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Mission Catastrophe
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The unthinkable has happened..

A catastrophe so epic it has almost eliminated the entire human race. There are just a few survivors ... will they rebuild civilisation or succumb to Mother Nature, just like-all the others?

Survival Sagas challenges your students to write a mini saga, a story in just 100 words, to tell us how the world ended or introduce us to their post-apocalyptic vision. What catastrophe wreaked this havoc? Why? How?

Students can interpret the theme as they wish, as we love to encourage creativity and originality! From destruction and survival to new beginnings and redemption.

Where will Survival Sagas: Mission Catastrophe take your students' imaginations..?

Mission Catastrophe Mission Catastrophe


  • Only one entry per student, there is no limit to the number of entries per school

  • Independent entrants are welcome, please provide your full postal address rather than the school's details

  • Stories can be on the entry form or A4 sheet of paper

  • Stories must be your students' own work

  • Ensure that all student include their name and age on their entries



For Schools

1st Prize - 1 x £1,000 and the Young Writers' Award of Excellence

2nd Prize - 1 x £500

3rd Prize - 1 x £250

For Students

Our favourite 5 writers will each win £100, a set of 'The Last survivors' books signed by author Susan B Pfeffer and a trophy!

Student winners will be chosen from entries received in the Autumn Term 2018 and awarded in the Spring Term 2019.

Mission Catastrophe Pupil Prizes Mission Catastrophe Pupil Prizes

How To Enter



To see the competition pack, including Full Competition Information, Poster, Lesson Plan, resources, and more… please fill in the short form below. All download links will appear once the form is sent and the links will also be emailed to you.



Request Additional Resources

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Writing Tips

Tip #1

We do our best to make sure we make things easy for you and engaging for your students, so take advantage of what we offer!

Utilise the Free Resources!

  • Call, email or request online additional entry forms, posters or packs for colleagues – they are free and we’ll send as many as you need!
  • Bookmark the video, so it’s ready for your lesson
  • Download the optional lesson plan and presentation
  • Pop the closing date in your diary and paperclip the freepost sticker on that page
  • Follow us on Twitter @YoungWritersCW for tips, ideas as well as to see how other schools are getting involved

We provide everything you need to take part… let us know if we don’t, if something’s missing that would make your life even easier, let us know!

Tip #2

Finding Inspiration

Finding a catastrophe to write a mini saga about is the easy bit – how do students plan their story and then decide which point to focus on for their mini saga?

Research! It always helps to have a bit of knowledge under your belt! We’ve picked some disaster films and books that students can use in their research…

  • 100 Degrees below (film – 12 rating)
  • Life As We Knew It (Last Survivors, #1) by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  • Into The Storm (film – 12 rating)
  • Dark Water Rising by Marian Hale   
  • The Impossible (film – 12 rating)
  • Running Wild by Michael Morpurgo

Set students the task of reading a book or watching a film with a disaster theme and then writing a plot synopsis in 100 words or less – great practise for writing a mini-saga and it will get them in the writing zone!

Tip #3

Let’s check out the past, present and future!

Exploring Time

Time is such a fun concept to play around with. From time-travel to time zones as well as the past, present and future, there is an abundance of ideas to try!

Once students have chosen their disaster, ask them to write their plot synopsis in 25 words max. Now, they choose 2 ways to explore time – this could be setting their story in two time zones, or picking a period in history or imaging far into the future, or using the here and now. How would their story be different if written in either of these styles? Students can jot down ideas or make a mind map to help them.

For example, if a plague hit in 2019 modern medicine and science would save lives, yet if the same plague hit 200 years or more ago or 200 years in the future, the consequences of the disaster would be different. Pretty cool when you think about it!

Tip #4

Some of the best writing comes from the heart…

Get It Off Your Chest

Writing is cathartic, and Survival Sagas: Mission Catastrophe give students the opportunity to be creative and release some emotion at the same time.

If they put themselves in the situation their mini saga is inspired by, how do they feel? Angry? Scared? Bewildered? What would they want to say or do if they knew the world was about to change drastically forever?

Students may end up writing way over 100 word for this exercise, but they can then sit and edit / revise their work. They’ll leave that lesson with a weight off their shoulders and a fantastic bit of writing that is full of raw emotion, powerful stuff for the reader. 

Tip #5

We’re feeling inspired by Christmas so have a tip with a festive twist for you…

Christmas Survival Sagas

There have been some awful real-life disasters that have happened at Christmas time. These catastrophes somehow feel worse when they occur at what is supposed to be a happy time of year, the sense of tragedy is intensified.

This is an opportunity to discuss a real disaster and how it impacted the lives of those who survived and the families of those who were lost as well as what happened afterwards.

If this feels unsuitable or too real for students, then let students be inspired by the weather - the snow, ice and cold, they could turn a winter wonderland into a winter wasteland…


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Contact Us

Young Writers SS
Remus House

Tel: 01733 890066 / 898110
Fax: 01733 313524

Alternatively, you can upload your entries!


Competition Terms & Conditions

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