Have you ever fancied yourself as a writer? Think you have the passion and flair to put together a witty and entertaining piece that people would love to read? We’ve teamed up with Silver Cross to launch an exciting competition for aspiring writers. All you have to do is send us a review of a brilliant family day out, be it a visit to a zoo, theme park, museum or castle, a day at the beach, in the country, or anywhere. There are great prizes up for grabs, and the winning entry being published in a forthcoming issue of Junior magazine. For all the details, visit our competition page.
Here's a few guidelines to help you create a sparkling review:
1) Think about your structure. It’s a good idea to start with a scene-setter and follow up with some basic factual information. Good paragraph links will pique your reader’s interest and keep them reading on.
2) Keep your tone light and entertaining. Use descriptive words to conjure up the scene and use simile, metaphor, alliteration and even rhythm and rhyme. Avoid cliches like the plague (thats' a joke, geddit?). Give it a personal touch with anecdotes about your personal experience.
3) “Write what you know” is a classic rule. So you're a parent, and you know what will interest other parents too, so focus on those areas. Also think about your target audience. In this case, Junior readers, who have children aged eight and under. Think about what will appeal to children across the entire Junior age range, and across both sexes.
4) Focus on the highlights of the day – those moments that stand out in your memory as having made you (and your children) giggle, gasp, groan or squeal with excitement.
5) Don't dwell on the dull details, such as your journey there or buying your tickets. It can be tempting to try to document every step of your experience, but that is less likely to make for scintillating reading. Less is more.
6) Make sure any factual information you include is correct. Check anything you’re unsure of on the attraction’s website, or give them a call.
7) Stick to the word count. Excessive outpourings consume editors’ valuable time, and will only have to be chopped down to size.
8) Try coming up with a headline and sell that both sum up your review in a nutshell and entice your reader in. Supply a few options – a choice is always good. Puns can work well in headlines, but try to err on the side of creative rather than corny (it can be a fine line to tread!).
9) When you’re finished, read your copy out loud. If sentences sound awkward and cause you to stumble, then go back to tinker and fine tune.
10) Always aim to end on a high – a witty and original ending will leave your reader with a feeling of satisfaction, and eager to try your day out suggestion for themselves.