Win a chance of seeing your idea:
We love characters who are ordinary but become extraordinary in some way. We also enjoy great villains. Remember, your characters don’t have to be human and they’ll probably need help from others. What are they called? What do they look like? What do they do?
Yes, it’s for children, but which age group? A romance for teens or a fantasy for 8-year-olds? How do you want your audience to feel along the way?
An idea only becomes a story when something happens. A call to adventure. A personal discovery. A quest or journey. Where does your plot start and end?
The best stories take us to places we might never go. What does the setting of your story look like? And when does your story happen? It could be past, present or future? Just down the road? Or in a fantastical land?
The overall winning story idea, Cardboard Boy, came from Jack Martin. Cardboard Boy lives in a dump. One day he loses his skateboard down a drain. He folds himself up inside a lunchbox so as not to get wet and goes down the drain after it. In the sewer he meets creatures made of rubbish and together they find his skateboard and the way out. The idea will be paired with an author and published as a novel by Chicken House.
will receive £1000 in cash
and the promise that their idea will become the inspiration
for a complete story written by a successful children’s author,
and be published as a book.
The winner will be named alongside the author and offered
an agreed royalty on every book sold. Plus, their story will be
presented for TV, film, theatre and more.
will also win a £1000 cash prize
and the chance of seeing their ideas turned into
a book, TV, film or more.
The overall winner in 2014 was Neal Jackson with his story idea “The First Aeronauts”
Neal’s idea inspired acclaimed children’s author, Emma Carroll, to write Sky Chasers, a richly imagined adventure of friendship, science and bravery. It was published by Chicken House in January 2018.
Orphan Magpie can’t believe her eyes when she sees a boy swept off his feet by a kite . . . or something that twists and dances in the wind. She goes to his rescue only to find herself dangling in the sky. The world looks so different from on high and suddenly Magpie knows what she wants – to be the first to fly in a balloon above the King and Queen of France.
Our 5 Runner-Up winners:
Victoria Anderson with “21st Century Panda”
K.D. Faerydae with “Tropical”
Louise Grieg with “The Brown Dog Affair”
Angela McCann with “The Fandom”
Kathleen Warminger with “Miss Mog”
Angela’s idea found its perfect match with Anna Day, who was shortlisted for the Times / Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition in 2015. The Fandom is a fast-paced, genre flipping YA fantasy-adventure published in January 2018, and the TV and Film rights have been optioned by Fox 21.
Violet and her friends love being part of the fandom for The Gallows Dance. But at Comic-Con, they're somehow catapulted into the story itself – for real.
Trapped in a twisted world where they've accidentally killed the original hero, Rose, there’s only one way to survive: Violet must fill Rose’s shoes and put the plot back on track. No story is worth dying for . . . is it?
Victoria’s idea, 21st Century Panda, has been matched with author and illustrator Sarah Horne and is currently being developed for publication.
With 17 years of TV experience under her belt, Angellica started her career as a presenter on CBBC and has won a Screen Nation Award and a BAFTA nomination. She has since emerged as a significant presenter of adult factual and entertainment programmes including The One Show. Angellica is also known for her ability to rise to the most fearsome of challenges, including 71 Degrees North where she toughed it out in the Arctic for five weeks and Tour de Celeb, where she cycled a stage of the Tour de France despite never having previously ridden a bike. She is also the reigning champion of Celebrity Masterchef.
Neil Blair is one of the most respected agents in the business, having managed J.K. Rowling from the earliest stages of her career to literary phenomenon and trans-media pioneer, and Harry Potter into one of the best-loved and most valuable entertainment brands of all time. Neil is interested in the business of creativity, innovation and brand.
Barry Cunningham is the children’s publisher who first published J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. He now champions new writers and ideas at Chicken House, the publishing house he founded in 2000, now owned by Scholastic Inc. NY. In 2010, he received the OBE for services to children’s literature. He is a father of six and lives in Somerset.
Oliver Hyatt is the MD of Blue-Zoo Productions a business that he set up in 2000. He has created many of the popular brands preschoolers watch today, he is on the board of Alphablocks Limited, and part owner of both Panel Forge a new software company and Nextgen Skills Academy. He is the chair of Animation UK which he set up in 2007, a body that successfully lobbied for tax credits for his sector, he later received an MBE for this achievement - and sits on the BAFTA children’s committee.
Jen Campbell is an award-winning poet and short story writer. She's also the Sunday Times bestselling author of the Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops series and The Bookshop Book. She won an Eric Gregory Award in 2016 and talks about books at www.youtube.com/jenvcampbell.
M.G. Leonard is the author of the best-selling Beetle Boy series. She was terrified of beetles until she realized that these fascinating creatures deserved to be the heroes, not the villains, of the story. Leonard spent her early career in the music industry running Setanta Records and managing bands such as The Divine Comedy. After leaving the music industry, she trained as an actor, dabbling in directing and producing as well as performing, later working for the National Theatre before deciding to write her own stories.