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April Showers Writing Contest
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Night Queen
Night Queen
Old Shoe

Apr-2-2012 22:31

April Showers Writing Contest

When: April 16-20
Prizes: For 1st and 2nd places.

Who: Everyone is invited. The more the merrier. The Unsubscribed may join and even win, but prizes will be withheld until you subscribe (before May 1, 2012). The Subscribed may join AND you may enlist to be a judge by April 7.

1) Detective Biography writing.
2) Creative writing. This category will NOT be graded on spelling or grammar.
3) (Optional) Case Intro writing " only if I can get 2 more judges by April 7.

Needed: 2 Judges. Please note that you may be judge and still enter the contest. Just not within the category you enter.
Contestants may enter more than one category.

Judges so far include:
Night Queen
Cordelia Falco
Lady Jas
Summer Daze

Stay tuned for the rules for each category. Everyone please sign up!


Oscar Meyer
Oscar Meyer
Con Artist

Apr-2-2012 23:00

Can't wait for this contest!! WOOOHOO!!!!

Night Queen
Night Queen
Old Shoe

Apr-2-2012 23:16

Detective Biography Rules

Contestants will NOT be writing their own bios. There will be 4 special detectives introduced on April 16. Each contestant will choose one, and only one, bio to write. Just choose from any one of the special detectives. Each of these 4 detectives will have the following parameters:
1) Name
2) Gender
3) Ethnicity
4) Age
5) Weight
6) Height
7) General physical description
8) Strengths
9) Weaknesses
10) Languages Spoken
11) Sleuth Traits

On April 16, these names will be revealed on this thread. You will have to search for each detective and determine which one of the four you will write about. There will be 2 male and 2 female detectives given.

Writing Criteria:
• You must use the parameters given, but it is not necessary to use all of them. You may not contradict the information given. You may introduce new information about the detective as long as it does not contradict what is given.
• Grammar counts.
• Spelling counts. If you must misspell a word, use [sic] so that it will not count against you.
• Creativity will count the most.
• You are limited to the same number of words as on any message post.
• Only one submission per contestant. If someone submits more than one, the first one will be the one considered. The judges will not look at subsequent submissions.
• Try to use active case and avoid using passive case when possible. For those who don’t know what this means, I will provide some examples later on in this thread.
• Avoid pronouns when possible, we prefer nouns instead. Just use your best judgment.
• Try to be as descriptive as possible.
• Entries are due by the end of the sleuth day of April 20. Late entries will not be accepted.
• Each entry must be posted on the message board thread for this contest.
• It is suggested that entries not be posted until April 20. You don’t want to give others your ideas.

There will be three judges for this category with a sum total per contestant.

Night Queen
Night Queen
Old Shoe

Apr-3-2012 09:15

Creative Writing Rules (partial)

Because we want each contestant to have the same amount of time to write their theme. The description of the themes will not be given out until April 16.

But! I can say that we will NOT grade on either spelling or grammar!

Are you creative? You can win. English is not your native language? You can win. Did poorly in school? You can win.

Just make it interesting! Funny is good. Poetry is good. Action is good. Descriptiveness is good. Usage of a big vocabulary is good.

Offensive language is not good.

There will be 3 judges for this category, the scores from each judge will be added for a final tally.

Tome Raider

Apr-3-2012 09:24

Really looking forward to this contest!

Dedektif Cingot
Dedektif Cingot

Apr-3-2012 11:09

About creative writing: What is the scope of all that one can cover in this one?

And why is the usage of passive conjugation/voice whatever as well as pronouns being considered as "not creative?" Is it because doing so would not fit in the Noir theme or something?

Night Queen
Night Queen
Old Shoe

Apr-3-2012 23:09

Great questions Dedektif.

It has nothing to do with any Sleuth Noir theme. Simply, pronouns are boring. It does not mean they are banned from this contest. It simply means you are encouraged to use a noun whenever possible. Also, the reader has to be made very clear as to who or what the pronoun refers to. Pronouns tend to be ambiguous and vague. Not a good recipe for winning a writing contest.

As for active versus passive voice, active is much more interesting to read. Engineers and lawyers like passive voice, but you would fall asleep reading anything they wrote. Like pronouns, passive voice is not banned from the contest. Just mazimize using active voice if you want to win.

Another thing about passive voice. Since there is a limit on the number of words you can submit, active voice also tends to reduce the number of words in a sentence. For example, compare the following sentences:

"Keeping track of time was lost by the detective."

"The detective lost track of time."

Another example:

"The bank tellers were carefully watched by the villain."

"The villain carefully watched the bank tellers."

I hope these two examples are illustrative enough. The active voice yields just that--action--and the active voice shortens sentences. You will be surprised how fast it is to eat up your alloted amount of words.


Apr-4-2012 01:30

Great idea again NQ! I would like to enter this contest in the biography section of it. I am not subscribed now, but hope I will be till beginning of May.

Dedektif Cingot
Dedektif Cingot

Apr-4-2012 14:47

@NQ: I can see how active voice can minimize the number of words in a sentence and help use the allotted space efficiently.

But efficiency is not the same as creativity, which you already know, and in those examples you have given, specifically in the second one, actually we see that the narrator emphasizes different parts of a sentence.

It's not because I have something in mind that's to be written in passive voice but because I find it needlessly restrictive to one's imagination. Sometimes people like to change their narration from x person's to y person's pov to introduce timeline and position yet as other perspectives/dimensions to the story, however ou may call it... doh anyway.
I know it's not banned, I just wanted to know, though. Thank you :)

Night Queen
Night Queen
Old Shoe

Apr-4-2012 16:56


Nobody, especially me, is restricting anyone's imagination and creativity. If you believe that passive voice is your ticket to imaginative writing, then by all means use it. Just remember it is the judge's opinion that counts.

What I would suggest is that on your 1st draft, you simply write your ideas down as quickly as you can. Then read it, think about it, and rewrite it. Don't even think about spelling or grammar until the 3rd rewrite. About the 3rd time, look at things like spelling, grammar, pronouns, and passive voice usage, then just see if you can improve your work.

When you have read it at least twice, and cannot think of a way to improve your work, then it is ready. You, and only you, has to make that determination.

For more help with passive/active voice, I suggest you look at the Writing Center webpage for University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. They have a webpage discussing passive voice. This site will confirm that passive voice is NOT grammatically incorrect, but is often vague or confusing.

My contention is simply that you get more "bang for your buck" using active voice. And it is especially true when the number of words you can submit is very limited--like in this contest.

Dedektif Cingot
Dedektif Cingot

Apr-4-2012 18:21

You are one hell of a monarch, you know that! The engineering, planning and scheming queen of Noir! The vicious feline with a pair of goddam canines!

The University of North Carolina?! Lol! Jack London was not a university graduate. Dostoevsky was an engineer dropout. And while universities teach thousands of students the contents of such courses, only few get to be the writers, because "they probably came to Pencey that way!" lol. And this is Noir =D

I think I am scared and I am just going to watch this unravel.

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