Monday, June 27, 2011

Grammar Police Log #062711

A rare sunny weekend

I had finally decided to take a shot at my first short story contest with an entry fee. Until now, the only contest I've entered that has required a fee was a drawing contest held by a club at my university. And it doesn't get more legitimate than that, does it?

Since I joined the mailing list for this writing contest, however, I've been receiving frequent emails from the site owner and judge, full of more prompts to enter the contest than the promised writing tips.

He came off as too much of a hard-sell for his contest, so I started Googling. Now, maybe I'm just paranoid, but though there doesn't seem to be anything negative -- anything at all, really -- on his contest (at least, not buried among the search results), it still smells like a scam to me.

Maybe it's because the results are flooded with his posts on "free article" websites and the occasional forum -- basically all promotions for his contest, in the guise of short story writing tips.

Maybe it's because his name doesn't show up on any academic websites. This means he's either using a pen name (though it seems to make sense to use your real name if you're claiming to be a PhD holder and university instructor) or just one of those individuals who pay to host a lecture/workshop at a university and, from then on, claim to be "a ___ University instructor". It's actually a very common ploy, since a lot of people do not know that universities rent out lecture space to pretty much anyone not promoting hate crime.

Or maybe it's because I read some of his articles and forum posts, and it looks like he doesn't know the difference between an en dash and an em dash. Hmm.

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