CONTEST CLOSED (9/26/2011)
I have chosen the winners! See my comment at the bottom of the page for the list of winners and next steps for the selected participants.
Thank you all for participating!
This blog post contains a challenge for you.
If you meet the challenge, you may win a free book, tote bag, or subscription to Amazon Prime!
As many of you know, I’m a prolific writer about writing. Writing is how we communicate, and communicating is how we keep relationships and societies strong. Fortunately, good writing is not magic. Rather, good writing results when you use effective strategies and reflect on key concepts.
With this in mind, I have a challenge for you. If you take this challenge, you may win a really great prize! In fact, these are the best prizes we’ve ever offered for a contest. (Thank you, Stack Exchange English Language & Usage, for sweetening the prizes!)
To enter this challenge, revise the following poorly written sentence and put your revision in the comments below.
Once the business opened, which occurred after much effort, expense and planning, the owner, a long-term veteran of new business ventures, some successful and others not, found, to his dismay, though not to his surprise, that he was unable to acquire the necessary workforce to keep his business open every day.
You may need more than one sentence. A valid entry has the same meaning as the original and is mechanically (spelling, punctuation, grammar) correct. Make sure to use a valid e-mail address!
This contest closes at 11:59 p.m. on September 25, 2011. I will reveal the winners on Monday, September 26, 2011.
Win These Prizes
300 Days of Better Writing (in hardcopy if the winner is in the continental U.S.; otherwise in PDF) and a subscription to Amazon Prime. After examining all entries, I will choose the one that I think best exemplifies good writing. If two or more entries seem equally well written to me, I will choose one of them at random.
2nd & 3rd prize:
From the remaining valid entries, I will select two entries at random. These 2 winners will receive a great—and useful—tote bag from Stack Exchange. (The pictures below are the actual bags.)
Once the winners are selected, I’ll reveal my revision for comparison. (Yours doesn’t have to look like mine to win.)
Of the prizes, the books are from us. You can find more information about the books at http://hostileediting.com/.
Who is Stack Exchange?
Stack Exchange English Language & Usage is “a collaboratively edited website focusing on high quality Q&A about grammar, etymology, word choice, and dialect differences.” One of the things I like about the Stack Exchange site is the discussions about meanings and connotations of words and phrases. Overall, the questions and responses are more informed, thoughtful, and intelligent than is typical with this type of discussion format. It’s worth checking out.
If you are not sure where to start, or if you need guidance as you fine tune your revised text, you may find the following strategies useful.
Finding and using the rhetorical subject
Choosing the right main verbs
Using introductory phrases
Serial commas or not
Commas with introductory phrases and clauses (first message)
Contest Details: The “Small” Print
- You may only enter once.
- A valid entry has the same meaning as the original text and is mechanically correct.
- Use a valid e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.
- My selection of the winners is non-negotiable, not open for discussion, and not subject to re-consideration. All randomly selected winners will be assigned a random number using http://www.random.org/ and ranked.
- No late entry will be considered.
- If you are selected for the first prize (and you are in the continental U.S.), I will request your mailing address so I can send you your new copy of 300 Days of Better Writing.
If you have any questions about this contest, ask them below as comments.