For Writers and the Readers Who Love Them
For the Short Story Contest, Fall 2008.
The Judging Criteria
Read each story then judge it on the following criteria.
Was the contest theme important to the story, or does it seem tacked on? If it was important, was it so tightly interwoven with the story that changing the theme would require a significant change in the story?
The theme for this quarter’s contest is Ghost Story. More about the theme.
Theme counts for 25% of the total score.
How original was the story? Was it innovative? If it used an old idea did the author give it a new twist? Or did it seem like you’ve read similar stories and this one didn’t really add anything new.
Creativity counts for 25% of the total score.
How did the story make you feel? A good story should touch your emotions without resorting to tricks or clichés. Does the author leave you wanting to read more, or were you temped to stop reading part way through? Did the characters seem real to you and did they have depth, or were they little more than cartoon characters? Did the anthro-characters seem to be true to their species, or were they “humans in fur coats”? Did the descriptions seem crisp, or flabby? Did the story flow, or did you stumble through parts of it?
Enjoyability counts for 25% of the total score.
There are two aspects to technical. First: spelling, word choice, punctuation, sentence structure, paragraph construction, and other fine-scale aspects of writing need to be correct for the page and the author to vanish from the reader’s mind, leaving only the characters to play out the story. Did the author do this, or were you distracted by small-scale writing errors? Second: even though these stories are fiction, an author will often use existing facts from the real world to give their story a feeling of reality. Did the author make factual errors with no logical reason given or implied? Did it seem as if the author didn’t do enough, or any, research?
Technical counts for 25% of the total score.
How the Scores are Calculated
All readers are encouraged to fill out ballots for the stories they have read. Following the judging criteria, each story is rated in four categories. Reader scores are averaged to make the total score. Readers are also encouraged to leave comments to the author as to why they felt the story worked or didn’t work.
Scores are calculated to two decimal places. In the event of a tie, it’s simply a tie.
How to Enter the Contest
All stories are to be between 1000 and 3500 words and an original work by the author. No fan-fiction please, except by special permission, and then not for a commercial work. Word count is actual, not the traditional editor’s estimation based on lines of text.
By entering this contest, you give permission to Anthrofiction Network to post your story in the members only section this website for the duration of the judging period (one month), and optionally for an additional three months following the closing of this quarter’s judging. You also grant Anthrofiction Network permission to publically post a small excerpt of your story (not to exceed the first 100 words) to other websites for the purpose of promoting this contest and your story. We also keep a copy of your story on file, but won’t make that copy public.
Each story must contain at least one anthropomorphic character in an important role. For a definition of anthrofiction and anthropomorphic see, Anthrofiction Defined. Word to the wise: many readers will reward the author who treats his or her anthro-character(s) as more than “humans in fur coats.”
No more than the equivalent of a PG-13 rating, please. Your story may explore the themes of sex, violence, or drug use, but keep depictions of these activities out of scene. For example, you may write a story of a rape victim who is putting her life back together, but you may not depict a rape scene. And please watch your language.
Stories must include the contest theme in either a literal or figurative way. Your central theme does not need to be the contest theme, but just mentioning the contest theme is not enough. Word to the wise: in the past, stories with a tightly integrated contest theme were the ones who ended up near the top of the rankings.
Stories may only be submitted one time to any Anthrofiction Network writing contest, or its predecessor, the Watching Stone AnthroStory Contest (2005) or to the Tail Weaver Contest (winter 2008). Also, do not recycle your older published work unless you’ve substantially changed it since it was published. Here “substantial” means at least a 20% change, and “published” means you’ve made it available to the public—for example by openly posting it on a website. If you have any questions please contact the contest manager Scott Miller well before the entry deadline and provide copies of your story in its present and prior published forms.
No author may enter more than two stories for any single season. That is, no more than eight entries per year.
All stories are copyright by their respective authors. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated by the author. Other web page contents and coding are copyright 2006 through 2009 by Scott Miller (ScottyDM) of Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA. All rights reserved. Feel free to contact me about anything on this site.
Page contents changed: 2008-Oct-08.     Page coding changed: 2009-Sep-01.