Back in January I was listening to Radio 2 in the car; a real luxury as Reuben normally demands Piccolo’s music. Chris Evans was talking about a children’s competition called 500 words. The kids have to write a story which is, you guessed it, no longer than 500 words. Then Francesca Simon, author of Horrid Henry and one of the judges of 500 words, came on and she was talking about her life growing up and how started writing Horrid Henry. I thought she was the bomb! She came across so well and was really inspiring. So, I did the only thing a self respecting blogger would do and tweeted her up…

500 words competition 2014

I know. Cool. But, get this, she tweeted me straight back!

500 words competition 2014

She liked my lush. Star struck!

Anyway, I thought this sounded perfect for Gabby but she was perhaps a bit young at 7 as the categories are under 9s and 10-13. So I forgot about it especially since we only have her at weekends and they are PACKED!!

Then this week on holiday we had the radio on and again the topic of 500 words came up and Gabby was really interested in giving it a go. With yesterday’s Parenting Styles post in mind, I realise I inadvertently channeled Concerted Cultivation and jumped on this initial enthusiasm. Two evenings of cajoling later and Gabby has written a 500 word story…

500 words competition 2014

I’m massively impressed that a) she just came up with this story all on her own and b) that she really enjoyed the experience. We’ve spent tonight typing up her story ready to enter it in the 500 words competition (Mike wouldn’t let us do it tonight saying she needed to sleep on it incase she gets any more ideas!) and then went on to watch Francesca’s Author’s Live Clip where she read some of her newest Horrid Henry, which thrilled Gabby, and then gave tips for story writing. Gabby was totally engaged, coming up with loads of ideas. It was so nice to do this with her and for her to be so enthusiastic – she isn’t always the most keen to get started on ‘school work’! She even said she wants to start a blog so she can publish a story every week. That’s my girl!

And, I’m going to watch that Author’s Live video again for some tips for myself! I’ve been thinking about writing a children’s story for a while. Gabby’s inspired me so maybe it’s time…