CLOSED for entries. Last date for submission was 24th February, 2015
Hello, all! Contest 13 is upon us, and in keeping with the theme of the number, this time we’ll write about superstitions.
Before we get to the topic, though, I have an announcement to make about our contests. We’re soon moving from a fortnightly schedule to a monthly schedule. So the contest will stay open for longer, which means we’ll hopefully get more and better entries. The prize, which has been stuck at 500 rupees for a while now, will be doubled to 1000 rupees.
I’m doing this because I want to run monthly giveaways as well, on the 15th-to-15th cycle, where people will get a chance to win various prizes in return for insignificant acts such as leaving comments. If all of this doesn’t make sense, don’t worry. As a follower of the blog, nothing much will change, except a few timelines here and there which you will get used to soon enough.
Since we’re on Contest 13, it will be almost criminal of us if we did not write about fears and superstitions. As you know, the number 13 has always had an ominous significance in the world of the supernatural. It is not so much an Indian motif, but let’s use it as an excuse to ruminate upon the other-worldly anyway.
Why? Because it’s fun!
All right, so this time, the topic to write on is:
What is your pet superstition?
Here are a few superstitions that come to my mind straight away:
1. Many hotels in the West do not have a thirteenth floor, because they believe that the number brings bad luck.
2. Black cats are almost universally feared in India because they portend doom for those whose paths they cross.
3. ‘Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.’
4. The belief that our fate is written in the stars.
5. When a dog howls, death is near.
And so on. Here is a list of 20 superstitions.
What you could do with it
Now, once you decide on a superstition you want to write about, there are many ways in which you can convert it into an entry to the contest.
1. You could write a short story or mood piece about a character who is wrestling with a superstitious idea. Horror movies have made a staple out of allowing horrible things to happen to atheists and non-believers. Maybe you could write about a person who doesn’t believe in a given superstition, but by the end, he does (or doesn’t).
2. How about a memoir, taken from your own life, where a superstition played a big part?
3. If nonfiction is your thing, write an essay about your chosen belief. On the other hand, poetry is also welcome, full of atmosphere and foreboding.
4. You could write just about anything, as long as it is loosely related to superstitions, fear, and belief in the supernatural. So go deep into the corners of your mind and see what lurks there. Once you find it, slash it open and throw it onto the page for us all to see.
5. The word limit is 500 words.
How do you enter the contest?
It doesn’t get simpler. You leave a comment to this post. If you leave two comments, they will count as two separate entries. The maximum number of entries you can submit is three. If you leave more than three comments, I won’t tell you off (I’m too nice for that) but I will only pick the first three.
What’s the prize?
A Flipkart e-gift voucher worth 1000 Indian rupees. It looks like this.
No, you can’t touch it, but you can buy things – especially books! – with it. If you live outside of India, your choices are limited to e-books because Flipkart doesn’t deliver internationally (yet).
In addition to the prize above, one lucky contestant will win a copy of Shweta Taneja’s occult murder mystery, Cult of Chaos.
In this you will meet Anantya Tantrist, a gaali-spewing, beedi-smoking fearless tantrik who solves crimes in Delhi. When she’s not solving crime, she’s having a drink at Bedardi Bar. The book is one of the first urban fantasies in India, based in the supernatural underworld of Delhi.
How is the winner selected?
Each comment will be rated on three things:
1. Clarity: We should understand what you’re trying to say. Good grammar and punctuation will help. So will a reasonable structure to your entry. Beginning, middle and end.
2. Personal Touch: We’re interested in getting to know you better. So go for depth, specificity and honesty. In narrative pieces, the deeper you take us with you into the scene, the better it is.
3. Beauty of the writing: Make your words sing. Give rich sensory detail. Describe well. Transport us to to your world. Be cogent, crisp and clear.
The above three criteria are ranked in the order of importance. So clarity is more important than personal touch. And personal touch is more important than evocative writing.
1. The closing date for comments/entries is Tuesday, the 24th of February, 2015. The winner will be announced on Saturday, the 28th of February, 2015. (Allow a day or two as ‘grace period’ in case there are too many entries.)
2. When you enter comments on this blog, you will find a separate text box asking for your email. I recommend that you enter your email into this, so that I will have a way of contacting you in case you win. Rest assured that I will not use your contact information for any other purpose, shady or otherwise.
3. Sexually explicit or offensive material will be deleted at my discretion.
4. Avoid plagiarism. I will check for it, and remove entries that I think are lifted from elsewhere.
Have fun! If you think this is the sort of thing your friends would enjoy, share this post with them and invite them to participate. You can share it with just a click on the sharing buttons below.