Writing Competitions- The Judging Process

Part Two

By Annette Young

Last week I wrote that it may be much easier to win a writing competition than you might think and I wanted to follow on this week to clarify just what happens once you have submitted your entry.

All submissions get filed into a specific electronic folder the moment that they arrive in the in-box and this way, we know that we have all of the entries safe and secure for when judging begins. There is general admin work such as spending time to ensure that correct entry fees have been made and also checking the Premier membership entries are valid ones plus once reviewing starts we check that all submissions do adhere to the word count rule.

Volumes received can vary and if you are keen to enter a writing competition, you do have more chance of winning a smaller competition than one of the  big ones simply because less people enter the smaller competitions- for obvious reasons, there is less prize money to tempt people.

The judging process is time-consuming, we read each and every submission, looking for tightly written entries, good characterization, a compelling opening, a strong plot and a good pace throughout. Obviously the criteria may change depending on the type of competition and the rules and one of our main preferences is that entries take any given theme and provide an imaginative response.

Some submissions are disqualified quickly, others are then rejected due to the quality of writing after they have been reviewed several times. This process continues until a short list of the best entries can be created. We tend to leave these to one side for a while so that when we return to the submissions, we review them with fresh eyes and can judge more fairly.

The process from start to finish can be a lengthy one but we do our utmost to ensure that the best entry wins. From a writing perspective, it is never easy to sit back and wait for the results but as someone who has entered many writing competitions, I would say, don’t sit back and wait. Get on with the process of writing and developing your skills. Keep entering new competitions, keep writing short stories and articles or get started on your novel project.

Whilst you should always keep a note of which competitions have been entered, there is no point sitting back with nail-biting nerves hoping and praying that your entry is going to win, instead utilize that time wisely, get as many of your writing projects out there as is possible and you never know you might have lots of competition wins under your belt.

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One Reply to “Writing Competitions- The Judging Process”

  1. Thanks for detailing the judging process, it helps adds some transparency to the contest. I’m sure you get plenty of emails from impatient contestants.

    It could be a lot of work, but really useful if periodic updates were given for the various contests that have expired. I.e
    -Received and validating entry fees
    -In # round of screening

    Some qualitative statements about volume would also help. I’m just guessing here
    Few entries (<50)
    Average entries (50-100)
    Many entries (100+)

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