writers category winning story by Katherine Laidlaw (aged 17):

Corpses don't always bleed. When they freeze or when they drown, it is the same as when that colossal mound of a creature fell. Yes, creature - they said it was merely a machine, but I saw its face when we tore it - blew it - apart. 
No, corpses don't always bleed.



Write a story featuring a board game.


All-age category winning story by Nathan Cooper:

'Firetruck,' stated my nephew, confidently placing his word. Firetruck indeed! A vowel is nowhere found on my spelling pew. He counts 54 points for triple word score. My only option is to pluralize his word. Why can’t I pull good letters? A “Q”? Seriously, what the firetruck? He’s gonna win.


Young Writers category winning story by Morgan-lee Mcmillan (aged 17):

Tensions were high. They all stood in what seemed like a mexican standoff. They kept there cards close to there chest with eyes locked on one another. 
"It was you wasn't it"
"Naw it wasny me" 
"Aye it was, it was you in the kitchen wae the lead pipe mate!"



Write a story about a mythical sea creature.


All-age category winning story by James Vincent:

Ah kin see
The sea

Atween they
Divin fur
Thur dinner
Roon aboot
The critter

Ahin thone
A fritter

Ah’ve seen
Distant phoaties
Sent in fae

Ah ken
It’s hur
Wi thone
Sleekit een

Whit a mawkit

Young Writers category winning story by Katie Somers (aged 13):

They dangle their putrid feet in my lake. They disturb my calm water with their splashing and screaming.
So when one unfortunate little child swims off to catch a ball I grab its ankles and take it down to have a little talk. 
This normally works.


Write a story that begins on a bus.


All-age category winning story by Jess McGeachie:

Ecstatic, excited, elated
The bus whirred and jolted
As it reached its destination
Alighting from the bus
Looking back to planet earth
And welcoming my future
The idea I had
Had grown into realisation
New world, new planet, new life

Young Writers category winning story by Iona Campbell (aged 15):

As I gazed out of the window at the dark fields rolling by, I noticed the lights inside the bus begin to flicker. The bus screeched to a halt. I blamed it on a rogue deer, that was until I heard faint tapping from the other side of the window.


Write a short story about swimming.


All-age category winning story by Megan Crosbie:

She wades past skin and into the sea. Black fabric clings to her thighs and the curve of her belly. In one fluid motion she dives under, accepted easily into the water.

She surfaces. Tightening her headscarf, she watches the horizon: unwavering, dependably familiar. She almost doesn't feel them staring.


Young Writers category winning story by Brady O'Connell (aged 15):

Wob the pet rock swam in the stream all day.
That was his life.
Bob his owner came by every day to feed him an apple.
After every meal Wob swam a 300 metre backstroke by flowing with the current.
Only problem is, he can't get back to the top.



Write a story featuring a mobile phone


All-age category winning story by Mike Smith:

‘Ah’m on the bus’ he growled into his phone as he squeezed into his seat.
‘Aye, right!’ came the irritated reply. ‘Yer in that boozer again.’
Unexpected support came from several voices on the upper deck. ‘He’s on the bus, missus’
It was then he realised the speaker was on…

Young Writers category winning story by Charlotte Chalkley (aged 17):

Seeing people turn their backs on me is certainly a novel experience. Those quiet sketchers and onlookers used to flood the Louvre just to catch a look at me!

At least it seems I'm still in the spotlight.

I smirk, holding serenely still for the next eager horde of selfie-takers.



Write a piece of historical fiction.


All-age category winning story by Mark Roberts:

She breathed out against the whalebones of her corset. His letter had disappeared among the flames in seconds. He was probably already on the ship, heading east, focused on his future with the Company. She moved to the bureau, took out a pen, ink and paper and began her revenge.


Young Writers category winning story by Joan Lim (aged 14):

“Oh, Helen! Her etiquette! She’ll amble around the room when calling and meddle around, ankles flashing and obscene…this was a mistake from the beginning!”

The sun-soaked drawing room is filled with tea and distress.

Amused by her bemusement, the matronly woman opposite her chuckles. “She’s barely a year old, darling!”


