Find Your Form

Are you a poet, playwright, journalist or game designer?

The Orwell Youth Prize encourages writing in all different forms: poems, essays, stories, articles, speeches, scripts, and game designs… but which form is right for what you want to write?

Once you’ve researched your topic, it’s time to start thinking about how to shape all your ideas into a piece of writing. There are different advantages and opportunities offered by all different forms of writing, and we encourage you to take your time, and try out different options, when thinking about which form you want to write in for your Youth Prize entry.

If you’re interested in exploring poetry as a form, Orwell Youth Fellow and 2021 Orwell Youth Prize Winner, Bella Rew, has created this helpful resource about the possibilities poetry gives you… Bella’s Poetry Guide

One place to start is trying out our ‘Find Your Form Quiz’…

For each of 1-4 below, select the statement that most closely fits how you feel. Then count how many of each letter you have chosen. This should give you an idea which way you are tending. Even if you have one each of A-D, just thinking about it will help you decide.



A I feel intense, personal emotion on this topic
B I can hear two characters arguing about this topic
C A neutral, balanced tone and approach are ideal for this topic
D I could best explore this topic through characters and perspectives other than my own
E The most effective way to explore this topic would be to make it interactive, as in the games I enjoy



A What I feel about the topic is complicated, difficult to put into words
B This topic can be explored through people making speeches
C This topic would benefit from dispassionate analysis
D This topic could be explored through the actions and thoughts of one main character
E This topic raises the typical gaming challenge of making choices and decisions



A The sounds and rhythms of the language of this topic are interesting, suggestive, provocative
B I want to explore this topic through action and speech rather than description
C This topic will be well served by precise factual information
D This topic might be best explored through imagining a world different from the ‘real’ world – or the world we’re in now
E I have a strong sense of how I want an audience to feel as they navigate the challenges of this topic



A As I think about the topic, images and associations occur to me
B I imagine this topic being played out in one or two scenes
C I want to know more this topic after further research and explain it to others
D I can imagine a key event or turning point on which I could centre my writing
E I want my audience to help shape the narrative themselves – and for me to provide different options for the direction of a story on this topic


Check the bottom of the page to see which form might be best for you, based on your answers!

On that note, you might like to read our new resource from writer and poet Will Harris – and try some of Will’s challenges.

Finding a form can be all about experimenting and exploring. You might start off writing an article and along the way it starts to become a fiction piece – or you begin a poem and then decide to turn it into a script! Take your time, try out ideas and find what works for you.

To help you with this process, check out our form guides below for more information on the different forms, as well as examples of writing in these forms from professional writers, and from previous Youth Prize winners and runners up.


Guide to Form – Poetry

Guide to Form – Journalism

Guide to Form – Essays

Guide to Form – Short Story

Guide to Form – Drama and Screenplays

Guide to Form – Reviews

Printable – OYP Game Design Template


‘Find Your Form Quiz’ – Responses

Mainly As: try Poetry

Mainly Bs: try Drama

Mainly Cs: try Journalism

Mainly Ds: try Fiction

Mainly Es: try Game Design