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If you have a child between the ages of four and ten, have you thought about encouraging them to submit a travel-themed story and cover image for the Emirates Flight Time Stories competition? The deadline is midnight, 6 Nov, and you can check out the prizes and view some of the stories already submitted here on their new website! (One of them's about Colin the Crab, possibly inspired by the character in Oliver and the Seawigs!)



Emirates asked my co-author Philip Reeve and me to share some secrets to coming up with awesome tales. Here are some of Philip's Top Tips for writing a story!



1. Write about something that really interests you - a setting or an idea that you really love (or maybe really hate!) If you're interested in it, hopefully the readers will be, too.

2. Start with your main character wanting something - they need to go somewhere, or get something, or escape from something, or meet someone. Maybe they're just lonely and need to make a friend, or maybe they want to find some buried treasure. How they get what they want will be your story.

3. But they don't get what they want straight away! There are problems to overcome along the way. Perhaps they meet other characters who help them, or try to stop them. It's like a board game: there's a start point and an end point, and what makes it interesting is the obstacles along the way.

4. Don't worry too much about the words. Just tell the story. Then, when you've finished, go back and see if you can tell it better. Does it make sense? Could it be shorter? Can you make it funnier (if it's a funny story) or sadder (if it's a sad one)?

5. Enjoy yourself. Have fun. Surprise yourself! Writing a story should be a bit like reading a story - you'll want to find out what happens on the next page.

Check back soon for my top tips about drawing a story! And find out more about the competition at emiratesflighttimestories.com.


Read the rest of 10-year-old William Miller's story here