A word for Australian writers entering international competitions. I came across a competition the other day with the following rules of entry:
This is fairly standard at first glance, however, for those writing in Australian English style, there would be some major adjustments to be made.
While the competition is open to writers from all countries, it does state entries must be written in English, however, if fails to clarify which English style as this changes between countries.
The rules further state that apostrophes and quotation marks are not interchangeable, well they're not are they? Except in Australian style we tend to use single quotation marks to enclose dialogue, not double, so I wonder if this is what the clause refers to and, if so, it may have been better to spell this out.
The third point is the requirement for a period to be used after Dr Mr Mrs etc. something not used in this neck of the global woods and this may require the writer to go through their manuscript and change anything of relevance to this.
As an Australian writer and editor, I adhere to the Australian Style Manual guidelines unless advised otherwise and in this instance, using this style would preclude acceptance of my entry.
If the judges of this competition, or those undertaking the short-listing do so according to their set criteria, your entry may not proceed beyond this stage and you'll never know why. My advice is to read all competition rules carefully and, for international competitions, it may save a wasted entry fee if you contact the organisers before submitting to make sure you have a common understanding of what
'English' exactly means.
At least in this instance the organisers have stipulated this element of style, although it does seem at odds with inviting entries from all countries where people follow variations in style.