All stories entered in our quarterly contests are judged on their own merit—not against the other entries. Judges work through a series of 11 questions, applying a grade out of five, 1 meaning 'not really' and 5 meaning 'totally'. These numbers are tallied for a final score and then averaged with the other judges findings. The highest final score determines the winner.
Hook: Are you immediately drawn into the story?
Style: Is the writer's voice distinct and unique, creating a compelling, readable narrative? Is it fresh and original, avoiding cliches?
Setting: Does the setting support the story? Is a sense of time and place established? Would it be easy to picture even without the write prompt image?
Characters: Is the main character identifiable yet unique? Are emotions believable, providing understandable motivations?
Conflict: Are character motivation powerful enough to create sufficient conflict? Is the potential for conflict strong enough to move the story forward?
Dialogue: Is dialogue natural? Do characters have their own unique voices?
Pacing: Does the story flow smoothly, giving a sense of forward movement?
Story: Does the story hold your interest to the very end? If inspirational elements are introduced, do they flow smoothly and organically out of character or plot?
Believably: Does everything in the story build logically and believably toward the end/climax?
Mechanics: Does the spelling, grammar, punctuation, and paragraph structure show an obvious attention to detail, and that care was taken with the entry?
Overall impression: Did you enjoy it? Is the writing vivid and appropriate to the write prompt image?