In association with Bradt travel guides

Independent on Sunday travel writing competition: Write your way to an inspirational week in Croatia

We have once again joined forces with Bradt Travel Guides  to offer readers the chance to win our travel-writing competition, with a top prize this year of a holiday for two to the Croatian region of Istria. PLUS have your winning story published in 'The Independent on Sunday' and Independent.co.uk

The prizes and how to enter

The first prize is a holiday for two to the beautiful Croatian region of Istria and publication of the winning entry in the travel section of The Independent on Sunday. In addition, the winner will earn a commission from the newspaper to write a piece about their prize visit to Istria. This prize can be won by either a previously published or an unpublished writer.

A special prize will also be awarded to an unpublished writer. This is a place on a travel-writing weekend run by Travellers' Tales, the UK's leading training agency for travel writing.

Every entry to the competition will be entered for the first prize; only unpublished writers will be eligible for the special prize.

To offer this opportunity, we have again teamed up with Bradt Travel Guides ( bradtguides .com), the pioneering guidebook publisher. The competition is open to all writers who are resident in the UK.

The theme this year is "A Narrow Escape". Entries must be original, previously unpublished and based on personal experience relating to the theme. Minimum length is 600 words; maximum length is 800 words. The closing date for the competition is midnight on 2 June.

For full competition rules, go to independent.co.uk/bradtcomp

To enter, go to bradtguides.com/travelwriting

What are the judges looking for?

The writer needs to grab the reader's attention and hold it. The best writers do this so that the reader is hardly aware of the technique. But it's always there, especially in short articles. For inspiration, the shortlisted entrants to our 2012 competition are available at bradtguides.com with details of the next annual Bradt travel-writing seminar in September.

Get started!

The opening sentence. Get this right and you have the reader's attention. Here are some opening sentences from 2012 which caught our eye:

"A big red X was spray-painted onto the side of rusting corrugated iron. I never expected death to be so clearly marked."

"I only had one bullet so I aimed straight between the eyes."

"He glides quite elegantly around the bend, that great blubberish Peruvian in his little yellow pants."

The shape of the piece

Some of the most successful articles start with an eye-catching sentence, as above, and then go back to set the scene and explain how the writer got to that situation. Assuming there's a beginning, a middle and an end, the middle is where you generally find the best descriptive writing. All good writers have the ability to "paint the picture" so that the reader visualises the places and people described while moving forward with the narrative.

The power of the individual sentence or phrase

With only 800 words with which to impress the judges, every sentence carries weight. The following are from the 2012 winning entry, "A Wolf in the Mountains" by Julia Bohanna:

"The donkey has sides like an over-stuffed purse, a trembling mouth and the dark, hopeless eyes of a depressive."

"My donkey has stopped. In a strange hoofy tiptoe he moves – not forward, but sideways – towards the edge. Stones flake from the side and give me an indication of his wish to die."

"That's what wolves do ... they separate the weak and the sick, surround them, and tear off strips of flesh like liquorice. Don't they?"

Wrapping it all up

The closing sentence or paragraph is all-important. It sums up the story, often returning to the opening sentence. Ideally there is something surprising, shocking, moving or amusing about it.

The prizes and judges

Istria

The prize is a one-week holiday for two to Istria, courtesy of the Croatian National Tourist Office ( croatia.hr) and the Istria Tourist Board, returning before 14 June 2014. This peninsula in the northern Adriatic, rivals Tuscany and Provence. Its hilly interior contains medieval villages, olive groves and vineyards; the coastline is never far away, offering pretty coves and hidden bays to explore.

You'll have time to discover the Venetian town of Rovinj and the Roman amphitheatre at Pula, as well as have the opportrunityto enjoy the region's gastronomy – including truffles and just-caught fish. The prize includes return flights, transfers and four-star accommodation, as well as guided tours, and wine and olive oil tastings. The tourist boards will prepare a bespoke itinerary for you, but you will also have plenty of time to explore the area for yourself.

Travellers' Tales

The prize for unpublished writers is a place on any travel-writing weekend in 2013 or 2014 run by Travellers' Tales ( travellerstales.org). The prize does not include transport.

The judges

The judges will include representatives from Bradt Travel Guides, Travellers' Tales and The Independent on Sunday. The winners will be announced at an event at Stanfords, the UK's leading travel bookshop.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    Day In a Page

    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
    How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

    How to find gold

    Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
    Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

    Not born in the USA

    Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
    10 best balsamic vinegars

    10 best balsamic vinegars

    Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
    Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

    Versace haute couture review

    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
    No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

    No hope and no jobs in Gaza

    So the young risk their lives and run for it
    Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

    Fashion apps

    Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy