Wednesday, December 14, 2011

TROFEO! The Winter Challenge!!

With the grand success of BANG! The literary Challenge!! behind us, we at Zealot Readers announced the launch of the X-mas challenge!

The theme was FANTASY and the dream destination was : The Fantasy Destination Here .

Our Esteemed Judges :

1) Ms. Roopa Pai - A well known name in Indian kidlit world. She mesmerized the young readers with her Sister, Sister (Eureka series, by Pratham) books and then with the Taranauts books (

2) Mr. Manish Verma - A great orator, a member of faculty for many management institutes besides leading an IT company. 

3) Mrs. Neena Aggarwal - Very senior English teacher at a leading school of Noida. 

We thank our esteemed judges for their invaluable comments and rating points that will go a long way in motivating the participants and for announcing who the winners will be.

QUESTIONS/ QUERIES/ COMMENTS: e-mail Vaishali Sethi or  email Vibha Sharma

The winners and their winning entries are:



Vidhi Sethi
The Three Shadows 

Once upon a time, there were three extremely arrogant shadows. They would always trouble all the people whom they met. One day when they were hovering in the graveyard, they suddenly found a fork lying on the ground. The trio was surprised that in such a cold weather the fork was very hot. The shadows did not understand what to do with it. After sometime they decided to take the fork with them. Next day while they were hovering on a dusty lane, they saw a small patch of grass. They were surprised that in the whole dusty lane, it was the only little patch of grass, that too in the shape of a lock. It so happened that the fork that the shadows that the shadows had found in the graveyard and had been carrying all along fell on the green patch. As the hot fork touched the grass, it melted like hot molten chocolate and lo! The magic lock cracked open! The grass slowly disappeared and cleared the way for a small tunnel from which a good fairy came out. She had an oversized boot in her hand. She gave the boot to the three shadows. Now wherever the shadows went, the boot also went with them. Even when the three of them were away from each other, the boot would break into three parts and follow them individually. Now with the boot trailing them always, whenever the trio tried to do anything wrong, a voice from the boot would scold them loudly. They were not able to do anything bad now. They transformed into three good shadows. The fairy again appeared. This time she had a magic button in her hand. She pressed the button and wind started blowing. Suddenly, the three bad shadows transformed into three good humans. They thanked the fairy and went away. 

Judge 1: Mrs. Neena Aggarwal
Rating : 6.

Judge 2 : Mr. Manish Verma
Rating : 6
Comments : There is a good flow to the story. The boot is like conscious that is awakened by fairy’s touch which first prevents the shadows from doing anything wrong and then helps them become humans. Good strong message.

Judge 3 : Ms. Roopa Pai
Rating : 7
Comments : 
The good stuff:
I like the visual image of the grass lock melting like chocolate when the hot fork falls on it, and the image of the tunnel opening up under it. I like the idea of a conscience following the shadows around.
The ‘to-work-on’ stuff:
• The plot leaves things unexplained – for instance, in what way did the shadows trouble people?
• Plot should have a logical sequence – for instance, you cannot say that the shadows were surprised that the fork was hot in ‘such cold weather’ without mentioning before that it was cold. You could say ‘One bitterly cold day when they were hovering…’ instead of just ‘One day when they were hovering…’ Also, you say the shadows thanked the fairy for turning them into humans. This would work better if you had mentioned earlier that they wanted to be humans. Maybe the shadows troubled people because they were jealous that they were human!
• Words could be more appropriate – in the first line of the story, you say the shadows were arrogant and that they troubled people. Don’t you think ‘mischievous’ or ‘annoying’ would be a better word for someone who troubles others?

Total Rating : 19.5 (out of 30)

ZR Thinks : Wow! Lovely imagination and the way you have brought the message ‘goodness triumphs always’ is wonderful. You are indeed a budding author in the making. Keep writing and keep enjoying.


Akriti Bali
The Secret Of Dusty Lane 

There once lived a good fairy named Tinker. She was very good  and kind, but she lived in a dusty lane. She wanted to do something about the dusty,musty lane.One day she saw three shadows,who were wearing oversized boots! These three shadows were sent by a bad witch, called Wilycobra. She wanted to get the book which contained the most difficult spells,which Tinker had. It was given to her by the queen of good faries called fairy Moonlight. Fairy Moonlight got to know about the three shadows. She told Tinker about this. She gave Tinker a magic lock and told  Tinker a plan. Tinker listened very carefully. She took the magic lock  and went home. She saw the  three shadows in her house. She took the magic lock and  pressed the magic button. Wilycobra and her full team was caged and  then all of a sudden the cage and all the bad witches vanished! Hurray! The faries have won! Now the book was safe inside Tinker's magic house. Tinker promised to be careful next time Fairy Moonlight granted Tinker a wish. Tinker wished "I want the dusty lane to become beautiful ." With this  the dusty lane was converted to the most beautiful lane in the world . 

