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The 500 Words Blog: Let Your Imagination Play

Tips and tricks to ignite your imagination, and get those creative cogs turning.

Want to take part in the BBC 500 words competition? It's easier than ever!

500 Words judge, Becky Escreet, explains why the competition is for anyone with an amazing idea.

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Finding the SPARK in your story

Christopher Edge, Word Expert at Oxford Universtiy Press, reveals how to find the spark of inspiration.

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Want to be a better writer?

Sue Wilkinson from The Reading Agency reveals how reading can help you become a better writer.

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7 pieces of wisdom from children's authors

Award winning author Jacqueline Wilson popped in to speak to Jo Whiley this week and inspired our pals in Radio 2 HQ to find out what wisdom other amazing others have to share.

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What's it like to take Gold?

What's it like to take Gold at the 500 Words Final and have your story read by David Walliams? 2017 winner, Livia Turner, gives us the goss...

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How to give your story the edge...

How can you make your story stand out from the rest? 2017's Silver Winner, Ashleigh May, has some tips...

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David Suchet reads Ashleigh May's story at the 500 Words Final

India, Imagination and The Story of A Winner

Being honest can be the key to brilliant writing. Hiya Chowdhury, Senior Runner-up in The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition, shares her experience of award-winning writing here.

500 Wondercrump Words

From Agent Wonka to Big Friendly Zombies, snozsprouts to puckleberries, this year’s entrants to the 500 Words competition show how Roald Dahl’s language continues to inspire them.

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What's the 500 Words experience like?

How does it feel to be part of the 500 Words experience? Bronze winner, Evie McKeon, spills the beans...

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Noma Dumezweni reads Evie's story at the 500 Words Final

Superstar Story Writer, Isla Fisher, Talks 'Marge In Charge'

How do you create compelling characters? And make them feel real? Here's a tip or two from a superstar celeb and seasoned story writer...

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Greg James Takes On The Story Writing Challenge

Greg James absolutely LOVES stories. Share his joy of everything fictional in this clip...

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10 Tips To Bring Your Story To Its Perfect Conclusion

So you’ve got a great plot, a perfect protagonist but you can’t quite nail that ending... So, to bring your story to its perfect conclusion, here are some common tricks novelists use to bring their plot to a conclusion. How will your story end?

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Last Words: 10 Great Closing Lines From Literature

So you've written the perfect 10/10 story but your last line is a bit lacking? Nailing the last words of a story can make the difference between a 'wow' and a 'WOW'. Here's how 10 authors have done it previously.

Lucy Worsley's True Tales from The Tower

Historian and joint Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces Lucy Worsley shares some intriguing stories from the Tower of London.

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Getting Your Tale Over The Line; 5 Ways To Find A Story In Sport

Sport has a thousand different stories which you can unlock for your 500 Words entry. Here are just a few (not to copy! But to take inspiration from)

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A Day To Remember: Written by 500 Words Winner Evie Fowler

Our truly talented 500 Words 5-9 category Gold winner describes the excitement of the 2016 500 Words Final.

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A Tour of The Tower in Four Objects

Chief Yeoman Warder Alan Kingshott brought in some props to give Chris a 'show and tell' tour of the Tower, each with their own story to tell.

Read about them here

2016's Terrific 10-13 Gold Winner: Ned Marshall

2016's 10-13 category Gold winner Ned Marshall has some advice for anyone who's still unsure whether they should write a story for 500 Words.

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10 Reasons Why The Tower of London Is Totally Cool

On the 16th June 2017, the world’s biggest writing competition for kids, lands at the Tower of London in a spectacular extravaganza. There’ll be live music, superstar celebrities and sensational stories. The 500 Words Final could be the red carpet premiere of your very own story.

Here are 10 reasons why the Tower of London is awesome – and why you need to be there.

