Judging Criteria

2020 Annual Writing Contest:
SEEING the WORLD in 20/20

Each work 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 score of 7 points per category as average and an overall score of 70 as average.

All works will be in Times New Roman font and 12-point, double spaced.

Technical/Mechanics ALL Categories

  1. Formatting: Punctuation, spelling, grammar, and syntax are standard except as required for literary effect. Intentional deviations from convention are consistent. All font and formatting meet contest requirements.
  2. Language: Word choice and order are precise, colorful, evocative. Vocabulary is appropriate to the subject, style and characters.
  3. Form/Pacing: Sentence length and breaks enhance the clarity, meaning and movement. Work moves well, does not become stagnant or devolve into tangents.
  4. Theme/Story: The work effectively explores or relates to the category in an interesting manner.
  5. Opening Hook: The opening captures the attention of the reader and clearly defines the focus of the work.
  6. Characters/Subject: The characters/subject of the work are credible, well-developed and appropriate to the genre.
  7. Voice/Dialogue: The voice of the narrator/author and/or characters are clear, unique and appropriate for the work or subject. There is a coherent, consistent point of view.
  8. Originality: The idea, perspective, or presentation is unique and fresh.

Additional Criteria for POETRY ONLY

— Entry must not exceed 250 lines.

  1. Drama/Impact: The poem as a whole, captures, effectively implies a compelling story, perspective or visualization. The poem evokes an emotional or thoughtful response from the reader.
  2. Message: The meaning or message of the poem is clear, focused and concise.

Additional Criteria for MEMOIR, BIOGRAPHY and all FICTION Prose Categories ONLY

  1. 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.
  2. Imagery/Setting: Setting is an understandable time and place, enhances the story. Figurative description creates rich or broad appeal.

Additional Criteria for NON-FICTION Categories ONLY (except for Memoir and Biography)

  1. Construction: The work effectively communicates information and/or instructions clearly.
  2. Content: The work/story examines the subject thoroughly, facts are correct.

Click here to return to the Main Contest Page.


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