Back to Top

Writing Tips

If you need a little help to get started on your competition entry, we’ve put together some tips for each section of the competition.


Writing an Acrostic Poem


What is an Acrostic?

Acrostics are a fun poetic form that anyone can write. They have a few simple rules.

An acrostic is a poem in which the first letters of each line spell out a word or phrase. The word or phrase can be a name, a thing, or whatever you want to write about.


Usually, the first letter of each line is capitalised because it makes it easier to see the word spelled out vertically down the page.

Acrostics are easy to write because they don’t need to rhyme, and you don’t need to worry about the rhythm of the lines. Each line can be as long or as short as you want it to be.


Creating an Acrostic in Five Easy Steps

To create an acrostic, follow these five easy steps:

  1. Decide what to write about – for this competition, we’ve given you the word BELTIE.
  2. Write your word down vertically.
  3. Jot down words or phrases that describe the subject – for the competition, Belted Galloway cattle.
  4. Place the words or phrases you came up with on the lines that begin with the same letters.
  5. Fill in the rest of the lines to create a poem.

Here’s how to follow these steps for a different subject.


A Milkshake Acrostic

Begin by writing the word “MILKSHAKE” down the page like this:











Next, you want to say something about milkshake in each line. A good way to do this is to come up with lots of ideas, like a list of all the milkshake flavours you can think of: chocolate, strawberry, salted caramel, mocha, Eaton mess. Or words to describe milkshake: light, frothy. Then put them in a list wherever they would fit, like this:











Eaton mess


Not all of the lines are filled in because we couldn’t think of a flavour or words to describe milkshake that started with most of the letters!

Finally, I filled in the missing lines, like this:



Mocha milkshake.

I love milkshake.

Light and frothy.

Kind of like a delicious pudding.

Strawberry or chocolate.

Hundreds and thousands on top.

A straw to sip it through.

Kids would drink it every day.

Eaton mess, my favourite!


Things to Remember

Here are a few things to remember as you begin writing your own acrostics:

  1. Acrostics can be about anything! Why not practice with a word for something you love before you tackle your BELTIE acrostic?
  2. You can use single words, phrases, or even full sentences in your acrostic poem.



Writing a Fictional Journal or Diary


What is a diary?


A diary is a book where someone keeps a record of daily events, experiences, thoughts and feelings. They are personal reflections and reminder about the sort of day they have had. Originally diaries were handwritten but today there are lots of apps and places to type diary entries too, as well as the traditional book format.


Usually, entries begin with the date they are written. An entry can be any length, depending on how much the diarist (the person writing it) has to say about their day. For the purpose of this competition, we’ve given a maximum of 300 words.


Creating a diary in 5 easy steps

To create a diary entry, follow these steps:


  1. Decide a topic.  For the competition we’ve asked you to write as a farmer but will they be an adult, teen or child? Where will they live? What will they be like? What is their name and what do they like or dislike doing?
  2. Come up with the other characters. Think about the important people in their life – family, friends and enemies – they add to an interesting story line.
  3. Propose a basic story line. You can make it about their basic life but try and think of something that makes their life exciting. You might think about a pet/animal, a daily task, family member or friend that the character’s life revolves around and think of a story to tell. Jot down your ideas to begin with and remember you can change them along the way.
  4. Decide the title. And put it at the top of the page.
  5. Start writing. Start with the imagined date of your entry. Think about whether the reader should imagine this is the first entry in your Farmer’s Journal or whether there have been many entries before. Write in the past tense – you’re writing is a reflection of things that will already have happened in your character’s life during that day. Consider if they would sign off their diary entry and, if so, how?



Writing a Short Story


What is a short story?


A short story can be anything from 5 to 5,000 words, but for this competition, we have set the limit at 500 words. A short story is a concise work of fiction (it’s made up) with a fully developed theme but it does not go into great detail like a novel would.


Creating a short story in 7 steps

To create a short story, follow these steps:


  1. Think of an idea. You can write a story based on a real-life experience or something entirely made up.
  2. Create a character and a setting. Who is the main character? Are they an adult, a child or, as it’s A Farmyard Adventure, even an animal? Is the story set on the farm, at the market, or in the farmhouse?
  3. Develop the beginning. All good stories have a beginning, middle and end. Expand on the original idea to set the opening scene. What is special or different about your main character? Maybe it’s a duck who can’t fly, a Beltie who has lost its stripe, or the farmer’s daughter who is allergic to mud!
  4. Consider the conflict. A story with no conflict can be a bit dull. Think about some of the conflicts in your favourite books. Some that spring immediately to mind are: Peter Rabbit and Mr McGregor; Spiderman and The Green Goblin; The Old Man and the Sea. The conflict can be a good place to introduce new characters.
  5. Decide the turning point. This is usually in the middle of the story and helps to make the story more interesting. It can be a eureka moment, when a character discovers a hidden superpower or a surprise that turns the story around. What will your reader least expect?
  6. Identify the resolution. Good stories have a final resolution. How does the conflict pan out? Does the final resolution link to the conflict in the story?
  7. Bring the story to an end. A satisfying ending is the perfect way to finish a story. What happened to the characters once their conflict became resolved? Did they achieve something, or did they learn a lesson? It is, of course, not always a happy ending.