To celebrate the launch of Chris Priestley's new e-book, Christmas Tales of Terror, Bloomsbury's short story writing competition blog, 247 Tales, is running a special Christmas story competition for writers aged 10 - 16. All you have to do is write a frightful festive story in 247 words - or less. And submit it by Wednesday 12th December. There's a prize too. Full entry details are on the 247 Tales blog.
To give you some idea of how it's done, here's a specially crafted 247 tale written by author Chris Priestley:
That end of the park was empty and Lilian’s footsteps were the only ones to trouble the pristine blanket of pure white snow. It was so beautiful, so magical. She was breathless with excitement and, looking back only once at her now distant friends, walked on.
Lillian’s neat and charmless park was utterly transformed. The grim old archway that stood as a lone reminder of the workhouse that had once stood here was smothered in snow and feathery snowflakes fell and tickled her face. Lilian stepped through the arch as though stepping into another world.
The park was unrecognisable here. Lilian felt she was walking through a deserted wood as she reached an area thick with trees where the snow was especially deep and her whispered footfalls were the only sound. She had never thought of the children who lived and died in the workhouse but now they came unbidden into her thoughts. She even thought she could hear them whispering.
Then looking up she saw children sitting in the branches above her head. They looked like roosting owls. They were ragged children, poorly dressed and pale, eerily lit from below by bright snow. Their thin, wan faces looked down at her with large eyes twinkling in the snow light. They bore an expression she thought at first was one of tragic longing, but which she realised too late was in reality some kind of terrible and cruel hunger.
And, before she could even scream, they jumped.
Chris Priestley, (247 words)