Write a story inspired by a morning paper and coffee cup.


In October, we held our monthly 50 Fiction Competition in association with the Daily Record and we had a huge number of entries inspired by this image.

Author and coloumnist Shari Low sat on the judging panel and, thanks to the high quality of entries, we decided to add a Highly Commended slot for each category.

All-age category winning story by Rachel L. MacAulay:

I awoke feeling surprisingly well-rested. Heading to the kitchen, I smiled for the first time since the hellish ordeal with Max started. I had won. The kids were mine.

But the items on the table stopped me short. They were in Max’s habitual morning arrangement.

Then, I noticed the silence.


All-age category highly commended Cara Mackenzie:

She places everything on the table; ordered, neat.

People will think she's a professional. Together.

Newspaper. Latte.

Empty bag at her feet, timer on her ancient phone to tell her when to leave.

She can pretend it's a meeting, not the launderette.

They don't know she has nowhere to go.


Young Writers category winning story by Bronagh Johnson-Bailey (aged 16):

She's at it again this morning.

"Go get the newspaper for Daddy, dear."

I hesitate, she twitches. When I return she's gently placing his coffee, I drop his paper next to it. Mum and I sit for breakfast in silence. His place is set, his seat remains empty.


Young Writers category highly commended Emily Turner (age 17):

There he goes again. Gazing at that blonde barista instead of getting to work. And he has the nerve to dump me on my face, like I’M the distraction. Still, I’ll be the one reminding him how late he is when he eventually spares me a glance. That’ll teach him.



Write a story about a powerful book.


All-age category winning story by Duncan Clark:

“Dangerous book”.  She wasn't sure if the older woman meant that as a question or statement.  The shop was quiet.  The cat hadn't moved far from the radiator, nor had she.  

“Gives people a false sense of the past”.

She put the 1977 Broons annual down and left.


Young Writers category winning story by Angus Ivory (age 11):

"Don't open it," he whispered pleadingly. "Just don't open it." Lying there in the dark, I was drawn to it. My fingers slid slowly over the elegant ridges and cracks in the hard leather cover. A mouse on the floor watched me intently. Slowly, I opened it. The mouse froze.

Write a story inspired by a grand, snowy house.


All-age category winner by Jenny Rutherford:

It fell silently from the sky. A giant, soft blanket smothering everyday life.
Children started with excitement as a winter scene unfolded. They thought it was snow.
But he knew it wasn’t snow. It was ash. Looking out of the window he knew now was the beginning of the end.

Young Writers category winning story by Amba Kiran Reece (age 17):

The West Wind rattles through the house. He has been welcomed here ever since the Small One left. He creeps up the staircases and becomes re-acquainted with the corners. The Darkness, a friend, nods at him from beneath the abandoned cradle.

Together they settle in for a comfortable winter.



Write a piece of Fantasy fiction. 


All-age category winning story by TM Hayes:

The elevator rumbles upward through the darkness. “We’ll be the first people aboveground in over 50 years.” Sasha whispers in excited disbelief as if we can be overheard in this loud metal contraption. The elevator stops. The trapdoor opens. Our eyes adjust to the blinding sunlight, we gasp.




Young Writers category winning story by Iona Scroggs (aged 14):

She always watched from the mysterious, deep ocean at the strange creatures living above it. They didn’t look like her, not really. Nothing ever did. She was alone. She constantly tortured herself by watching the creatures find another but she never found the same feeling. All she felt was emptiness.


Write a story which features a map. 


All-age category winning story by Sean HG Watt:

The ship's map showed her where to go. It floated ahead, leading her past burnt holes exposing the star-spotted black. She didn't dare look; escape was just round the next corner. She rounded it, suit creaking. Nothing but space and splintered hull parts. The map smiled, then flickered out.

Young Writers category winning story by Hannah Ledlie (aged 16):

My parents treasured the past, and anything that came from it. They would often take me to the archive; unroll a map and describe the amazing places it showed. I was sixty years old when I first breathed fresh air and blinked real light and saw it all for myself.

Write a story set in a park.


