Once upon a time ...last year in fact, the National Literacy Trust set a competition for writers to submit a modern take on a traditional fairy tale, up to 4,000 words. I'd had great fun already playing around with the story of Cinderella, but hadn't got a finished story, so I took the opportunity to set upon it with gusto. I have to say that I was flagging, not unlike Cinderella at the end of a long day at the coal face, by the time I had finished editing and re writing several times. I actually got quite fed up with it to be totally honest, and by the time I sent it off, of all the competitions I had entered last summer, it was the one I had least expectation of.
I was gobsmacked then to be long listed by the NLT. Although I didn't make the final stage, I was quite chuffed. Looking back I have tried to identify why this story was more successful. I think maybe it was because I loved Ellie, my recreation of Cinderella. she is the opposite of the original, a clumsy tomboy who doesn't give a fig what others think about her, and likes her food. I could really visualise her and hear her voice. I got to play around with rhyme, alliteration and fairy tale descriptions and exaggerations. it was good to write a funny and happy ending too. Anyway, it certainly taught me to persist in honestly evaluating my work, asking for help from writers I respect - thank you, you know who you are, and putting in the effort as well as having fun.
I have to do a plug too for the National Literacy Trust https;//literacytrust.org.uk which does amazing, innovative work with schools.
Karen lives and works in Bridport Dorset. She is currently working on her third book in the Abbotsbury Series, books for children aged 8-12.