WE want you to write a story on any subject - but it must be no longer than 1,500 words.
To qualify, you must be aged 16 or over, and live within the Examiner's circulation area.
There's a top prize of £250 for our winner, and the winner, plus runners-up, will be invited to join a one-day writing workshop with a professional author, to help them hone their skills.
Entrants must be prepared to read an extract of their work in front of an audience at Huddersfield University's Literature Festival in March - and they must also be happy to see their work and possibly a photograph in the Examiner, published under their real name.
We reserve the right to edit stories.
Tales can be punchy and dramatic but remember, the Examiner is a family newspaper so don't add too much violence or sex.
Finished stories can be posted to Jenny Parkin at the Examiner, PO Box A26, Queen Street South, Huddersfield, HD1 2TD, or emailed to jenny.parkin @examiner co.uk before March 1.
Please include a covering letter telling us a bit about yourself - full name, age, job, family, how long you've been writing, and how you got the inspiration for your story.
Stories must not have been published before.
PLOT can emerge from what is known as a "dynamic character", that is, a character who changes in some important way between the beginning of the story and the end.
The change can be an emotional one, a change in circumstances, or a change in relationships with other characters.
In this kind of story the focus of the "plot" is the psychological journey the character makes, rather than a sequence of events and actions.
If you try this kind of story, particularly if it's in any way autobiographical, be careful not to neglect the other characters. They need to live and breathe as much as your main character.
* You may like stories with a twist at the end. Be careful not to make a twist at the end the sole purpose of your story. Your readers need to enjoy experiencing the journey as well as arriving at the destination.
In the most general terms, a plot is a sense in the reader that something has happened, something is happening now, and something is about to happen.
Ideally the reader should feel that all these events relate to one another so try to keep focus on what really needs to happen in your plot.
* If you feel your plot is getting too complicated, try making a "storyboard" for it, like film-makers do.
Even if your drawing skills are not good, it can be useful to visualise the situations and what your characters are doing.
This will help you decide if you have enough space in the story to do justice to the plot and to the characters involved in it.
* If you set out your story in large blocks of closely printed text it can make readers feel like they are ploughing through your story rather than being borne along by it.
Insert paragraph breaks wherever you can, avoid overly-long complex sentences and set out dialogue on separate indented lines.
* Even the minor details of a story can help plot-development and that feeling of roundness and unity which readers appreciate.
For example, in one of my stories, stripy mint humbugs reflected the shirts of the sweet factory's amateur football team, which in turn symbolised the theme of the story, which was an exploration of conflicts resulting from people thinking in terms of black and white.
The whole story started simply with the word humbug.
* Whether you plan your plot before starting the story or let it emerge as you write it, the first paragraph of your story is vitally important.
It is the door into the world of your story and you want the reader to push the door open wide and walk in.
When you have drafted the opening to your story, read it and underline the first line you feel really proud of, the first line you feel is really striking.
Cut anything that went before (be ruthless!) and start your story with this line.
This works even better if you can get someone else to do the underlining!