Judging a Writing Contest

Reading entries of the James River Writers Best Unpublished Novel contest.
Reading entries of the James River Writers Best Unpublished Novel contest.

Last year, I had been invited to enter the annual James River Writers, “Best Unpublished Novel” contest. I had strongly considered submitting my manuscript, but I knew what trusted friends confirmed: it wasn’t ready for the looming deadline. A day or so after deciding not to enter, I was then invited to judge the same contest. This was by far the better choice and I’m glad that it worked out this way.

I had never judged a contest and I looked forward to the experience. It turned out to be a wonderful way to spend a Saturday, sweetened by the location. A JRW member lent out her delightful home, situated on the James River. Every bit of it had character, charm and warmth.

I would guess that some two dozen people came and went throughout the day to help go through the 70+ entries. Judging involved reading the 50 submitted pages and filling out a form at the end. Judges score on elements ranging from basic spelling and grammar to voice, dialogue, plot and so on.

Generally a slow reader, I had finished five by the time we wrapped up for the day. I won’t get into the details of what I had read, but there was one that I hope to see become a finalist.

Good luck to all those  who entered!

2 thoughts on “Judging a Writing Contest”

    1. It was a lot of fun and worthwhile. Thanks for visiting and commenting. Have you been a judge or have submitting to a writing contest before?

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