The eleventh mini-contest was held in April 2010. This mini-contest asked contestants to fix ambiguous sentences. They needed to submit one maddeningly unclear sentence, then produce two much clearer variants based on different interpretations of the original ambiguity.
Frankly, this one didn’t seem to strike a chord with the readers. We didn’t get as many entries as usual. Maybe it was too much “classroom exercise” and not enough “fun challenge.” The next one will be better, we promise.
Nevertheless, we got some definite winners! And here they are.
Third Place ($5) by John C. Waugh
UNCLEAR: Jason’s heart was hard enough to scratch glass; could he win this dream girl’s heart?
CLEAR 1: The heart-shaped diamond had cost Jason big bucks–would it win this dream girl’s heart?
CLEAR 2: Every other woman had signed off on Jason with aspersions about his hard hearted nature, yet he still hoped to win this dream girl’s heart.
Second Place ($10) by Brian Edward Bahr
UNCLEAR: My husband left me like an egg thrown against the wall.
CLEAR 1: As a result of being with my husband, I quickly became a broken woman.
CLEAR 2: My husband disappeared and all that remained was a slimy trail of bad memories.
First Place ($15) by Andrea J. Di Salvo
UNCLEAR: Carli stopped reading to Nana Clara and brushed her hand over two-year-old Sandra’s hair before she got up to change her diaper.
CLEAR 1: Carli stopped reading to Nana Clara and brushed her hand over two-year-old Sandra’s hair as she saw the flush of shame on Nana’s face; the older woman had soiled herself again.
CLEAR 2: Carli stopped reading to Nana Clara and brushed her hand over two-year-old Sandra’s hair as the scent from Sandra’s diaper hit her in the nose; boy, was she ready for potty training!
Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)
One other entry scored highly enough to earn honorable mentions.
UNCLEAR: Otis slouched on a wooden park bench and stared at the boy on the playground near the spot where he’d murdered his girlfriend two weeks ago.
CLEAR 1: Otis slouched on a wooden park bench near the playground, and watched the boy play on the same swing Otis had used to kill the boy’s girlfriend two weeks ago.
CLEAR 2: Otis slouched on a wooden park bench near the playground where Otis had killed his girlfriend two weeks before, and wondered if the boy now playing on the swing realized that he was riding a murder weapon.
(by Kirby J. Hancock)
Congratulations to the winners and our sincere thanks to everyone who entered the mini-contest.