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Ever wanted to commit a murder? Well, now you can! You might even get a prize for it.

Ever wanted to catch a murderer? Well, we can help you with that, too.

DEADLINE EXTENDED: EDIT BELOW

----

The Butler Did It! contest is now open for submissions. Get your murderous thoughts going and kill someone, then try to cover it up. Hopefully you won’t be drawing from personal experiences for this writing task, but if you are who are we to stand in your way? (Please don’t kill us.)

Your task is to write what’s called a Ten-Minute Mystery. You must set a murder scene, have multiple suspects, and guide us through the investigation of said murder through the eyes of the detective solving it. Think of an episode of CSI, or a mini-detective story boiled down to the essential mystery.

Whether or not you have an interesting detective with a bit of a back story is up to you. He could be quirky, calculating, or just a plain character that we see through the eyes of for the mystery. Present a cast of suspects, potential motives, and an array of possible murder weapons. Go through the motions of discovering each, and excluding them one by one. Red herrings are welcome, but remember: everything must be plausible and explained. You can’t have a wrench covered in the victims blood, but it turns out the lead pipe was the murder weapon and the wrench is quietly forgotten by the detective.

Your mystery should be no more than 3,000 words. It has a loose format you must follow, and the great conclusion must be confined, logically enough, to the last few hundred words of the story. But when the contest deadline is met, two weeks from now, you won’t be submitting the whole thing. You’re going to leave the ending out. And now for the twist, dear Watson. The readers get to play Sherlock this time around, because we’re catching criminals as well as creating them.

Enter the detectives. Your job is to read the entries and guess who did it. There might be a lot of butlers going to the big house, but some might be more devious than others. Read entries and leave a guess in the comments section below the deviation. You have a week to sniff out the killers and submit your guesses.

Readers can check out the entries, where the writers should submit to, here:

Community Projects > Contests > "The Butler Did It" Contest

The completed copies will kindly be emailed to the judges at prose@deviantart.com. We will verify the guesses and award a point for those who guess correctly. The top three detectives—the three with the most points allocated—will receive prizes along with the top three best entries, chosen by our judges.

Speaking of judges, our heads of the courtroom are: alienhead, coshdaddy GunShyMartyr and adrift. We only accept ridiculously huge bribes, so keep that in mind when you send your emails out.

The prizes for the entries are as follows:

For the Murderers:

:pointr: First Place: £15 Amazon Gift Certificate
       1 year dA subscription
                   dA Prose Mug

:pointr: Other prizes: Subscriptions and mugs.


For the Detectives:

:pointr: First Place: 3 month dA subscription
                   dA Prose Mug

:pointr: Other prizes: Subscriptions and mugs.



And a brief summary in closing:

:bulletblue: You must write a Murder Mystery.
:bulletblue: No more than 3,000 words.
:bulletblue: It must be submitted to the contest category “The Butler Did It” and emailed to prose@deviantart.com by October 18th.
:bulletblue: The deadline has been extended to next Wednesday (October 25th) at midnight!
:bulletblue: The ending must be left out of the deviantART submission so readers can guess who the killer is.
:bulletblue: A week will be given for guesses to be submitted. After that, points will be tallied for correct guesses and prizes will be awarded.
:bulletblue: No people will actually be harmed during this contest.


A few hints: try to plan the mystery beforehand. The trick to many of the ‘Find the Exit’ mazes in magazines is to work it out backwards. Do the same. Know who the killer is, know exactly how they did, and be in their mind when you cover it up. Make everything believable and natural. Was this a crime of passion? That would mean a gruesome kill with some sloppy mistakes that were quickly cleaned up. Or was it planned for weeks, maybe even months in advance? Maybe even a serial killer? That’s up to you.


Now go kill someone. :devilish:
Add a Comment:
 
:iconbellezzadisonno:
BellezzaDiSonno Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2006   Writer
I just wanted to say that I was tech/understudy/mc for that play...Took the audience, amazingly, a long time to figure out that there indeed was no butler.
Reply
:iconkatmaree:
katmaree Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2006
Great idea for a contest! I would have liked to have had a go, I've been pretty much brought up on Agatha Christie books :D I guess I'll have to try my hand at being a detective instead though, I think I've guessed a few right in the past XD
Reply
:iconcoldcontactkiss:
ColdContactKiss Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2006   Artist
I hate to be a pest --

Another system glitch, or are there really only three entries? :o
Reply
:icondr-pyr-agon:
Dr-Pyr-Agon Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm bit of offended.... the message reached me... now... a few hours ago.... i realy wanted to write a story

well... I'm going to write it anyways... I just wanted to see, what I could do with it in this contest.
Reply
:icongeneratinghype:
GeneratingHype Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2006
Hello, I emailed a submission from my gmail account. I think (hope) I did it right. Thanks!
Reply
:iconerin88:
Erin88 Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2006   Artisan Crafter
Ugh, the deadline has been extended right? Because the option to submit it isn't there! Or have I lost my mind while writing this XD!?
Reply
:icongunshymartyr:
GunShyMartyr Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2006
Email it for now, and it'll be included. :)
Reply
:iconlantisgaius:
LantisGaius Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2006
AHHH! darned.. I only saw the contest today... I wish I checked earlier... I've a murder I'd like to pen... :lonely:
Reply
:icongunshymartyr:
GunShyMartyr Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2006
You have a week! The deadline has been extended. :)

Go wild!
Reply
:iconmsjames:
MSJames Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2006
So have the contest winners been decided yet?
Reply
:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2006  Professional Writer
oh man i need an extension! i'm about 3/4s done and it's killer! teehee. come on thomas, give us some time to get polished, k?
Reply
:icongunshymartyr:
GunShyMartyr Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2006
There's a week extension. :)
Reply
:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2006  Professional Writer
phew!
Reply
:iconevilredcaboose:
evilredcaboose Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
I've never been great at solving mysteries...let alone writing them. And only until Oct 18th? Ack! Why was I not informed of this?