All-age category winning story by Lauren Heaven:

It was rammed. She told him it would be.

Noisy dogs, bouncy children – intrusions on his idyllic Instagram shot.

He points out a recently vacated spot and they park themselves amidst the litter.

“Smile,” he says as he looks at her through his screen.

Filters can’t fix everything, she thinks.

Young Writers category winning story by Dominic Miller (aged 16):

No matter what day I went to the park, there he was. He'd sit in solemn silence, never saying a word, as if contemplating his life.

I never knew why he came. I only learnt his name after reading the plaque that one day took his place on the bench.


Write a story that makes us laugh


All-age category winning story by Peter Cannon:

"A fine example of abstract design," observed the would-be critic. "The symmetry of dark vertical lines against the off-white flatness of the plaque is, quite simply, unique."

"Excuse me?" said a young man. "I'm sorry to interrupt, but that's the ventilator cover. The art exhibits start over there."

Young Writers category winning story by Rianne Johnson (aged 13):


“Where did you get THAT one from?”

“That was your best one YET!”

Those were the good times, when we joked; we were close. Those were the good times, when only laughter filled the air. Those were the good times, when we laughed till we cried. We had fun!

Write a story about a road trip


All-age category winning story by Stuart Cormie:

The M6 traffic cares nothing for your urgency, but you do arrive in time. She lies colourless, breathing slow, eyes closed, oblivious to the silent family. By an ear you shout "Mum" (hearing aids already out). A little jolt? Only hours later, her cruel, failing body deals its final hand.

Young Writers category winning story by Molly McCallum (aged 12):

When he said roadtrip, I saw hotels and shops. Not camping. I saw dad drive the rented, rusty green campervan, unaware of the havoc in the backseats. My brothers were flying paperplanes, my sister screaming for food. Even my mum was too busy taking pictures, getting lost in sunny Wales.

Write a story set by a river.


All-age category winning story by Jane Roberts:

One after the other - lemmings - they dive-bomb the water's surface - regardless of trainers and clothing. She's a red halter necked Venus - hair in nonchalant top-knot.

Waterlogged eyes, blinded by trust, they gaze up at her standing backside. Dry.

Young Writers category winning story by Jordan Sanderson (aged 16):

Big John has been trying to impress Wee Betty for a few months now. Every guy Betty has ever gone with has been able to swim. She likes that in men. He jumps in to impress her whilst she's watching but realises he still has his shoes on.
Absolute ragin.

Write a story featuring a sporting event


All-age category winning story by Laura Ogryzko:

Jabbing, jotting, aiming, maiming; the glistening bodies hopped in their pen. They may have been dancing had it not been for the thick blood. Their taut fists encased in swollen red mittens making their arms look like match sticks. Rabid onlookers willed the match sticks to strike. They wanted fire.

Young Writers category winning story by Katherine Laidlaw (aged 17):

You know the thunder of the cheers at the Olympics - the roar in here is no less loud. The unbearableness of it batters my eardrums and the ball slides from sweat-slickened hands as I twist momentarily, scanning the crowd for a face I don't expect to see.

Write a story about a cowboy


All-age category winning story by TM Hayes:

His boots strike the parched earth creating small dust clouds with each step. He holds his hand before him, making soothing clicking sounds deep in his throat. The beast heaves; zigs and zags in a tight square. Expectant breaths the only sounds for miles. "Whoa, girl." She hesitates. Then relents.


Young Writers category winning story by Amelia Puchala (aged 13):

Falling. Off the robot. Through the crack in this polished world. Imperfect crack. Imperfect me. Before it didn't matter. I was the world Rodeo champion. Before...horses weren't metal.

I hit the floorboards with an imperfect 'thud!' With one last effort I turn to see DDYXZ2 perfectly mount the horse.

Write your very own short fairy tale


All-age category winning story by Emma Sibthorpe:

In a cottage in the forest there lived a witch. One day a Prince rode by.

"Fantastic neo-gothic architecture - I must have it!"

He offered ten times the market value. She relocated to a city penthouse and amused herself turning frogs into traffic wardens.