Moral : Do not be careless .

Judge 1: Mrs. Neena Aggarwal
Rating : 6

Judge 2 : Mr. Manish Verma
Rating : 5
Comments : Good story flow. The plot is too simple.

Judge 3 : Ms. Roopa Pai
Rating : 8
Comments : 
Good Stuff : Well-written story. I like the way Tinker gets her wish in the end. I love the name of the witch. I like that the word limit has been respected.
The ‘to-work-on’ stuff: Sentence logic: You say ‘Tinker was very good and kind, BUT she lived in a dusty lane’ – the two parts of the sentence are not really related. Wouldn’t it work better if you said “Tinker kept her cottage spotless, but she wished she could do something about the dusty lane in which it stood” or ‘Tinker was a cheerful soul, but her happy smile went away whenever she looked out of her window and saw the dusty, musty lane outside.’
Plot logic: The plot of the story should have a logical sequence. For instance, you must say in the beginning of the story that Tinker had a very special book in her house full of the grandest, rarest magic spells BEFORE you mention that Wilycobra had sent the shadows to steal it.

Total Rating : 19 (out of 30)
ZR Thinks : Lovely imagination but spending a little time in editing after writing the story would surely take it to a really good level. So keep trying and keep writing. Good luck.



Abhinav Behl
Percy's Wish 

 My name is Percy Jackson and tomorrow is my birthday. It was almost midnight. Suddenly I saw a flicker of torchlight on my window.  
 Percy thought it must have been a star or firefly. But in the morning it was still there. "That's odd", he thought when he found the light shimmering on the oven. "It's time to put the cake in the oven, “said Percy's mom. Percy was eventually wrapped up in his birthday party with his friends that he didn't even know when the oven let out a "DINK" which meant that the cake was finished baking. But when Percy was about to blow out the candles, he noticed the cake was glowing. He thought that maybe the cake was like that, so he made a wish to be a Greek God of Mt. Olympus some day. Suddenly a glow of yellow light filled the air, but in a split second the glow was gone. Percy thought that nothing happened until he looked at his clothes. He was wearing white armor. He then started to grow! He grew to 20 ft. just like a real Greek God! He never knew that the cake was magical. Then he remembered that little light on his window and his oven. Out of nowhere, Chiron, a horse-man (and Percy's friend) appeared. “You are the God of Air,” said Chiron, “You must head over to Mt. Olympus because you’re needed there. So Percy went to Mt. Olympus where all the other Gods stayed. When Percy got there, he went to the Great Hall. 
 All the Gods were in the Hall. Percy found a seat that said "GOD OF AIR". When all the Gods saw Percy, they started telling him about a war that was going on. It was Gods vs. a BIG monster. Percy saw the monster through the window. A few Gods ran outside to fight the monster and Percy was also sent to battle the beast. He was given a sword for fighting the monster. After what felt like five hours, because it was, the monster was defeated. Percy was so sore he almost couldn't walk. He never knew that being a God was so tiring. That night Percy was informed that the evil Titan Lord, Kronos, was attacking Mt. Olympus. But Percy didn't want to fight in this battle. He was too tired to do anything after the monster was killed. But there was no choice. He had to fight in this battle. So Percy and the rest of the Gods went to fight Kronos. After many days of fighting, Kronos was finally defeated. Now, Percy was fed up of being a God. He decided to just go back home. 

 At home Percy met his mother. She was very glad to see him after a very long time. Percy just wanted to take a nap on the sofa. But when he passed by the kitchen he saw the light still on the oven. "Percy, there is a light on the oven, do you know anything about it?" asked his mother. Percy had a plan to conclude his God life that he couldn't even answer his mom's question. He thought that if he could wish to be a God, then he could also make another wish to be a regular boy. So he told his mom to bake another cake.  
 After an hour or so, the cake was done baking. Percy's mom put a candle on the cake and lit it with a match. He wished for everything to be normal just like it used to be. Then there was another glow of yellow light that filled the air and soon it was gone. Percy's white armor vanished and he became a regular human-sized boy. Just to make sure that the wish came true he asked his mom if he was a God and she said "no" which meant Percy was a boy once again! 

