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Once Upon a Time – A Global Story Competition

What it’s all about: Create a story about a character that “falls” or “gets sucked” into a book/photo/game/screen, and joins the story! In this new setting, your character encounters unexpected challenges, but with perseverance and the help of friends along the way, they eventually make it back to their old world having learned something valuable about themselves.

Ages: 6 – 116 (that means it’s open to anyone!)

Length: 800-1000 words

Submit to: Via plain text document to

Deadline: 31 March 2022

Prize: Your own storybook – printed and illustrated – sent to you!

Below is a brief synopsis – please make sure to look at the full competition details here.


Once Upon a Time is a global story competition sponsored by Woodland Star International School Kenya. Everyone from ages 6-116 is invited to participate! The focus is on the following three things, which we believe can make the world a better place:

1. Creativity … will help us look at the world, each other, and problems to see more possibilities and connections.

2. Problem-solving … will help us solve the problems that we have in new and different ways that will change the world for the better.

3. Stories … can bring a new perspective, bring us together, and makes us a stronger world community.

1. The Problem

Your story-writing problem is to create character that “falls” or “gets sucked” into a book/photo/game/screen, and joins the story, overcoming a personal problem or weakness in the midst of a world catastrophe. This transformation brings about positive change for the character’s community or even solves a problem for the world!

This is the essence of the problem.

2. Conditions

The word limit for the story is 800 to 1,000 words.

The story must be an original one; plagiarism will result in immediate disqualification.

3. Limitations & Guidelines

  1. Demonstration of the “essence of the problem”
  2. Story requirements:
    1. A character who gets sucked into another story.
    2. A set of unexpected obstacles they face in the new story.
    3. How friends along the way help the character to overcome the obstacles.
    4. How the main character is brought back into their old story.
    5. How the main character has changed for the better or the lesson the main character learned and how they will apply it in their old story/world.
  3. Story elements:
    1. Setting and other characters
    2. Problem/resolution
    3. Beginning, middle and end

Submit my story

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