*goes off to a corner to pout*
Reply
:icongunshymartyr:
GunShyMartyr Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2006
Try anyway! There _might_ be an extension of the deadline (read: probably). :)
Reply
:iconevilredcaboose:
evilredcaboose Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh?

*quickly gets out her notebook*
Reply
:iconsnapperz:
Snapperz Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2006   Writer
Wunderbar! This gives me something to do today other than homework. >3
Reply
:iconsnapperz:
Snapperz Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2006   Writer
Ahhhhh, I'm done, but I'm 77 words over the limit. x.x No fair. I have to cut some things.
Reply
:icongunshymartyr:
GunShyMartyr Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2006
77 words is acceptable. :)
Reply
:iconsnapperz:
Snapperz Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2006   Writer
xD; Ahh, I cut it down anyway. I'm just doing some final edits now... I'll be submitting it within the hour.
I noticed the contest section for this is empty. Am I supposed to wait until the deadline before putting it up on there?
Reply
:icongunshymartyr:
GunShyMartyr Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2006
No, post it up (make sure the ending is taken out!) and email the whole thing to us at the address supplied in the news article.

The entries aren't showing at the moment. I don't know why. :)
Reply
:iconsnapperz:
Snapperz Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2006   Writer
Cheers. One more thing. Does the part I have cut out have to be around one hundred words?Personally I'd prefer if I could take out the entire sequence, which is more like 800, but I have it written so that if I HAD to I could take it out starting later on.
Reply
:icongunshymartyr:
GunShyMartyr Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2006
You have to take out the part where the killer is revealed. :)
Reply
:iconsnapperz:
Snapperz Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2006   Writer
Hokay. :o Well, it's now submitted.
Reply
:iconsnapperz:
Snapperz Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2006   Writer
Mm, I believe I know why the entries aren't showing up... For some reason the section thinks the entries are pics, not prose, so it brings you to the file-upload page instead of the normal prose submission one....
Reply
:icondiamondie:
diamondie Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2006  Professional Writer
One thing still to clarify: if someone submits their murder mystery eg. today, may we already post our guesses in the Deviation comments, or can we only submit guesses during the week after the submission period has ended?
Reply
:icongunshymartyr:
GunShyMartyr Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2006
You may go ahead and guess now, but there is a week after all submissions are in so everyone has ample time. :)
Reply
:iconfae-wilde:
Fae-Wilde Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2006   Writer
Awesome contest. Am working on an entry for it. Quick question, though, should the ending be left on the version we email?
Reply
:icongunshymartyr:
GunShyMartyr Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2006
Yes, but not in the version you submit to the contest category on dA.
Reply
:iconsneezingapple:
sneezingapple Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2006
*declares* I will enter! Mine's gonna be a comedy, is that all right. Murder mystery and all, just funny.
Reply
:icongunshymartyr:
GunShyMartyr Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2006
That's perfectly fine. As long as the mystery is there and it makes sense, it can as funny as you like. :)
Reply
:iconsneezingapple:
sneezingapple Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2006
cool! first competition i've entered! cool idea!
Reply
:iconfleeet:
fleeet Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2006  Hobbyist Writer
Today is the year for entering competitions.

I am in!
Reply
:icongunshymartyr:
GunShyMartyr Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2006
O man. I can't wait for yours, fleety.
Reply
:iconcoldcontactkiss:
ColdContactKiss Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2006   Artist
I'm in. :D

But if I don't watch out, the wordcount will be my unintentional killer...
Reply
:icongunshymartyr:
GunShyMartyr Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2006
Is 3000 not enough?
Reply
:iconcoldcontactkiss:
ColdContactKiss Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2006   Artist
Not nearly. :plotting:
Reply
:iconsun-kisses:
sun-kisses Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2006
i SOOO wanna try out!!! but i think i read this too late!!! i only have about a week! :(
Reply
:icongunshymartyr:
GunShyMartyr Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2006
There's still time! Start now and you'll get it done before the deadline for sure.
Reply
:iconsun-kisses:
sun-kisses Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2006
awww i'm trying!!!! =P hopefully i'll make it! :)
Reply
:iconangelofplottwists:
angelofplottwists Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2006   Writer
Methinks I'll give it a go.
Reply
:icongunshymartyr:
GunShyMartyr Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2006
:nod: Glad to have you in.
Reply
:iconangelofplottwists:
angelofplottwists Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2006   Writer
thanks.
Reply
:iconailaik:
ailaik Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2006  Professional General Artist
omg :D
brilliant contest
now to get myself a corpse...
Reply
:icongunshymartyr:
GunShyMartyr Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2006
Found one yet?
Reply
:iconailaik:
ailaik Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2006  Professional General Artist
as a matter of fact, yes
and now to find out how he died...
Reply
:icondivinity-bliss:
Divinity-bliss Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2006
Ooh how delightfully deranged.

If time permitting I'll give it a go. :) I have plenty of time to think about it, may as well give it a shot, no?
Reply
:icongunshymartyr:
GunShyMartyr Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2006
Exactly. :)
Reply
:icondivinity-bliss:
Divinity-bliss Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2006
Blast, it doesnt seem like i'll finish it in time :emotears: Maybe for the next contest?
Reply
:iconlunatsy:
Lunatsy Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2006
YOU DID IT! :O
Reply
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