Clever Competitions


Introducing Desmond Dog, the latest character in the Chinese Calendar Tales series! Like all Chinese Zodiac dogs, he’s brave, noble and kind, and he LOVES protecting his little village, keeping everybody safe from harm! And of course, his Year of the Chinese Zodiac is just around the corner!

So it’s about time that we had a story writing competition all about DOGS!


This time I want you to write me a story about a typical Chinese Zodiac Dog, like Desmond. I want him to be brave, kind, honourable and above all, DASHING!!


  • a title for your story, the more interesting the better!
  • a Chinese setting – be that a village, a city, a river, a lake, a mountain or even a Chinese planet in the future! So you’ll have to do a bit of research, and make sure to include lots of details which make the setting typically Chinese!
  • a scary typhoon!
  • a flying fish with golden scales
  • a wise philosopher
  • an evil cat
  • the colour mikado – and if you don’t know what colour that is, you’ll have to look it up!

LENGTH: your story must be NO MORE than 1,000 words. If you go over the limit, you will be marked down.


  • a fantastic beginning which immediately grabs my attention
  • an interesting problem or challenge
  • a well-constructed plot where the problem or challenge builds up to –
  • an exciting cliff-hanger!
  • then a good resolution where all the problems or challenges get resolved
  • and, most importantly, a really impressive ending!
  • lots of details about your setting including place, era, season and the weather!
  • lots of details about your characters including appearance, personality, back-story and anything that makes them special!
  • great grammar
  • accurate punctuation
  • wonderful vocabulary including at least FOUR of my Wicked Words (see tab above), used correctly!
  • originality
  • a great style which gives your story that special X-factor!

Please take careful note of ALL the rules above – I’ll use them when I judge the competition to decide the best entries!

FORMAT AND SENDING IN: When you’ve written your story, please:

  • type it up in a Word document or type it into the body of your email – please use Times New Roman font size 12
  • please DO NOT use unusual fonts, boxes or borders
  • add at the end of your story your full name, age, grade at school, name of your school and campus where relevant and the name of your city! Your story cannot be entered in the competition until I have all these details.
  • then send to me by email at
  • please don’t worry about illustrating your story unless it helps your writing process – I’m only looking for great writing so your pictures won’t be included in the judging
  • please DO NOT use toilet humour in your story – I don’t like it and it will definitely lose you marks!
  • please DO NOT copy anyone else’s work, on the internet or otherwise – I always check the finalists’ stories for plagiarism and if I find it, it will be reported to your school and you will be disqualified from entering any of my future competitions.

ELIGIBILITY TO ENTER: All students enrolled in primary school (or being home-educated to the equivalent grade) anywhere in the world are eligible to enter.

JUDGING CATEGORIES: There will be 2 categories: Grades One to Three and Grades Four to Six. I use grades rather than ages as the dividing line as students regularly enter my competition from countries right around the world, in some of which children start school earlier than others, and in many of which English is a second language, which means that children are in primary school at older ages than in English language countries. So the number of years that a child has been in school is the fairest option. Please don’t worry about this! In many of my past competitions it is the younger children in each category who write just as well or better than the older children! Please note that I am the sole judge, and the published results will be final, with no further correspondence being entered into.


  • In each category, I will choose the SIX best stories, which will be published on my blog.
  • The First Place winner in each category will in addition receive a FREE SIGNED COPY of one of my books, sent to their school for presentation in assembly. 
  • The six finalists in each category will be notified by email.
  • The results will be posted on this blog within 30 days of the competition deadline and in my Funny and Fabulous Newsletter (if you would like to be automatically notified, either SUBSCRIBE to my blog OR to my Funny and Fabulous Newsletter – see tab above)
  • All schools of contestants will be notified of the names of their students who have entered and their results within 7 days of the results being posted.

DEADLINE DATE for entering this competition:  NOW EXTENDED TO SATURDAY 31 March!


So get out that paper, pick up those pencils, ready, set, WOOF!!

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