Judging Criteria

2019 Short Prose & Poetry Contest

Fiction, Biography, Memoir

Each story can achieve a maximum of 100 points. Criteria are scored from one to ten with one being the lowest and ten being perfect. Judges must consider a “5” as the average for a starting point.

  1. Style & Presentation: Punctuation, spelling, grammar, and syntax are standard except as required for literary effect. Intentional deviations from conventions are consistent. Font styles and size meet contest requirements.
  2. Language: Vocabulary is appropriate to the subject, style, and characters. Word choice is precise and evocative.
  3. Form/Pacing: Sentence length and paragraph breaks enhance the clarity, meaning, and movement of the prose. Story moves well, does not become stagnant.
  4. Theme/Story: The story effectively explores or relates to the theme of the category in an interesting manner.
  5. Opening Hook: The opening captures the attention of the reader immediately.
  6. Characters: The characters are credible, well-developed and appropriate to the genre.
  7. Drama/Conflict/Impact: Dramatic tension is compelling and results in a credible climax and resolution. It effectively engages the reader and evokes an emotional response.
  8. Voice/Dialogue: The voice of the narrator and characters are clear and unique, and appropriate for the story or subject. There is a coherent, consistent point of view.
  9. Imagery/Setting: Setting is an understandable time and place; enhances the story. Figurative description creates rich or broad sensory appeal.
  10. Originality: The idea, perspective, or presentation is unique and fresh.

Nonfiction (Except Biography and Memoir)

Each story can achieve a maximum of 100 points. Criteria are scored from one to ten with one being the lowest and ten being perfect. Judges must consider a “5” as the average for a starting point.

  1. Style & Presentation: Punctuation, spelling, grammar, and syntax are standard except as required for literary effect. Intentional deviations from conventions are consistent. Font styles and size meet contest requirements.
  2. Language: Vocabulary is appropriate to the subject, style, and characters. Word choice is precise and evocative.
  3. Form: Sentence length and paragraph breaks enhance the clarity, meaning, and movement of the prose.
  4. Pacing: Story moves well, does not become stagnant, or go off on an unnecessary tangent.
  5. Opening: Opening paragraphs clearly define the focus of the story/article.
  6. Construction: The article effectively communicates information and/or instructions clearly.
  7. Content: The article/story examines the subject thoroughly, facts are correct.
  8. Voice: Rhetoric is appropriate and interesting.
  9. Point of View: Article/story offers the author’s point of view in a clear and compelling manner.
  10. References: Basis for observations, background, opinions or instruction is backed by references or footnotes.

Poetry

Poems can achieve a maximum of 90 points. Criteria are scored from one to ten with one being the lowest and ten being perfect.

  1. Style: Does the poem follow the pre-stated form or style?
  2. Presentation: Is the meter and rhyme consistent? Does it follow font guidelines?
  3. Language/Imagery: Word choice and order are precise, colorful, and evocative, and create audible appeal.
  4. Appearance/Artistry: Visual layout of the words on the page enhances understanding, readability, and style.
  5. Structure/Form/Flow: Line length and line breaks enhance the clarity, meaning, and movement of the poem.
  6. Drama: The poem as a whole captures or effectively implies a compelling story, perspective, or visualization.
  7. Impact: The poem evokes an emotional or thoughtful response from the reader.
  8. Message: The meaning or message of the poem is clear, focused, and concise.
  9. Originality: The idea, perspective, or presentation is unique and fresh.

Click here to return to the Main Contest Page.


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