This rubric serves as a guide for judges and participants alike.
There will be two rounds for this award, and judging begins immediately when a genre is full and it has its’ judges selected.
We’re only accepting 10 stories per genre. Only five stories will make it through to round two. After the second round, we will announce the top three winners for each genre on our wall.
For genres accepting only 5 stories, all 5 stories will be judged and scored with both the rounds one and two rubric. The top three stories with the highest combined scores will be announced as winners. There will be no round one elimination.
✦ Title - 5 Points
Well, this far into the story, how well does the title correlate with the tale? Does it enhance the optics of the story? Does it appear to be well-thought-out?
✦ Cover - 5 Points
How aesthetically pleasing is it? Does it incite a desire to know more? The colours and fonts and placement, does it match the story’s theme? Does it sell it?
✦ Blurb - 10 Points
How true to the story is the summary? Is the summary interesting and compelling to read? Is it concise enough that it gives just enough information without overselling the story? Does it incite a desire and curiosity to read?
✦ Characterization - 10 Points
Does the author create believable, memorable characters with the uniqueness, complexity, and individuality of real people? Do you respond to the characters either positively or negatively? Does the main character respond to and influence events? Does the dialogue contribute to rich, vivid, unique characterization?
✦ Writing Quality - 10 Points
Does the quality of the author’s story and deftness in handling point-of-view enhance the story? Do specific details appeal to your senses and hold your attention? Does the author use precise, active verbs? Does the rhythm of the prose enhance the meaning? Are metaphors and similes skillfully employed?
✦ Plot - 10 Points
Has the author constructed a clear, convincing and compelling story line with a recognizable arc of conflict, crisis, and resolution? Are obstacles to be overcome sufficiently challenging to the protagonists? Do you feel tension mounting in the story? Is the resolution innovative, credible and authentic?
✦ Theme - 10 Points
Does the story contain a central or dominating theme? Does the author make this idea concrete through the characters and their actions? How well is the message integrated into the story? Is the story agenda-driven?
✦ Mechanics - 10 Points
Are there errors present in spelling, grammar, paragraphing, and punctuation? Are words used incorrectly? Do typographical errors mar your enjoyment of the story? Does the vocabulary fit and enhance your understanding of each character, as well as the setting? Are language and grammar authentic?
✦ Setting/Atmosphere - 10 Points
Are historical and geographic details sufficiently and accurately developed to give the story a realistic or appropriate atmosphere and setting? Can you visualize the places being described? Does the story contain anachronisms?
✦ Premise/Concept- 15 Points
Does the writer engage the reader’s attention immediately? Is tone, setting, and character established quickly? The idea behind the story, the “hook,” how well written is it? Are the timing of the action, unfolding of plot elements, and pace of character development done properly? The overall quality of the writing, how is it? Is the tone is appropriate to the material and is the narrative distinct, and does it effectively convey the mood or “feel” of the story?
✧ Style/ Originality - 20 Points
✧ Organization - 10 points
✧ Coherence of form and structure (harmony of words, presentation) - 10 points
✧ Relevance to the theme - 10 points
✧ Content - 20 points
✧ Interpretation- 10 points
✧ Clarity of imagery and language - 10 points
✧ Form/Structure - 20 points