For Writers and the Readers Who Love Them
For the Short Story Contest, Summer 2009.
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 Road Trip. 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 20% of the total score.
Storytelling addresses the large-scale structure of the story. Did it have a beginning, middle, and end? Did the story hold your interest throughout and did the author give you a reason to keep reading until the end? Did the characters seem real to you and did they have depth? Did the anthro-characters seem to be true to their species, or where they “humans in fur coats”? And did the author make factual errors with no logical reason given or implied? That is, did it seem as if the author didn’t do enough, or any, research?
Storytelling counts for 20% of the total score.
Writing addresses the small-scale structure of the story. Spelling, word choice, punctuation, sentence structure, paragraph construction, and other 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 story flow, or did you stumble through parts of it? Were you confused by shifts in point of view, verb tense, voice, or unexplained jumps in time or place? Did the descriptions seem crisp, or flabby? And did the author insult you by telling you what the characters were feeling rather than showing you through their dialog and actions?
Writing counts for 20% of the total score.
Please try to be objective when judging the other criteria, but enjoyability is about your opinion, and your opinion is supposed to be subjective. There’s nothing technical or mysterious about judging enjoyability—how do you feel about this story?
Enjoyability counts for 15% 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 five 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.
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. The story entry system will perform the word count.
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.
By entering this contest you give permission to Anthrofiction Network to publish your story to the private area of this website for the duration of the judging period (one month), and optionally for a period of time following the closing of this quarter’s judging. I also keep a copy of your story on file, but won’t give anyone access to that file without your permission.
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: 2009-Apr-08.     Page coding changed: 2009-Sep-01.