National Writing Day challenge

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Today you'll practice your creative writing skills by taking part in the National Writing Day 24/7 writing challenge.

You will need:

  • paper

  • a pen or pencil

  • something to time yourself with

Created in partnership with National Writing Day

The 24/7 challenge

It’s National Writing Day today and the aim is to get everyone writing creatively!

Get inspired to get writing!

You are going to take part in a 24/7 challenge.

There are just three rules:

1. You are going to write a brilliant 24-word short story.

2. Your story must start with the words ‘One day’.

3. You will write it in just 7 minutes!

It’s a challenge, but don’t worry – this lesson will guide you step by step so you’re ready to make the most of those precious 7 minutes!

Learn

Use fronted adverbials in your writing to make it more interesting. Watch this video to recap what fronted adverbials are.

Learn about how to use fronted adverbials.

Fronted adverbials

Adverbials are used to explain how, where or when something happened.

She started writing, with a smile on her face.

‘With a smile on her face’ is the adverbial.

With a smile on her face, she started writing.

A fronted adverbial is when the adverbial word or phrase is moved to the front of the sentence, before the verb (the action word). So here, with a smile on her face is now a fronted adverbial.

Check your understanding of fronted adverbials by tackling this quiz!

Metaphors and similes can also bring your writing to life. If you need a reminder of metaphors and similes, watch this video.

What are metaphors and similes?

What is a metaphor?

A metaphor is a word or a phrase used to describe something as if it were something else:

  • For example, a wave of terror washed over him.
  • The terror isn't actually a wave, but a wave is a good way of describing the feeling.
  • Jess is dynamite.
  • She's not made of dynamite, but it's a way to explain how exciting she is.

What is a simile?

A simile describes something by comparing it to something else, using like or as:

  • The snake moved like a ripple on a pond.
  • It was as slippery as an eel.
  • Jess is as graceful as a gazelle.

Try using metaphors and similes to make your own poetry or other writing more descriptive and interesting.

Get writing!

Before you get started, listen to this advice from childrens' author
Frank Cottrell-Boyce.

Advice from author Frank Cottrell-Boyce.

Activity 1, Part 1: 'One day…'

  • Make a list of all the times when something in your life changed for the better.

It could be anything - the day your sibling was born, the day your tooth fell out and you got a pound, the day you met your best friend… let your memory roam free!

  • Now, make a separate list of 4 or 5 objects that you think of as valuable or precious.

The objects you choose can be anything! They might be valuable (like a crown) or things that are specifically precious to you (like a photograph of you and a relative).

  • Next, think about your chosen objects and what makes them special.

For example, a crown is shiny and beautiful, it glitters in the sun, it makes you feel like a queen or a king!

Part 2: Play with your ideas

Play around with interesting sentences which are made from a combination of the things that changed for the better, things that you think are precious and metaphors or similes. Start with the words ‘One day’. For example:

  • One day I met my best friend and we glittered in the sun.
  • One day my brother was born, and the world was shiny and beautiful.
  • One day my tooth fell out and the pound under my pillow made me feel like a king.

Activity 2: Flesh out your writing

It might be the case that you really like one of the lines you’ve written.

In this case, take that line, add to it and edit it for only 7 minutes.

Don't worry when you time yourself, this isn't the full challenge yet!

For example, the line:

One day I met my best friend and we glittered in the sun.

Might turn into:

One day I met my best friend and we glittered in the sun. Our fun sparkled like a summer sea lapping against the shore.

But what if you like lots of your ideas?

  • You might find that you really like the combination of different lines that you’ve written.
  • Try turning those into a poem or very short story instead. You’ll have to be very precise about what words you use!

For example:

One day my friend glittered in the sun, my baby brother made the world shine, and a small coin built me a sweet kingdom.

Super challenge

Can you include a fronted adverbial within your 24/7 challenge?

Top tip!

Remember, don’t be afraid to make mistakes! When we’re writing creatively, we can be as experimental as we like. Explore new vocabulary, unusual grammar or phrases.

Activity 3: Challenge time!

Now you’re ready to take on the 24/7 challenge!

You’re going to use the ideas you came up with in Activity 3 to create your own brilliant short story!

Surfing dog.

Imagine one day in the life of this dog. First, note your ideas down.

Can you write a 24/7 short story or poem about ‘one day’ in this dog’s life? Remember to use the rules of the 24/7 challenge!

Example

One day, I saw a dog surfing, as cool as a cucumber, gliding across the waves. Until… with a splash, he fell straight in!

Remember:

  • Your story should only be 24 words long.

  • It should start with the words ‘One day’.

  • It should be written in 7 minutes. Set yourself a timer!

Top tip!

  • The most important thing is to have fun! This is about trying something new and enjoying writing creatively. Don’t worry if you make mistakes, just have a go!

Great work!

Well done for having a go at the 24/7 National Writing Day writing challenge!

If you like, why not share your work on National Writing Day using the hashtags #247challenge and #NationalWritingDay.

There's more to learn

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National Writing Day 2020