Short Story Competition


The competition is open to anyone who is a student currently attending classes at Virginia Lyons English SchoolThe story must be between 100 and 150 words long. If it is shorter or longer, it will not be accepted.

There are two options:

A – A difficult day

B – An unexpected visit

There are some tips to help you write the story below. Only one entry per student will be accepted. All entries must be submitted on a Word document by email to

The story must be entirely original, not copied or corrected by another person or teacher. By entering the competition, you agree that if you are selected as a winner, we will publish your name and photo on the school website.

The competition closes on Monday 14TH May 2018.

The winning story will be selected by an independent judge The winner will receive a book token for 40€. There are also prizes for runners up.



Writing a good story requires both inspiration and structure.


Read as many short stories as possible and spend time brainstorming before you start writing.

Here are some websites where you can read 100-word stories:


Give your story a title if it has not been given to you. It’s a good idea to write the title in capital letters.  Sometimes it’s better to think of a suitable title after you’ve finished writing the story.

Organise your story into paragraphs, using connectors to link paragraphs and ideas. It’s a good idea to leave a line between paragraphs.


If you are given the first line, make sure that you continue the story logically. If you are given a title, make sure that your story is relevant to that title.

In the first paragraph, you need to set the scene.

What season is it? What’s the weather like? (Describing the weather can help to create an atmosphere)

Who is in the story? Where are they? Decide if your story is going to be written in the first or third person. If you have been given the first line, look carefully to see if you need to continue in the first or third person.

Here are some possible expressions for beginning a story:

It all began….. When I first…..I’ll never forget…. It was a boiling / freezing summer’s/ winter’s day.


Now you need to tell the story.

The story should be told in the past. The most commonly used tenses are; the past simple, past continuous and past perfect.

Use adjectives and adverbs to make your writing more interesting. Some useful adjectives could be: amazing, unbelievable, delicious, tasty, awful, excited, exhausted, filthy  or devastated. Try to avoid using “nice”!  Adverbs such as, unfortunately, luckily, sadly, happily, unexpectedly, or suddenly are useful.

Try to impress the examiners with your vocabulary. Use some less common words and phrasal verbs.

To create suspense you can also use expressions such as:

All of a sudden, without warning, straight away, just at that moment or out of nowhere.

Use sequencing connectors to help the reader follow the order of events.

First, next, after that, afterwards, as soon as, later that day, then, finally, in the end, are some examples.

Including some direct speech can also help to bring the story alive. It’s a good idea to put direct speech on a separate line. Here are some examples:

“I’m coming with you,” she said. or She said, “I’m coming with you.”

“Do you like it?” he asked.

“Don’t do it!” he screamed



In the final paragraph you need to bring your story to a conclusion. You could draw conclusions from the experience or look to the future. How will the events of the story influence future events? What have you learned? Many of the most successful stories have an unexpected ending or a twist at the end.

You could use expressions such as:

In the end, Finally, When it was all over… Eventually, Luckily, That was the day that I realised/learnt that…. Since that day, I have never / always……, I wonder if………, Maybe one day……..



Here is a typical exam question and a model answer.

•  Your English teacher has asked you to write a story.


•  Your story must begin with this sentence:

I felt nervous when the phone rang.

•  Write your story on the answer sheet.



I felt nervous when the phone rang. It was just after midnight and I was trying to sleep. Who could it be? I got up and ran to the phone. However, as I was running, the phone stopped ringing.

I was angry but I decided to go to bed again. Just as I was falling asleep, the phone started ringing again. “Oh my God! This is so annoying!” I thought. This time I picked up the phone quickly and shouted, “Hello!” Nobody said anything at first, but all of a sudden, I heard,  “Happy birthday!”

I had completely forgotten that it was my birthday. My sister was always the first person to phone me.

Submit your story to