Ross BonitaPalms

Hal Ross, Bonita Palms, TitleTown

Continuing the story of the eponymous anti-hero introduced in THE INTROVERT.

Martin FireFogWater

Mike Martin, Fire, Fog and Water, Ottawa Press and Publishing

Book 8 in the award-winning Sgt. Windflower Mystery series. Cool, clean, Canadian crime fiction set in beautiful Newfoundland.

Arnold ExerciseisMurder

Carolyn Arnold, Exercise is Murder, Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc.

A posh dinner at a charming country house goes very wrong when an historic treasure is stolen and a waiter is murdered.

Duncan RememberingtheDead

Elizabeth J. Duncan, Remembering the Dead, Crooked Lane Books

A posh dinner at a charming country house goes very wrong when an historic treasure is stolen and a waiter is murdered.

Cranidge ChristmasonUnionStreet

Kathleen Cranidge, Christmas on Union Street, White Bird Publications, LLC

Underneath a blizzard and an old-fashioned Christmas...there's an unsolved mystery.

deNikolits OccultPersuasion

Lisa de Nikolits, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist's Solution, Inanna Publications

Christopher Moore meets Quentin Tarantino meets Gillian Flynn in this exhilarating suspense thriller that will enthral, delight and keep you guessing until the last page.

Chatterson MergerManiac

Delvin Chatterson, Merger Maniac, Tellwell Talent

The Montreal Mafia is pushing Dale Hunter to join their money laundering schemes, but some offers just have to be refused.

Michaud IntrovertConfounds

Michael Paul Michaud, The Introvert Confounds Innocence, Black Opal Books

Continuing the story of the eponymous anti-hero introduced in THE INTROVERT.

Petru WidowLindsay

Maggie Petru, The Widow Lindsay, Sun Dragon Press

Jacob Lindsay will do anything to keep his newly discovered sister-in-law's hands off the family farm.

Mesdames Keyof13

Mesdames of Mayhem, In the Key of 13, Carrick Publishing

The Mesdames of Mayhem's new anthology of music and murder. Their 4th book!

Campbell CrimeClub

Melodie Campbell, Crime Club, Orca Book Publishers

Penny loves dogs, but why did her big mutt have to dig up a human bone in the backyard? A case for the Crime Club!

Swailes NothingtoChance

Mark D. Swailes, Nothing to Chance, Amazon

When the lives of several people intertwine during a deadly bank robbery, no one is immune to the turbulent turns of fate.

Butler InRhinoWeTrust

Dave Butler, In Rhino We Trust, Dundurn Press

Jenny Willson investigates rhino poaching in Namibia, and finds herself in the cross-hairs of an international crime ring.

Gates ReadandBuriedEva Gates, Read and Buried, Crooked Lane Books

Librarian Lucy Richardson unearths a mysterious map dating back to the Civil War.

Unhanged Arthur Style Guide

In case this is the first writing competition you've entered (or even if you're an old hand at the game), information and RULES follow on how to format and present your submission and how to write a synopsis.

The Unhanged Arthur Ellis Award

for Best Unpublished Crime Manuscript
Sponsored by Dundurn Press

STYLE GUIDE

This page addresses various issues to do with formatting and presentation.

There are a few official rules to do with presentation.

  • Entries must be typed.
  • The title of the entry – but NOT your name – must be on each page of your submission.
  • Pages must be numbered.
  • Use either 12-point Times New Roman or 12-point Courier.
  • Use single line spacing.
  • Margins should be 1 inch
  • Paper size should be 8.5 X 11 inch paper or A4.
  • Print on one side of the page only.

IGNORING THESE RULES MAY DISQUALIFY THE ENTRY.

Beyond these rules, however, there are all sorts of presentation elements which won't disqualify you if you get them wrong, but will which make it much easier for the judges to read and enjoy your work if they are used.

Formatting and Layout

The best way to format text for fiction, used in just about every novel ever published, is as follows:

  • Start new paragraphs with an indented first line.
  • Don't use blank lines between consecutive paragraphs.
  • Do use a blank line or three asterisks to show a break between scenes or a break in the flow of the narrative.
  • Start new chapters on a new page.
  • Use a new paragraph each time a different character starts to speak.

Spelling

  • Check your spelling meticulously.
  • Beware malapropisms and homonyms; words can be spelled correctly and still be terribly wrong. Some examples include a particularly 'viscous murder,' a 'burlesque policeman,' and – in a supermarket – an 'isle of chips.' Do not rely solely on your computer's spell-checker.

Punctuation

Punctuation can be a bit of a minefield, and many of the rules are unclear. Three things in particular to beware of are:

  • Apostrophes: It's a shame that many people can't put an apostrophe in its proper place. 'It's' is a contraction of 'it is'; 'its' shows that something belongs to 'it' (whatever 'it' may be). Apostrophes should never be used for plurals – no 'bag's of orange's.
  • Quotation marks: Always use quotation marks around speech. Standard North American usage is to use the “double quote.”
  • Exclamation marks! Try not to use exclamation marks. If a sentence is witty, funny, or dramatic, the reader will notice anyway. If it's not, you won't make things better by drawing attention to it.

The Synopsis

For many entrants, writing the required synopsis may be more daunting and difficult than writing the initial 10,000 words of their novel. You are not alone. Experienced and published writers balk in exactly the same way that you do when faced with writing one.

  1. The synopsis should be of the entire book.

  2. Use the same narrative style that you use in the book; if the book is 'chatty' don't change to formal in the synopsis.

  3. Be clear. Show plot movements in order, introduce new characters as they appear, if they are major characters show us the 'why' of their actions as well as the 'what'.

  4. Never offer meaningless sentences such as: “Something dreadful was about to happen.” or “What happened next would devastate him.”

  5. Show how sub-plots interlink with the main plot and its characters.

  6. Do not include physical descriptions unless it is absolutely essential.

  7. A synopsis is always written in present tense, never past.

These pages incorporate material written by Michael Jecks, Kay Mitchell, and Edwin Thomas, members of the CWA who have coordinated the Debut Dagger Awards.

We thank Margaret Murphy and the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain for their generosity in allowing us to adapt material from their Debut Dagger Award Website in describing the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel.

And thank you to Louise Penny and Michael Whiteside for the original adaptation of the CWA rules to use for the Unhanged Arthur.

 

Submission Rules for The Unhanged Arthur Ellis Award
for Best Unpublished Crime Manuscript

Unhanged Arthur Online Entry Form (For entering online with the choice of online payment or cheque.)

Printable entry Form for "Unhanged Arthur" (For people who don't like online forms.)

Books by Members