Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Contest’

Win 2 tickets to our Game of Thrones and Geekery talk at Ayala Museum

September 04, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Contest 2 Comments →

The winners of two tickets each to our Game of Thrones and Geekery talk at Ayala Museum on Saturday are Kaye (favorite fantasy books: the Protector of the Small series by Tamora Pierce) and theidolfan (The Phantom Tollbooth). You can collect your tickets at the reception desk of the Ayala Museum on Saturday, before our talk at 3pm.

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Let us know what your favorite fantasy novel is, when you first read it, and why you love it.

Word count: Knock yourself out. Be epic.

Criteria: Grammar and clarity. We think of ourselves as the Grammar Watch, defending The Wall against incoherence and unacceptable usage.

We are the red pencil in the darkness.
We are the watcher of the written word.
We are the fire that burns against ignorance and illiteracy,
the light that corrects syntax errors,
the horn that wakes those whose subjects and verbs do not agree,
the shield that guards grammar.

When an editor dies, we say, “And now her/his watch has ended.” As for the rest of the oath, we observe it at least as well as Jon Snow does.

Post your answer in Comments before noon on Wednesday, 3 September 2014. The winner will be announced the following day. The tickets can be claimed at the front desk of the Ayala Museum on the day of the lecture.

The July LitWit Challenge: Write a Colonial Revenge Fantasy

July 09, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Contest, History No Comments →

Indios in Paris, photo at the National Historical Commission

Some time ago, we wrote a column in which we pointed out that since our economy is doing better than Spain’s, it is time to buy Spain or at least hire domestic helpers who are Spanish. It would not make up for the abuses of the Spanish colonial regime, but it would be an arresting symbol, not to mention a hoot.

- Yñaki, dalhin mo dito ang tsinelas ko!
- Si, su majestad, heto na po an tsinelas, ano pa po an maipaqlilinqod qo?

The other day at lunch we noticed that our server was Portuguese, which means our idea is not just feasible, it is coming to pass. At the time the Philippines was “discovered” by Magellan, Spain and Portugal had “divided” the world amongst themselves.

This month’s LitWit Challenge: Write us a story, play or movie scene in which a Filipino employer interacts with Spanish domestic helper/s or yaya. No limits on length. Post your entry in Comments on or before 18 July 2014. The winner gets these books by the acclaimed Spanish author Javier Marias.


Read the review of his latest book, The Infatuations.

The LitWit Challenge is brought to you by National Bookstores.

The Adventure of the Cardboard Box (Sets)

June 30, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Cats, Contest 2 Comments →

drogon sherlock

The winner of our Drogon and Sherlock caption contest are:

ayms for “The Sign of Fur”. (Which suggests you already have these books, in which case you could give them to someone who hasn’t read them yet.)

Momelia for “The Pale White Boys of Good Grooming”. Because we can’t tell who is whiter.

You both win the Bantam Classics Sherlock Holmes boxed set. Post your full names and current email addresses (The information will not be published) in Comments and we’ll email you directions for claiming your prize.

This contest was brought to you by National Bookstores.

Caption these photos of Drogon with Sherlock

June 25, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Cats, Contest, Television 5 Comments →




Drogon is named after one of Daenerys’s dragons and Sherlock’s actor is the voice of Smaug so they are related.

Write a caption for these photos (or if you’re really bored, an entire story about them) and post it in Comments before 11.59pm on Friday, 27 June 2014. The composers of the two best captions will each get the Bantam Classic paperback Sherlock Holmes Complete Novels and Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, courtesy of National Bookstore. (Buy your own poster.)


LitWit Challenge: Futzing with Fairy Tales

May 02, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Contest 6 Comments →

Illustrations from Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault by Harry Clarke. Images from Wikimedia Commons.

This month’s LitWit Challenge: Take any well-known fairy tale (Cinderella, Rumpelstiltzkin, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, etc) and write it your way, set in the present-day, yes the princesses can be gay. You may change the ending. You may alter the plot and setting as long as it the basic elements of the original remain recognizable.


500-word minimum, 2,000-word maximum. You may submit as many entries as you like. Deadline: 12 noon on 15 May 2014.

The prize: Vampires in the Lemon Grove—short stories by Karen Russell, Pantone notebook with squared pages, and a set of metallic gel pens. The blasted things are addictive—you start doodling with them at lunch, and before you know it it’s 3am and you’ve made two dozen bookmarks.

Prizes should be claimed at National Bookstore in Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati within three months.

This LitWit Challenge is brought to you by our friends at National Bookstore.

The winner of the LitWit Challenge: The Universe is a library is…

April 24, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Contest 12 Comments →


From our Book of Writing Backwards: Excerpt from the Bene Gesserit Manual in Dune. (In silver ink, hard to read.)

allancarreon: Good work and properly weird, although we wonder why you would portray a haven of books as…that place, and the practice of writing as a form of torment. Conflicted! Horror stories are all about atmosphere, even if the location seems ordinary.

“Behind him, a doppelganger of the man had appeared and was now following Annie closely…” could be made creepier. Don’t say “doppelganger”, describe it. “Suddenly there were two of him, and one was shadowing Annie…”

You are not eligible for the prize as you are the Keymaster of the Social Media Propaganda Ministry.

Helvatica123: Great concept, execution not bad, though this is more a concept paper than an actual story. Grammar and usage need a little work, but nothing the spelling and grammar checking function on Word can’t fix. We like the way you casually let the readers know what the books are made of without hitting us over the head with the information. The nonchalant tone adds to the horror when it sinks in. Keep on writing, we want to see more.

Momelia: Thank you for that tale of real-life horror. Apparently if you ask people to write stories set in libraries, they come up with visions of hell. This is more a diary entry than a story, but you clearly enjoyed writing it, and the bit about the bacon getting Facebook likes could be developed. In fact you could expand this into a story about a character who can’t move until her Facebook friends have affirmed her decision with 200 likes. We’d like to read that.

Check out the short stories of Saki, you’d love him. Sweet and nasty. “Children are given us to discourage our better emotions.”

lois: We have not read The Book Thief but we gather this is inspired by that. Good effort, and we like its ambitious scale. The execution needs work: you explain everything at least thrice and you overdo the dramatic description. However your plot is interesting, and with continued practice you will learn to “hear” yourself. The ability to self-edit comes with time.

joyeah: There’s a fascinating Twilight Zone-ish story in here, but you have buried it under a lot of adjectives and overwrought descriptive passages. It’s a mess. It might be useful to do an outline for this, with short profiles of the characters, and rewrite it. Try writing it in chronological order first, then when you’ve worked out your plot, you can do your structural experiment.

aspiringwriter29: Listen to yourself. “The potentially perpetual grim looming over the spectacle I have for a visage is now all but perpetual.” All that verbal writhing, just to say “The grimace is fixed on my face.” This piece is overwritten, the prose so purple it is overripe eggplant. You’re trying to write in a high, formal style before you have even figured out how to write a clear sentence. Since you’re writing about angels and demons, why not read the Old Testament, esp. Genesis and Exodus, King James Version? The sentences are short, unadorned yet powerful. None of this lurid stuff.

The winner of The Universe is a Library LitWit Challenge is Helvatica123. Congratulations! Post your full name and email address in Comments (It won’t be published) and the elves will tell you how to claim your prize.