And everyone lived happily ever after.


Young Writers category winning story by Hannah Ledlie (aged 17):

Once there was a boy who built a ladder to the Sun and requested she shift her gaze from his family’s wilting crops. She complied, on the condition he stay and guide her rays forever more.

The boy is still up there today, ensuring his family live happily ever after.

 Write a story featuring food


All-age category winning story by Robin Munro:

A turnip perhaps isn’t the most practical of abodes, but to Englethorpe it was perfect.  It was edible, had a faint earthy pong and exuded a warm yellow hue when lit by candlelight.  His home made him feel snug, and ravenous, as he tucked into a bowl of spiced beetroot.


Young Writers category winning story by Katie Luxmoore (aged 15):

The king devours the meat before him. He pays no heed to the gathering crowd and an impatient youngster steps closer. The monarch pauses to growl a low warning.
Suddenly, a shot rings out and he falls to the side. The animals scatter.
An unnoticed hunter has felled the king…

Write a story set in Scotland.


All-age category winning story by Linda Mallinson:

Pipers had piped, dancers had danced, guests had gone; it had been a brilliant party. Hamish headed upstairs. Once more his knees were lifted high, tartan swirled and diamond patterned socks flashed to and fro. A final highland fling? No, the grandchildren had left their Lego on the carpet again.


Young Writers category winning story by Emma Hickman (aged 15):

There's haggis in his beard, haggis in his clothes.
There's bits of haggis everywhere, even up his nose.
There's haggis in his fingers, haggis between his toes.
Haggis squelching as he walks, dropping as he goes.
The meeces like to follow him and help him decompose.
He's Haggis.

Write a story including the phrase: cold as ice


All-age category winning story by Jared Woods:

His fingers shook so violently that Brian couldn't grasp the wire. His tremors rendered it nearly impossible to be a member of the bomb squad anymore, and his partner knew it.
Sympathetically, his friend offered an excuse. "Hands cold, sir?"
"Cold as ice," Brian sighed, relieved for the fabricated escape.

Young Writers category winning story by Isobel Hellam (aged 15):

The crusty ice shelves loom across the horizon, biting winds slice around corners. The velveteen figures shrink closer together; each penguin sheltering its egg.
A disturbance: one slithers from its parent's grasp. The storm hisses in relish and sweeps across the shell, once smooth, now frosted over. Cold as ice.





Write a story set at a birthday party. 


All-age category winning story by Deborah Murphy

"Champagne!" the elderly socialite demanded.

Mike soon realised his mistake in wearing a penguin suit to the party.

Playing along, he politely handed her a glass of bubbly.

Next year he’d wear a tuxedo, he thought, sipping his drink through a straw to avoid soaking his large orange beak.


Young Writers category winning story (a birthday rap) by James Fisher

I’m a birthday cake and ma heid’s on fire

I’m gona get high then even higher

In a matter of seconds I’ll be sliced and diced

Know what I mean – that’s not very nice.

Here they a’ come to blow me out

Know what I mean – and they’re gonna shout.


Write a story inspired by a crowded shopping centre.


All-age category winning story Brighid Ó Dochartaigh (@bbrighid1)

I saw it through the swirling crowd. The red carnation tucked into your black wool jacket, just as you'd promised. Then he reached out and plucked it, lifted it to his lips, and smiled. You laughed and slipped your arm through his. I was only ten minutes late.


Young Writers category winning story by Caroline Sessa

I ran in. The bustle of the station surrounded me. I had to find her, to tell her. Then, a glimpse. She was boarding a train. I tried to catch her; the doors shut before I could. It was too late. Now she'll never know... that she forgot her toothbrush.



Write a crime story.


All-age category winning story by Nina Vedder:

Through the car window the flames look orange and black. Like tiny tigers, escaping a cage.
I'm wearing two different shoes. Blue bow left.
"Will Dad be okay? And Jenny?" I ask.
Mum says nothing and turns up the radio.
The house gets smaller and then I think I sleep.

