CAN you write a gripping ghost story?
Today we’re launching The News’s 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 lead-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.
The award-winning bookshop is one of the last remaining independent bookshops in the area and has a year-round programme of author events involving 20,000 children in schools and also for adult audiences.
The bookshop runs Portsmouth BookFest in partnership with Portsmouth City Library Service. In 2017 it will run from Monday February 13 to Sunday March 5.
Simon Toft, features editor of The News, said: ‘It’s that time of year again when we ask you to come up with spooky tales that send a shiver down the spine. We always look forward to reading your festive stories and seeing how creative you are.’
Your story must be no more than 1,000 words long and it must be all your own work. You can e-mail it to email@example.com or post it to: Christmas Ghost Story Competition, Features Department, The News, 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour, Portsmouth PO6 3EN.
Please ensure you include your full name, address, age and a daytime phone number, plus the category you are entering. Closing date is midnight on Sunday, December 11, 2016. The editor’s decision is final.