Last year the Gotham Writers' Workshop held a Hint Fiction Contest in conjunction with the anthology's release. This year they're having a Microstyle Contest in conjunction with the release of Christopher Johnson's new book (which I reviewed here). Here are the details:
Inspired by the July publication of Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little, Gotham is pleased to present a Microstyle Writing Contest. We are honored to welcome the book's author, Chris Johnson, as the finalist judge.
THE SET-UP This is the age of the Incredible Shrinking Message. Tweets, status updates, text messages, email subject lines, blog post titles, and other miniature messages are tools we all need to grab a bit of people's precious attention. Everyone is a copywriter now.
Expressive economy is the key to this new world of miniature messages. And there's no better way to maximize the expressive potential of a short message than to get two interpretations for the price of one. Wits, lyricists, and sloganeers have always been keen to seize upon a felicitous ambiguity:
If I said you had a beautiful body would you hold it against me? -Groucho Marx (later used by songwriter David Bellamy)
You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think. -Dorothy Parker Labour isn't working. - Saatchi and Saatchi for the Conservative Party in Britain
THE CHALLENGE Your job is to use double meaning to create your own memorable quip, using twenty words at the most. It might, like the quote from Dorothy Parker, highlight an accidental and unexpected second interpretation of a word or phrase, or it might, taken as a whole, express two distinct and equally apt meanings, like the quotes from Groucho Marx and Saatchi and Saatchi. (For writing tips, read Johnson's "Use Ambiguity for Good, Not Evil.")
THE PRIZE The author of the winning entry will receive bragging rights and:
- 10-week Gotham Writing Workshop
- $50 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
- One-year Subscription to The Writer (12 issues)
- Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little
In addition, the winner and four finalists will each receive a copy of Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little.