Young Writers category winning story by Erwan Regy (age 11):

I crossed the ‘crime scene’ line anyway. Lying on the ground was a young boy crying in fear. Towering over him were policemen, interviewing what looked like the kid’s parents. The boy turned around, revealing the crumbs and chocolate chips on his face. Then I saw the empty cookie jar.


Write a story which features an old key. 


All-age category winning story by Elaine McKay:

Thurrs nae loack cis thurrs nae doors cis thurrs nae hoose cis thurrs nae waws- the cooncil came an' demolish'd thum aw.

Bit Ah'll keep ma key in ma poackit; it fits there, even noo that it's ma auld key. 

See, ma new street's awright, bit isnae where Ah've lived.

Young Writers category winning story by Daniella Cugini (aged 16):

"Dad, what's this for?"

Ben clutched the ancient, tarnished key, eyes round as saucers.

"Old keys fit old chests," Dad replied, smiling. "Go look!"

Minutes later, Dad looked up to hear screaming. He sprinted into the bedroom, only to see Ben jabbing the key between his grandmother's ribs.


Write a story set in the woods. 


All-age category winning story by Sue Kingham:

Colin’s ear and nose hair twitched, his chins wobbled as he let out a piecing "Hoop Hoop". Selina was mortified. 

"Hoop Hoop!" came a bird's reply from the far side of the wood. 

Colin sprinted off.

She dug out her phone, scrolled through her Elite Singles profile, and deleted ‘nature lover’. 

Young writers category winning story by Keirit Dosanjh (aged 11):

I was lost.

The woods were magical, sunlight streaming onto the leaf-strewn path ahead – peaceful, but I was still lost.

I was suddenly aware of sharp pains in my back.  A twig snapped.

I jumped round.

They were reaching out to pinch me again, both doubled up in silent mirth.  



Write a piece of historical fiction.


All-age category winning story by Jenna Burns (@Jenna_221b):

You’ll thank her for the socks. You’ll not mention Fletchley’s death.

You won’t say there’s a Big Push coming, the fear of it a cold weight in your chest.

You’ll say I miss you and end with all my love. They’re the only truths you have left.


Young Writers category winning story by George Menz (aged 15):

I have sinned, the captain thought, and made this place vile. For centuries, no Highlander would trust the name Campbell, or submit to the Crown, or forget this tragedy. It brought him comfort. Whatever evils they suffered, the Scots had one imperishable defense against the force of arms: they remembered. 


Take two friends sitting on a wall as your inspiration.


All-age category winning story by Leila Valois:

They met monthly. Sometimes, they drank quickly, ring pulls already opened with that first, cool swig taken before they sat down. Othertimes, like today, they sat untouched behind them. They never asked, always waited for the other to talk.

"That last chapter though."

"Yeah, no more dog books. Always upsetting."


Young Writers category winning story by Isabella Campese (aged 12):

We sat there looking over the town. If I was going to say it, it had to be today.

"So, I was thinking," I started nervously.

"Come on, you can say anything."

"Okay, here it goes. I like a friend."

"I was just about to say that too."


Write a story which features a letter.


All-age category winning story by Veronica Whittaker:

The solicitor forwarded the stamped letter to Jenny, who recognised the hand writing immediately.
Silent tears slid down her face as she read.
'I'll still love you John, whatever your decision. Please keep in touch. Mum'.
But John no longer existed, Jenny hadn't been called that in years.

Young Writers category winning story by Emily Chen (aged 14):

Heels ringing against stone, Felicia steps into the young CEO’s office.

“A letter for you, sir.”

He looks up as she tosses it onto the gleaming glass of his desk, edges worn and so out of place in this digital age. Unreliable. But untraceable.

A loaded glance passes between them.

Write a story set on a spaceship. 


All-age category winning story by Tim Cassford:

Galen looked out from the command seat, laser-blasts still ringing in his ears. A million stars regarded him in silence.

Doors hissed open. Yorgen entered, his face pale.

"Does... Does it get easier?"

Galen turned back to the view. The previous crew were drifting past; corpses crusted with frost.



Young Writers category winning story by Hannah Ledlie (aged 16):

The youngest girl in space was too small to see out the windows. 

