Kerr Framed

Wayne Kerr, Framed, Imajin Books

After surviving ten years in prison for a murder she didn't commit, former homicide detective Reggie Swann, wants to return to her old life.

Kent FoldedDreams

Michael Kent, Folded Dreams, Mezzo Publications Inc.

It’s bad publicity for the city when the businesswoman of the year is murdered execution style. Officials want the case solved fast.

Delany HarktheHerald

Vicki Delany, Hark the Herald Angels Slay, Penguin Random House

Santa’s summer vacation plans turn deadly in this festive mystery from the author of Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen and We Wish You a Murderous Christmas.

Duncan MuchAdoAboutMurder

Elizabeth J. Duncan, Much Ado About Murder, Crooked Lane

Costume designer Charlotte Fairfax has another murder on her hands as she prepares for the Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company's production of Much Ado About Nothing.

Barclay PartingShot

Linwood Barclay, Parting Shot, Doubleday Canada

From New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Linwood Barclay comes a new, standalone blockbuster thriller that spins off from the events of the explosive Promise Falls trilogy.

Danna Lament

Jen J. Danna, Lament The Common Bones, Jen Danna

Forensic anthropologist Matt Lowell doesn’t go looking for death. But when one of Matt’s students suspects the skeleton hanging in a research lab is actually from a murder victim...

White LullabyGirl

Loreth Anne White, The Lullaby Girl, Montlake

Detective Angie Pallorino's past made her a cop. Now her past could kill her. Book 2 in the Angie Pallorino Series, a gritty, northern noir procedural set on Vancouver Island.

Dube ForsakenMan

Marcelle Dubé, The Forsaken Man, Falcon Ridge Publishing

It’s been a hard winter and Chief of Police Kate Williams longs for a quiet Spring. What does she get instead? The theft of valuable bull semen from the local vet and increasingly dangerous vandalism at a construction site.

Bruce GhostWriter

Alison Bruce, Ghost Writer, Imajin Books

Jen has to deal with two kinds of spooks: spies and ghosts. But which one is trying to kill her?

Arnold PowerStruggle

Carolyn Arnold, Power Struggle, Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc.

Detective Madison Knight investigates the murder of the man who killed her grandfather, and she fears the Russian Mafia is behind it.

Wilkshire Moscow

Nick Wilkshire, The Moscow Code, Dundurn Press

In Moscow, the truth can be a dangerous commodity.

Kong ToxicCraft

Debra Purdy Kong, A Toxic Craft, Imajin Books

Who knew that the elderly knitters at a Christmas craft fair would take their rivalry so far that someone could die?

Unhanged Arthur Ellis Award

The Unhanged Arthur Ellis Award

for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel

Sponsored by Dundurn Press

The first Unhanged Arthur was awarded by the Crime Writers of Canada in 2007 as part of the CWC mandate to recognize and promote the careers of promising new crime writers.

The competition is open to (1) Canadian citizens, no matter where they are living, and to writers, regardless of nationality, who have Permanent Resident status in Canada, and (2) who have never had a novel of any kind published commercially.  

Contestants must have a completed novel manuscript (50,000-110,000 words) at the time of entry.

Click here to read the submission guidelines for our last competition. These will be updated for the next competition on September 1st 2017.

Click here for our Unhanged Arthur Style Guide (which will not change for the next competition).

 

dundurn full logo black

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