Learning About Writing From 500 Words

Once we can read and write, it all seems quite easy. We might struggle to read or spell some words. We might not always understand everything we read, and sometimes, making our writing say exactly what we want it to say can be tricky. Generally though, we get along just fine. Yet, what’s going on in our minds as we read and write is pretty remarkable. How is it we do it, and how do we learn how to read and write in the first place?

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The Beautiful Game and Other Stories

Award winning author Tom Palmer has some hints on taking inspiration from your favourite sport, to get you over the 500 Words finishing line.

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Alphabot: Mubblefubbles and other Miscellanea from the Middle Ages

Alphabot has jargon buster full of fascinating words from the Middle Ages.

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Thinking About Writing and Writing About Thinking

Jonathan Bryan is an extraordinary 500 Words writer who uses his eyes to select letters on an alphabet board to make words. He uses this system for all of his communication.

Here are his thoughts on story-writing and its importance

8 Helpful Hints from the 500 Words Live Lesson

500 Words judges Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Malorie Blackman answered some of your questions during the special 500 Words Live Lesson.

Watch their answers here

Meeting Your Characters: Girls, Boys and Toads

Writer and storyteller Lari Don shares some thoughts on strong females, scrapping stereotypes and totally different toads.

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Intergalactic Inspiration

Author Christopher Edge was over the moon when he found out that he was nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017, and we were over the moon to hear that 500 Words helped to inspire one of his stories!

Find out how here

Wonderful Word Clouds

Sometimes it's hard to find the perfect word, but thankfully our brainy buddies at Oxford University Press have been busy collecting all of the vocab used in the hundreds of thousands of 500 Words entries.

Take a look for some lexical inspiration...

No Idea Is The Wrong Idea

Losing faith in your story? Worried that it's just not good enough? Don't fret! Little Star Writing wants you to know why your story is unique to you.

Find out why your idea is the right one

Conjuring the Perfect Character with The Worst Witch

Wish that you could wave a magic wand to summon the perfect protagonist for your story? The Worst Witch author Jill Murphy and CBBC series writer Emma Reeves share some of their writing wisdom to help you craft dynamic dialogue, and create characters to enchant your reader.

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How to Scribe a Side-splitting Story

Authors Andy Stanton and Andy Riley have ten tips to help you write a story that will have your reader rolling on the floor with laughter.

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Finding Inspiration From Nature

Step outside with Beetle Boy Author M G Leonard as she encourages you to explore the natural world to find inspiration for your story.

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The 500 Words Story Laboratory: Ten Killer Tips In Ten Minutes

Chris Evans, Francesca Simon, Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Malorie Blackman impress HRH The Duchess of Cornwall with story tips!

Watch the Ten Tips

The Power of Stories

Teacher Lauren Williams has an inspirational story about some of the pupils at Oxfordshire Hospital School.

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A Word From Our Children's Laureate

Children's Laureate Chris Riddell has some scribblings and sketches to kick-start your story.

Take a look

Daring To Deal With Dyslexia

Awesome author and Illustrator Tom McLaughlin doesn't let dyslexia hold him back from writing, and neither should you.

Tom tells us why...

Bedtime Stories

Why a book at bedtime is so important for children's literacy, written by one of our fabulous 500 Words volunteer judges.

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The Fantastic Four

Four famous authors have some words of wisdom for budding young writers.

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The Jury's Out! Plotting Your Perfect Story

Librarian judge Elizabeth Ryan lets us know what features she looks for in 500 Words stories, and what she awards the highest marks to.

Find out more here

Fighting For Gold: Advice From Our Award-Winning Author

We could tell you how exciting the 2015 500 Words Final from St James Palace was, but Gold winning writer Sofia Zambuto could do a much better job (she did come top of the 5-9 category after all!)

Read Sofia's account of the 2015 500 Words Final

The 2015 Golden Girl: A Word From Our 10-13 Gold winner

It's not every day that you have the chance to meet Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall at the spectacular St James Palace, but that's exactly what our 10-13 category Gold Winner got to do at the 500 Words Final in 2015.

