So it happens that I have a couple of months of free game time to give away.*
I’ve been trying to think of an appropriate contest — something interesting but also easy. I wanted something creative, but I didn’t want it to be a huge hassle for anyone, including me. And honestly, I don’t want to have to judge anything creative because I know how creative you people are and I know I can’t choose between a whole bunch of great entries.
But last night as I was falling asleep I hit on the perfect thing: haiku.
A haiku is essentially a short poem, three lines long, with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the second line, and 5 syllables in the last line. (I was going to link to Wikipedia, but it turns out English haiku is all over the board these days.)
For example, I might write the following haiku. See the 5-7-5 pattern?
Lies dead on the frozen ground.
I weep frustration.
So anyway, here’s the contest rules:
- Your entry must be in a 5-7-5 format, as described above. (No limericks!)
- Your entry must be in English, or you must provide a translation and a recording of you speaking the haiku so I can verify the syllable count.
- Your entry must involve a World of Warcraft hunter pet in some fashion. (I’m sorry, but no non-combat pets will be allowed.)
- You must e-mail me your entry at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Haiku”. Entries submitted in the comments will not be accepted for this contest (although we may still appreciate them for their intrinsic beauty.)
- I must receive your entry in e-mail before 12:01am EDT on Tuesday, March 23rd. (For reference, that’s 4:01am GMT, and 9:01pm PDT on Monday.)
-  You can submit multiple entries, but you can only win once in each ‘category’: one game time code and/or one forum title. (See below for details.)
- I reserve the right to throw out your entry for obscene or derogatory language, or bad taste. (No limericks!)
I decided to do a random drawing for the winners of the free game time because, as I noted above, I know I won’t be able to choose between the entries otherwise. But I also wanted to give some recognition for the best haiku writers.
So here’s the plan:
- I’ll post all the valid entries on this blog here early Tuesday morning.
- In order to choose game time winners, I will make a list of all the entries and use a random number generator to pick three list indices.
- These winners will receive a game time code for one month of WoW time.
-  The codes I have are definitely valid for US accounts. I am investigating whether or not they are valid for EU accounts. If they are not, I will provide valid EU game time codes for EU-based winners instead. Other regions may be more problematic, so please contact me if you are outside the US/EU regions and would like to participate.
- If there are a ton of entries, I may choose more than three game code winners.
- If you win, I’ll e-mail the code to the e-mail address that you used to send me your entry. E-mails should go out sometime on Tuesday.
- Forum members will vote for their favorite entries, with a run-off vote if we need more than one poll.
- If you are not a forum member, and would rather not sign up, that’s fine. Just e-mail me your votes and I’ll add them to the total.
- The polls will run for about three days, until midnight EDT on Thursday, March 25th. If there needs to be a run-off poll, that will run until midnight EDT on Sunday, March 28th.
- When all the votes have been tallied, I will post the three most popular entries on this blog with excessive praise and laudatory text.
- If the winners of the popular vote are members of the WoW Petopia forums, they will also receive a special forum title of “Haiku Master” in some interesting color.
And that’s the plan. Now send me some haiku!
* I own a WoW Visa card, which rewards me with 1% of my purchases in free game time. I route all my bills through that card, and then pay it off every month. This is actually fairly effective.
The free game time isn’t linked to my WoW account — it’s delivered via game time codes, like you would get on a game time card. So I can send it to any e-mail address, and that person can use it for any account.