THREE girls have won The Herald Taylor Wimpey children's story-writing competition and been awarded prizes including iPads, books and a total of £1000.
Thousands of entries were received and the judges were impressed by the ability of young writers to entertain, move, surprise, describe and evoke a wide range of worlds and situations. However, the winners stood out for their story-telling skills and distinctive voices.
The overall winner, 16-year-old Theresa Peteranna from Inverness, created a beautifully illustrated, haunting version of the Kelpie tale, Two-thirds, after being inspired by Andy Scott's Kelpies in Falkirk.
She has already penned three books and has been writing since she was about 11, keeping journals and penning fantasy fiction. Her story demonstrated a powerful visual imagination.
Ten-year-old Marni Robertson was a runner-up and winner of the 9-12 age category, with Extraordinary, a quirky and comic story of a flying pig who struggles with the fact that he is different. Her tale was triggered by a screensaver one her friends had on an iPod. Mostly, she said, she loves writing poems, about hedgehogs.
Winner of the 5-8 age group was seven-year-old Daisy Johnston, whose story The Fountain's Revenge describes what happens when the dragons on a fountain decide the kids playing around it have been making too much mess.
Read the winning entries here
"I know, we could make the whole swing park invisible," declares Dora dragon, "to get our revenge."
Audrey Ross, a judge of the competition and sales and marketing director for Taylor Wimpey West Scotland, said: "Both myself and my colleague Karen Armstrong were incredibly impressed by the quality of the writing that we saw in this year's short story competition, and we were both overwhelmed by the numbers of entries. It's thanks to each and every one of the children who took the time to be inspired to write a story that our job was so hard to select the three best."
Helen Croney, judge from the Scottish Book Trust, which gave books to the winners, said: "Rating creative writing is very difficult, especially when it comes to children's stories, which are often full of wonderfully inventive ideas.
"This competition featured a very high standard of entries and those who were not shortlisted should not be downhearted - there were many strong creative voices in amongst the submissions, and the best way to develop your creativity is to write, write and write some more."
To read the winning stories in full, visit www.heraldscotland.com