Read about Amabel's day

Please Miss, May I Have Some Help?

Teacher and volunteer judge Emma Harris explains why 500 Words provides the motivation to get kids engaged with creative writing.

Read Emma's story

Dyscovering The Wonder Of Words

Do you have specific learning difficulty (SPLD) that can make it difficult to organise and record your ideas in words on paper? If your answer is yes, then you are in good company.

The Dyscovery Centre explain why

Inspiration On Download by George Sear

Presenter George Sear's a bit of a bookworm, but he wasn't always such a big fan of reading. He tells 500 Words how finding the right book for him sparked his love of literature.

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More from 500 Words's top tips for getting going

Need 500 words inspiration? on creating futuristic worlds and getting started. shares his writing wisdom after penning his new novel, War: Wizards and Robots.

John Boyne: "500 Words stories don't need a big set-up..they can just be a moment"

John Boyne: "500 Words stories don't need a big set-up..they can just be a moment"

The author of 'The Boy With The Striped Pyjamas' gives his top tips on writing 500 Words.

Frank Cottrell Boyce's Terrific Tips

Frank Cottrell Boyce's Terrific Tips

500 Words judge Frank Cottrell Boyce answers your questions about writing.

Greg James: Get Reading, Get Writing, Get Inspired!

Greg James - Get Reading, Get Writing, Get Inspired!

Radio 1 Dj Greg James talks about why he thinks it’s important to get writing!

Superstar Sam Smith On Writing From The Heart

Sam Smith - Get Reading, Get Writing, Get Inspired!

“Money On My Mind” singer, Sam Smith, says emotion and life experience helps him write.

Why YOU Should Bother With Books

Why YOU should bother with books!

A sensational selection of famous faces reminisce about their reading revelations.

Paloma Faith On Learning Difficulties And Loving Books

Paloma Faith On Learning Difficulties And Loving Books

Superstar singer Paloma Faith says learning difficulties shouldn't stop you reading.

How does it feel to be a 500 Words winner?

How does it feel to be a 500 Words winner?

Hear from some of the winners, judges and celeb readers at 500 Words 2016 reception

Barney Harwood's Brilliant Binaural Story

Barney Harwood's Blue Peter 500 Words Story!

The captain of the Blue Peter ship has set anchor at 500 Words again with his own story!

Anthony Horowitz Reads His Very Own 500 Words Story!

Anthony Horowitz's 500 Words Story!

An exclusive Horowitz horror for 500 Words!

Charlie Higson's Helpful Hints

Charlie Higson's tips

Charlie Higson explained what he looks out for in 500 Word entries

Brilliant Barney Harwood On His 500 Words Story

Brilliant Barney Harwood On His 500 Words Story

Blue Peter's Barney Harwood shares behind the scenes gossip of his own 500 Words story.

Cerys Matthews sets a 500 Words finalist story to music.

Cerys Matthews sets a 500 Words finalist story to music.

Cerys reads 2015 top 50 story 'Watching the Animals' set to some beautiful music.

Plot perfection with Naomie Harris

Plot perfection with Naomie Harris

Naomie Harris provides plot perfecting tips to polish your story

Amanda Abbington Explores Video Gaming

Amanda Abbington Explores Video Gaming

Amanda Abbington explores video gaming with expert Aoife Wilson

Charlie Sloth & Lady Leshurr Wax Lyrical

Charlie Sloth & Lady Leshurr Wax Lyrical

1Xtra DJ Charlie Sloth and rapper Lady Leshurr wax lyrical about wordplay in storytelling

How to write a brilliant character: Sheila Hancock

How to write a brilliant character: Sheila Hancock

Sheila Hancock gives story writing tips & tricks on the topic of character

Ben Willbond and Terry Deary Explore Originality

Ben Willbond and Terry Deary Explore Originality

Ben Willbond and Terry Dreay from Horrible Histories explore Originality

Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis on Character

Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis on Character

Actor Matthew Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter discusses character