“What’s going on daddy?”

She looked up at the man whose hand clutched hers, whose eyes looked down on Earth in a way that would never be replicated; reflecting fire, dancing.

“Nothing,” he replied, drawing her close. 






Write a ghost story. 


All-age category winning story by Jared Woods:

The dead man only visited her room to hold her hand. He had explained this to her before, many times, and she'd since learned that he vanished much quicker when she pretended to be asleep. She breathed. He sobbed while his brittle fingers trembled around hers. 

She kept still.


Young Writers category winning story by Ariane Branigan (aged 15):

She’s face to face with me: we’re so close I can feel her eyelashes brush mine, count every speck of gold in those cobalt eyes.

"Why are you here?"

She giggles, leans in confidentially- I catch a hint cinnamon on her breath- and whispers,

"I got bored of being dead."







Write a story set in an abandoned theme park.


All-age category winning story by Carla Taylor:

“Good haul today?”

“Not bad - £16.85 and some bloke got me a fish supper.”

A nod of approval as I trudge past his scabby command station.

I am tucked up in a teacup by the time the rain starts falling; chip shop grease warming my belly.


Young Writers category winning story by Beth O’Reilly (aged 16):

As I ran I looked around. I stopped! It was the gate to the theme park.

Pushing through, I snuck behind a merry-go-round. I could hear footsteps growing closer.

I could smell the rubber of his shoes.

“C’mon pup, you can’t be out here!”

I replied with a bark.






Be inspired by an outdoor ice rink at Christmas time.


All-age category winning story by Liam Alastair Crouse:

Mo chasan a' falbh bhuam; spèilearachd air dhol san dìochuimhne. Deigh sleamhainn na galla. Theab mi tuiteam, ach làmh a rug orm. Sheall mi ris, 'Chris…' ars mise, ag aithneachadh mo sheann bhràmair am-measg na gràisg, 'diamar a…' Shocraich e mi, gàire mhireagach na gnùis, 's e falbh aig tèile.

Translation: My feet went from under me; skating skills gone to pot. This damned slippery ice. I almost fell, but for a steadying hand. I looked up. "Chris …" I said, recognising my old boyfriend amongst the throng, "how are …" He righted me, a cheeky smile on his face, as he skated away to another.


Young Writers category winning story by Eve Lambrick (aged 13):

I depressed the switch. All colours were muted, all sounds silenced. I knew this peace would not last; it could not last. The full gaiety of the festive season was nigh, but even the gaudy christmas tree had found peace. Pyrrhic peace. For just at that moment, a light flickered.


Write a scene set in cafe.

January - Sarah Painter

"I wanted to see you. Just once."

"Excuse me?"

The woman is young. Of course. "I've chucked him out," I say. "My husband. He's all yours."

Her face goes milk-like. "It's you." She's not even that pretty.

Especially right now.

"It's me," I agree. "Next time, it'll be you."

Write a story inspired by a cave.

February- Hannah Lavery

Over breakfast, you said you didn’t care for boat trips and that you hated ‘bloody caves!’

So, I went alone.  When we got there and the music played, I missed you.

When I returned, we had scones and tea.  Singing under my breath, I brushed the crumbs from you.

Write a story involving a watch

March- Jakki Henderson

"But what about the five twenty-five?"
"It's never on time," he'd said and jumped down on to the tracks. 
Retrieving his father's watch which had slipped from his wrist, he looked up at me, triumphantly, waving the heirloom high.
"See, five twen-"


Use a photograph from your own collection to inspire a story. 

April- Melissa Hugel

To: Mom

Subject: RE: Your Father


To: Melanie

Subject: Your Father


It finally happened. Last night at around ten. He didn’t suffer in case you were wondering. The service will be Wednesday at St. Patrick’s followed by a reception at the house. Should we expect you?




Write a story in the genre of Science Fiction inspired by a door sign reading 'No entry, do not knock on this door'.

May- Stephen Burns

He saw the sign; he knocked anyway, and a host of tiny, spidery robots appeared at the other side.  As he turned to run he knew it was already too late as they swarmed through the glass and carefully, thoughtfully, and without any trace of malice, slowly recycled him.

