CAN you write a gripping ghost story?
Today we’re launching The News popular Christmas writing competition, when we ask you to think scary and spooky as you pen your own festive tale.
Just like Portsmouth’s literary legend Charles Dickens, who wrote the all-time classic A Christmas Carol, we want you to come up with stories that have a Christmas flavour.
They can be set in times gone by or the modern world. The characters, content and how the storyline develops are up to you.
There are two age categories – one for authors aged 15 and under and one for those aged 16 and above.
We will be publishing the entries of the winners and runners-up in each category in The News in the run-up to Christmas.
There are also prizes to be won.
As well as the thrill of seeing their stories in print and recorded for The News website at portsmouth.co.uk, the two category winners will each get £50 to spend at The Hayling Bookshop.
This award-winning bookshop is one of the last remaining independent bookshops in the area.
It has a year-round programme of author events in schools and for adult audiences.
The bookshop runs Portsmouth BookFest in partnership with Portsmouth City Library Service.
The 2014 festival is running until November 8.
Details can be found at city libraries or portsmouthbookfest.co.uk
Simon Toft, the features editor of The News, said: ‘It’s that time of year again when we ask our talented readers to come up with spooky tales that send a shiver down the spine.
‘We always look forward to reading their festive stories and seeing how creative and indeed, spinechilling, they can be.
He added: ‘Entrants don’t need to be experienced writers to be in with a chance of winning. Some of the best entries we’ve had in previous years have been from people who had never had anything published before.’
How to enter
ENTERING our Christmas ghost story contest couldn’t be easier.
All you need to do is write a ghost story with a Christmas theme.
It must be no more than 1,000 words long and it must be all your own work – but apart from that the content is up to you.
You can e-mail your story to firstname.lastname@example.org; send it via the Share Your Story link on the home page of portsmouth.co.uk, or post it to: Christmas Ghost Story Competition, Features Department, The News, 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour, Portsmouth PO6 3EN.
Please make sure you include your full name, address, age and a daytime phone number. The competition closes at midnight on Sunday, December 14, 2014. The editor’s decision is final.