Short Story Contest #4

Level 6
Feb 5, 2008
Spamming the contest with judges won't improve the judging quality, if anything it will detract from it. There will always be one judge that is more qualified and spot on than the others, and adding more judges will only lower the weight that the best one has on the contest.

Avator, a short story is commonly accepted to be any piece of writing under 7,500 to 9,000 words. 6,000 is well within that category. However, it is still Midnighters decision.

Adding a grammar category to the contest seems a bit illegitimate, this isn't a high school english assignment after all. If someone has terrible grammar and yet can still have a great plot, character development, and theme then... well I would say that would be quite an amazing feat. Hence the term "amazing", usually poor grammar will detract from the rest of the story. For the sake of having a deeper and more meaningful critique, lets keep the "Grammar" category out of the judging criteria.

I thank Midnighters for adding "Theme" to the criteria, although your description doesn't really hit the intended meaning. In fact, all of the descriptions of the categories (besides the new "Theme" addition) seem to be watered down versions of the ones from the last contest. May I suggest more refined alternatives?

Plot: Did the plot of the story keep the reader entertained? Did it make sense without being too simplified? Did events and conflicts within the story tie together in an interesting manner in order to reach the climax? Was the end result of the story satisfying?

Characters (I recommend that you change this to "Characterization"): Were the characters strongly drawn, clearly separate, and fully developed? Did the main character primarily act within his established mindset?

Structure (Quite honestly, this topic seems useless and should be removed. Structure is part of the plot, and therefore should lie under the "Plot" category)

Flow (Once again, this one should be removed. The flow of a story is part of the plot as well, and too should be categorized under the "Plot" category)

Does the story have powerful yet subtle dramatic overtones which have been skillfully interwoven throughout the writing? These "Dramatic Overtones" include any sort of recurring element used by the writer to invoke feelings and thoughts within the reader's mind. Do these elements appear throughout the story in satisfying ways, without seeming overstated or contrived? War is Hell, Dual Elements, and Prevailing Heroism are all examples of themes.

To even out the recommended removal of Structure and Flow, I would say that you add "Style" as a new category in the criteria.

Style: Is the style of writing appropriate to the story? Does it serve to heighten the effectiveness of the plot? This includes interesting and appropriate language, diction, and syntax.

Plot - 20 points
Characterization - 10 points
Theme - 10 points
Style - 5 points