 And from then on, whenever Percy had his birthday party and the light was on the oven he was careful never to make a wish that would change his WHOLE life.  

Judge 1: Mrs. Neena Aggarwal
Rating : 6.5
Judge 2 : Mr. Manish Verma
Rating : 7
Comments : Interesting plot. The moral of the story is also good. You are best where you are and how you are. Things look great from distance but may not necessarily be so when seen from close.
Judge 3 : Ms. Roopa Pai
Rating : 7
Comments :
The good stuff : I like the fact that the story is an original take on a popular series. It is also well-written.
 The to work on stuff:
• Word limit: The story has well exceeded the specified word limit.
• Plot logic: If you start the story with ‘My name is Percy Jackson’, you should continue the first-person narrative throughout without switching suddenly to third-person.
• Adapting / spoofing a popular series: This is very very hard to do well, and I would generally recommend that you come up with your OWN original story rather than piggybacking on someone else’s. You could use the Percy Jackson idea, of course – how about if your character’s name was Paresh Jaikishen and he became Hanuman when he wished to be a god?

Total Rating : 20.5 (out of 30)

ZR Thinks : WOW ! You are our winner. So this clearly means, there is a budding author in the making. Now what you need to do it to keep imagining and keep writing.


Shabi Singh
"...there was eerie silence and a smoky figure appeared outside the window of my room, it was late in winter night and I had just fallen into my bed, I ignored it and quickly fell asleep. After some time, I woke up hearing a knock on my window and saw the same smoky figure standing outside. This time I decided to find who the person was.  

That mysterious figure disappeared as soon as I got out of my bed, the stillness of the time caught me for a moment and I thought maybe I should go back to sleep but what if that figure appear again, I quickly put on my jacket and canvas and rushed outside "pheww...its so damn cold" I cried, while looking for the person but did not succeed. Then suddenly I heard sound coming from the roof. I quickly ran upstairs thinking to catch the stranger but to my amazement I saw my friend standing. 

"Sam..!! u r too much to handle..." I cried, "what’s ya doing on the roof of my house" I demanded.  

She came near me and said "would you like to check out that so called 'haunted house' two blocks away", "remember you said we would go together"; 
"Sam it’s late in the night and I decided to go in the day and.....” 
"O come on! Don’t be a chicken, now is the time, it would great as no one will be there... spooky things don't happen in day....come Jack" she said.  
Maybe she was right so I decided to go. The house looked so scary and spooky in the moonlight. I zipped my jacket up to my chin and started towards the house. Halfway up to the house I tripped over a rock; hitting my head and went dizzy.  
I woke up with a burning sensation all over my body and to my horror I realized I was lying on fire flames. Suddenly someone hit me on my back, 
“Get up you rascal! You have work to do” said a man looking like a monster. I asked him where I was, “its Hell!! you fool” he barked. 
I was so horrified that I closed my eyes and started screaming..... 
When I opened my eyes I was lying in my bed sweating, with my brother staring at me. Oh! What a relief it was on realizing that it was a nightmare. 

Judge 1: Mrs. Neena Aggarwal
Rating : 6.5

Judge 2 : Mr. Manish Verma
Rating : 4
Comments : The story does not build completely. What happened to the smoky figure, what was there in the haunted house? The plot is incomplete.  Generally a story should have a plot, a beginning an end and some interesting event in between. The language used is good, vocabulary is good!

Judge 3 : Ms. Roopa Pai
Rating : 7
Comments :
The good stuff : Lots of action in the story, the pace never flags.
The ‘to work on’ stuff:
• Punctuation, capital letters, sentence construction: One of the hallmarks of good writing is proper punctuation, and knowing when to split a sentence into two. You can learn this by noticing how good writers do it when you are reading their books. For instance – She came near and said, “Would you like to go and check out the so-called ‘haunted house’ two blocks away? Remember you said we would go together?” – is the correct way to punctuate that sentence in the story.
Using accents: If you are going to make Jack say, “What’s ya doing on the roof of my house?” he should always speak in that accent. He can’t say “Sam! You are too much to handle!” He would have to say, “Sam, ya’s too much to handle!” On the whole, I would advise not to venture into accents in dialogue unless you know an accent very very well yourself.

Total Rating : 17.5 (out of 30)

ZR Thinks : Great attempt but try editing the final piece of writing. 


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