Style Invitational rules and guidelines

Saturday, January 29, 2011; 5:22 PM

The Style Invitational is a humor/wordplay contest through which we seek to bring a variety of clever, timely, irreverent humor every week to the readers of The Washington Post. While our ultimate goal is to get you to write great stuff for us for less than peanuts, we (a.k.a. "I") do aim to judge the contest as fairly and carefully as we reasonably can.

Here's a list of rules and guidelines on how to enter, and some explanation of how we do things.

How to enter

First, read over the week's contest directions carefully - it's sad to see a list of 25 entries of words that didn't begin with a letter between B and G, or whatever the restrictions were in that week's contest.

Submissions are by e-mail to (If you really cannot use e-mail, you may fax them to 202-334-4312, but e-mail is way, way more convenient for us.)

You may submit multiple entries to a contest - usually, there is no limit on the number - and they may be in a single e-mail. Please don't use any special formatting on the entries - columns, charts, pretty shapes and colors, etc.; these invariably end up all messed up on our end. Just plain old text. And while it's fine to compose your entries on Word or another word-processing program and copy them in, please do not put your entries in an attachment - put them right into the body of your e-mail. Sometimes I'll print out all the entries en masse, and an attachment won't print. (There are exceptions for a few contests involving photos or graphics.)

Please put some space between your individual entries; it's very hard to read a long single-spaced list. On Word, you can set the paragraphs (under Format/Paragraphing) for double-spacing or even 1.5 lines.

We strongly prefer not to credit two or more people for a single entry. On rare contests that are more collaborative (e.g., one person would think up the joke; the other would make a graphic), we'll make an exception.

Be sure to include at the top or bottom of your entry:

Your real name (NO PSEUDONYMS, and we won't withhold a name)

Your postal address

A usable phone number

An e-mail address where we may contact you, if it's a different address from the one on your e-mail itself.

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