Drafting Awards

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The Devil’s Advocate

In which the curmudgeonly old sod puts the world to rights.

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Now you know our views about awards, readers — a pitiful affair — but we are committed paid up pragmatists: our watchword is the pragmatist’s prayer. If you can’t beat the, join them — but do it in the contrary spirit with which this site is infused. We will bend our awards towards some social good: shaming professional writers who should know better out of their dismal literary skills.

Most pedantic markup

Most baffling single paragraph

Biggs memorial award

A prize of a laminated, Perspex-covered statuette of the famous Biggs annotation: a faxed, emboldened full stop. This signifies the least meaningful notation that is still meaningful.

Freestyle award

Candidates will be given a simple proposition (for example, “the cat must sit on the mat”) and will have 90 seconds to make it as convoluted as possible. The competition will be stylistically marked: Certain cod phrases will earn minimal points: “as the case may be” “including, without limitation” (and whatever trails behind it, however imaginatively paranoid); tiresome, redundant adjectives (relevant, applicable) and conjunctive formulations “and/or; and, as the case may be, or” will earn none. But extra points for tinkering with the carvature of space-tedium (provusos, inclusos, carve-ins and hypothetical conditional imperfect future tenses will earn points for difficultly. Any drafting that does not make unambiguous, grammatical sense will be disallowed.