WRITE ON: Indigo Tomlinson, right, snuggles down with sister Samarah for a good read. Indigo has been keeping up her passion during lockdown, writing lots of stories, and winning a competition for her efforts. Photo supplied

BUDDING young writer Indigo Tomlinson has been doing what she loves most during lockdown – making up stories.

The year 8 Whakatane Intermediate student astounded teachers last year when she got the top mark in New Zealand and the Pacific for the ICAS writing test, an international assessment set by the University of New South Wales across six disciplines in 20 countries.

Indigo said she had been entering the Fabo Story writing competition since she was 10 and was thrilled to have won a competition during lockdown.

“It is done by a group of published New Zealand authors and every fortnight they will post a story starter and then you have to continue the story in 500 words. They have been doing it weekly during the lockdown, so we have stuff to do.”

New Zealand writer Maureen Crisp was the judge in Indigo’s competition, and she said of her winning work: “The winner popped out of 159 entries with impressive style.

“Well done Indigo Tomlinson for continuing the drama of the setting adding in some nice touches, a toy penguin and an Easter egg and the frustration and love of living with a special needs sibling.”

Heather Haylock, Penguin author of the Granny McFlitter series of picture books, said of Indigo’s story: “Brilliant use of similes to tell a tale of rising tension against the backdrop of the rising storm. And I love the tender ending.”

Indigo said she loved writing and entering competitions where she could improve her skills.

“They have competitions all the time and they have a judges’ report so they will write about all the different people whose stories they like and give criticism and comments, so it is really cool and there are prizes and it is really fun. I have won it a few times.”

Prizes include books, and last year as a prize Indigo got to edit and critique an unpublished story by another writer.

“I try entering the Young NZ Writers competition. That was quite hard. I enter Fabo Story lots, these are probably the first competitions I have done and the ones I always come back and really love doing.

“And the judges are really nice, and they are very creative.

“The most recent story starts in this library and when I was writing, the words were just flowing out of me because I was having so much fun.”

Indigo said lockdown was going well.

“We are doing a lot of biking around the neighbourhood. I have my online work and we have a little bell that we ring when it is morning tea and we start the day with mum reading us a story and we sing a little song.”

See https://fabostory.wordpress.com/ for Indigo’s winning story.