Top Tip 1

How to decide what to write about

The competition asks for a horsey theme. Start by thinking about your own experiences. You can simply tell the story of what happened, or you might find it more fun to play about with one of your own horsey memories and turn it into fiction.

If you write fiction, you can write whatever sort of story you want. It can be a chilling horror tale, science fiction full of alien jockeys set on another planet, a crime story where you and your horses come face to face with evil villains. It can be funny or tragic. You can set your tale in the past, the present or the future.

So should you write about something that actually happened or should you make something up and write fiction? You don’t need to decide right away. Mull over some ideas first. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Something that happened at a show or event: Did you win when you least expected to? Did you come nowhere when you expected to win? Was it your first ever show?
  • Your favourite horse or pony: When and where did you meet? How did s/he become your favourite?
  • A favourite ride: Why is it a favourite? What makes it better than other rides?
  • Has something funny, dangerous, peculiar or scary ever happened at the stables or on a ride?
  • Have you ever had a huge argument with someone about anything to do with horses or ponies?

OK, you have some personal experiences to think about, but what will you do with them? Here are a few  ideas:

  • You could write up the experience just as it happened, as a report, an article or an essay. You need to make it interesting whilst giving your readers the information they need. 
  • You could make a story out of your experience. If you won out against the odds one time, you could add in a fictional rivalry and make a dramatic struggle to clear every fence in an all-important jump off.
  • You could take the setting of one of your favourite rides, use the landscape and the bridleways, the gates and hedges, and turn it into a fantasy tale with unicorns where sinister goblins lurk behind every corner.
  • You could use a mix of emotions from your riding experiences and take the whole thing to the bottom of the sea, where magical mermaids and mermen ride seahorses through plains of sea grass and across the coral.

As you think through your ideas, let your imagination run riot. Will your idea work best as a short account of just a few hundred words? Is it full of amazing colour and emotion that would work well in a poem? Are you reaching for the stars and creating a whole new world to write a story that might take the full word allowance of 1500 words?

Give yourself time to let an idea settle in your head. Don’t rush to write up the first thing you think about. It might be the best idea in the end, but think through several ideas and decide which one you really want to write.