Sure, Sudoku is all the rage, but our caption contest is a challenge for the other side of your brain! It's your chance to play cartoonist, polishing doodles into witty gems with just a few well-chosen words.
Each Monday, Observer editorial cartoonist Kevin Siers will post a cartoon that needs a caption and invite readers to write one.
To help you get started, here's a few guidelines for writing winning captions.
- The most important thing -- and the toughest -- is to keep it short! Cartoon humor relies on providing the most punch in the quickest way possible. (Besides, I've agreed to pen the winning caption on the artwork, and I won't have a lot of space.)
- Originality counts too. Sometimes the picture may suggest the same idea to everyone, but don't settle for the obvious. We don't foresee any ties, so the winner's caption will have to stand out from the rest.
- Study the drawing. Try to figure out what's going on, what makes it unusual or offbeat, and how one might explain that incongruity. Look to see who's doing the talking (hint -- it's usually the character with his mouth open). Don't fudge by pasting extra labels onto the objects in the cartoon. What you see is what you get to work with.
- Also, remember these drawings are editorial cartoons (sorry, it's what I do) so don't be afraid to be topical and tart. That bit of political edge may give your caption the winning zip! This may raise the issue of the judge's political bias in some readers' minds, but don't worry about that. A good caption is a good caption, regardless of whom it stings
- While political edginess is fine, entries must not be too bawdy or libelous for publication in a family newspaper.
Using these guidelines, the winning caption will be the one our judges think is the funniest. Their decision, however misguided, is final.
To submit your caption on-line, just click here to e-mail us! (Or address your email to firstname.lastname@example.org) Please include your mailing address and daytime phone number. To mail your caption to the Observer, address it to You Write the Caption, Editorial Department, The Charlotte Observer, P.O. Box 30308, Charlotte, NC 28230-0308. Submissions must reach us by noon Wednesday.
We'll post the winner's name and caption and the runners-up here Friday afternoon and publish them in the Observer next Monday. We'll also provide a forum here online where you can discuss the judges' selections, if you wish. We'll mail the winning writer the original cartoon art with the caption added. Please allow at least 4 weeks for delivery. Good luck, and have fun!
-- posted by Kevin Siers