The Meeting – Writing Competition for residents of YMCA Humber

May 24, 2020

A writing competition for all residents of YMCA Humber sponsored by local author Tracy Baines is now open.

The theme is simple it is based around how you meet a stranger that becomes a friend.

There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met.

Tracy explains here the background to the competition…
My mum and dad met at the YMCA when they were 15. If they hadn’t I wouldn’t be here. When my dad saw my mum, he said to his friend, ‘I am going to marry that girl.’ And he did. Life changing.

I met someone who changed my life. I read an article in a writing magazine about an author who had written a book to help new writers. There was a photograph of the author and she looked kind, you know how you can just tell that from a photograph? Her name was Margaret Graham. I bought the book and worked through the exercises in it. It really helped me to develop my writing, and I wrote to Margaret and told her how helpful her book had been. I also asked that if she had a workshop near to me in Dorset would she let me know? A few months later she told me of a course she was running in Winchester – not too far away from where I lived. I booked a place and went along. The course was wonderful, and Margaret was just as kind as she looked in her photograph. We became firm friends and she is possibly the best friend I have ever had. She has helped me with my writing ever since and was instrumental in my securing my publishing deal with Penguin Random House.

So that’s the simple story of how I met a stranger who became a friend.

The outline of the competition

Tracy wants to hear your stories of a stranger who became a friend, or of someone you met who changed your life.

Perhaps you would like to write about a person you would like to meet – and tell us why you would like to meet them. Your story doesn’t have to be true – you can imagine your meeting with your stranger. Or leave yourself out of it and write about two people meeting. The friend can be the pillow you lay your head on at night, or a favourite book; it can be a dog or cat, a butterfly, a Martian. In short, you are free to write about any meeting you like!

It’s meant to be fun and she wants you to enjoy the pleasure of writing. If you enjoy what you write it will shine from the page.

The word limit is 500 words.
You can write a story, an article or a poem.

The deadline for entries is 30th June 2020
The winner will be announced on 15th July 2020.

The prize
The winner will receive a £25 Amazon voucher and two runners up will each receive a £10 voucher.

Some simple hints and tips to help you.

Don’t worry about how many words to begin with, just get your story out onto the page. Once your story is there you can change it, lose words or add words. The important thing is to start and keep going until the end.

Think about the five senses. What can your character/person hear, smell, see, touch and taste. You might not need to use all of the senses but it’s good to think about them. It will make the reader see the details of your story more clearly.

Description – what can your character see? What do they look like?

Dialogue brings your characters to life. How do they speak to each other?

Short sentences speed the story along and longer sentences slow the reader down. Use short sentences to create tension or a sense of things moving fast.

Don’t worry about what other people will think. I want to read about how you see the world. You cannot do this wrong you can only do it your way!

Have fun, be playful. Make wild leaps of your imagination if the fancy takes you.

A little about Tracy Baines
My name is Tracy Baines. I was born in Cleethorpes and my family still live here and I visit them often. For many years I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t think I was good enough. But I worked hard at it and I met lots of great people who helped me to believe in myself.
Over time – a long time – my confidence grew, and I began to get stories and article published in magazines both in the UK and overseas. This year my first novel The Variety Girls was published and the second, Christmas with the Variety Girls will be published in October. Both books are set in Cleethorpes and Grimsby during World War 2 and feature lots of familiar landmarks. I used all the things I knew and loved to write about because it made me happy.
I hope in a fun way this competition makes you happy too. Good luck!