Third weekly winner!


The third weekly winner is “Free” by Jean Blasiar. Prize of $50 AUD. Enough to buy a micro-advertisement printed on the wing of a butterfly.

Why I love “Free”

The unknown presumed crime intrigues me.  What could possibly happen so one person is free from responsibility yet the other is not? Then what could possibly happen to fill an entire book?  I think I imagined some Russian scandal, a 1984-ish world where two party members disagreed and that disagreement lead to betrayal.

I particularly like it for the implied connection between the two people in the story. Perhaps they were friends, co-creators, a team working together to make something great. Then, as some teams do … it all broke down in a flurry of lawsuits and accusations.


Comma Comma, killer of winners

There are a few stories I love but won’t win because of misplaced commas. I know what they’re trying to say but what they are saying is something else.

I suggest trying out your story (and all writing in general) sans commas to see if it still is correct. Peppering needless commas in the place of mental pauses is incorrect.

If you are using commas parenthetically, like this, then you need to ensure if the phrase enclosed within commas was removed the sentence is still correct.

–          You might notice a “that” could be added to the above sentence. But would this improve the comprehension of the sentence? This is the purpose of grammar – to improve and enhance comprehension.

“Commas,” said Mathew, “go inside quotation marks when writing dialogue.”

“Certainly,” said the three-toed sloth, not looking up from the chessboard.

Enough grammar.  Wikipedia’s comma article is a good read.

I’ve struggled with awarding prizes to fantastic stories that have a grammatical problem. My writer half says chill out and award it with a corrected version below. My editor half is strict and wants to karate-chop anyone committing a grammatical error (myself included).  Should I privately write back to the author and show them how to improve their work? Or should I do so publicly so everyone can learn from it?  Argh, I don’t know.  Suggestions welcome.

BIG prizes next week!

Next Sunday I’ll be awarding a $150 first prize, a $100 second prize and a $50 third prize!

All stories entered up to 6pm Sunday 1st March (Australian East coast time) are eligible for prizes. Write write write! Swamp the site!

Clarification: (because clarity is what good writing is all about) — ALL entries for the entire competition time and all new entries are eligible for the grand prizes.  That means an entry from weeks ago can win and one submitted at three minutes to six on March 1st can win!



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6 thoughts on “Third weekly winner!”

  1. Interesting note to point out… in your post about commas, there is a missing comma in one of your sentences. Keep in mind, you are coming at this across the ocean. I am a professional editor, and I edit both British grammar and American grammar, and they ARE different. Americans use more commas while the British spellings and grammar use fewer, and in fact, they use less punctuation in general. I wonder is some of what you consider misplaced commas might be a difference between British and American English.

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    1. Editorial challenge! Hi-yaa! 🙂

      It’s true I’m in the fewer commas the better group. The comma errors in the stories range from “absolutely wrong” to “wrong but you could argue it”.

      I’ve done quite a bit of Australianisation of American texts and also Americanisation of Australian-generated text and I didn’t find much difference in comma usage. There is the Oxford comma but the remainder of the grammatical rules still apply.

      I would have actually said British grammar uses more punctuation. Semi-colons are a dying breed in America fiction, pushed out by commas.

      Mat’s last blog post..we all remember

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  2. If one of my stories has problems feel free to use it publicly to help others. If you read more on the Accentuate Writers Forum, you’ll see I’m often used as an example of what NOT to do…lol. Not really, but I’m always open to someone using a mistake I make to help others.

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  3. I’ll definitely agree with the lost art of the semicolon. (no hyphen)

    British grammar generally doesn’t put periods after Mr. and Mrs. like American grammar does. Additionally, the British don’t usually offset introductory prepositional phrases with commas, while Americans do.

    One of my peeves is what you mentioned here though, the comma outside the quotes on dialogue. Arggh!

    Michelle L Devon (Michy)’s last blog post..2009 Short Story Anthology Contest Themes Announced

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  4. Feel free to make an example of mine AND send me a mail so I know you did. If that’s too much work, just the mail. I wanna learn before all others!

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