Use commuters on a tube wearing face masks as a prompt.


June- Janet Whyte

Six eyes strippin' me.  

They'd be starin' harder if they saw. 

But lustless and feart.


They leer; gallus wi' masked anonymity.

A smirk creeps under ma cooncil-issue mask, but ah dinnae let it reach ma eyes.

Ah'll keep ma truth hidden.

A duster roon yer gub stoaps nuthin. 

This month, we would like you to set your story in an airport


July- Nadia Naeem

“I’m checked in.” (Don’t cry)

“Gate’s up.” (Smile)

“I should go.” (Stop me)

“Got everything?” (Don’t go)

“Yes.” (Will you call?)

“Have a safe flight.” (Please call)

“Thanks for coming.” (I’ll miss you)

“What are friends for?” (I want to be more)

“Goodbye.” (I love you)

“Bye.” (I love you)

 Use a ringing telephone as a catalyst in your story.

August- Chris Martin

She buried John in the woods, wrapped in his coat.

After what he tried to do, she didn’t owe him more.

What if the police had decided it wasn’t self-defence?

The next morning, after her third shower, her phone rang.

A smiling picture and a name on the screen:



Write a story inspired by a grand house.

September- Jenny Scott

“Isn’t that your house Mr Ogilvie?”

“Hmm… ? No. I’ve never seen that picture before.”

The nurse gently picked up the old photograph from where it lay discarded on the floor and slid it in to her pocket. She’d return it on a good day. 


Write a story featuring a doppelganger.




All-age Category winning story by Georgia Lawe, @georgialawepr

Midnight: up, feed, wind, back down.

2.18am: up, change nappy, feed, wind, sick, clean, back down.

4.45am: up, rock, sshhh, feed, back down.

5.28am: up for the day.


Dress. Clean teeth. Mirror.

Grey. Bags. Wrinkles. Red eyes.

The new me stares back.


Will I ever be me again?


Young Writers Category winning story by Sara Nowak, age 16

He wondered why he'd said 'yes'.

Money. Mrs. Wormwood was rich.

She made him grow a beard. Start smoking. The way he moved, or spoke, or laughed-he had to change everything.

Then, his makeover was complete.

David smiled. He looked in the mirror, and late Henry Wormwood stared back.


Write a story about a superhero



All-age Category winning story by Craig Meighan (

In a phone-booth he gingerly changed his clothes. 

Dr Spikes was at it again. 

Really they should’ve called someone else. But they didn't - they had called Tiny Fragile Haemophiliac Boy and here, at the International Broken Glass and Knife Symposium, he would stop Dr Spikes. 

If it killed him.

Young Writers Category winning story by Taylor Anderson, age 13.

My bloody shoes.

My guilt.

Is this what I had become?

My cape was torn.

My enemy lay on the ground.

Powers and magic had taken over me.

She screamed and shrieked.

As I put my hand up.

Powers shot out.

Her body flew across.

I am not a superhero.


Write a story set in a library.



November- Special Book Week Scotland round

Richie Brown

She smiled. "Did you like it?"

"Couldn’t put it down." he grinned. He hated Hemingway but wanted to get closer to the librarian. He’d checked out five books that week and had received a final warning for reading at work.

"How about War and Peace next?"

His face fell. "Okay…"


Write a story about an unwanted christmas present. 




All-age category winning story by Ian McLaren

Aunt Agatha's Christmas present to Joan was  another seasonal disaster....this time an ugly old china vase.

A charity shop might get a couple of quid for it thought Joan.

Months later a headline in the  local newspaper read .....'Two pound charity shop vase sells at auction for two million...'


Young Writers category winning story by Kieran Kejiou, aged 17

The rabbit. A soft, white toy with a note tied round its neck: 'For your little one'. And it watched her from the table beside her bed, as she lay in that cold ward. Her womb vacated, her arms empty, mourning on Christmas day. Sobbing beneath the rabbit’s gaze.




Typewriter image by Bob Doran from Flickr Creative Commons.