Single   Judging model




distributed judging model



round one


Principal judges of each contest are free to use their own methods. However, after discussing the task with past and prospective judges, we've developed suggested models for efficiently judging 500 short stories.


If a single judge wishes to judge all entries in a contest, the editors can submit entries to the judge at regular intervals during the contest. For example, judges could receive groups of stories to read twice a week throughout the duration of the contest (which is typically one month). Final judging could take place in the two-week period between when the contest closes and winners are announced.

A principal judge, such as an instructor in a creative writing program, may wish to enlist students to help with judging at the preliminary stage. This model distributes the task of reading and judging 500 stories among fellow judging participants. It could also serve as as an rewarding exercise for a creative writing class. An explanation of this judging model is below.

The principal judge assigns 25 students or other judging participants to each read and score 20 stories. Each participant may submit only two stories for the next round of judging. This reduces 500 candidate stories to 50.

round two

The principal judge assigns the 50 stories from the first round among remaining judging participants, who judge each one on a 10-point scale. Alternatively, the principal judge may read and judge all 50 stories on a 10-point scale. 


The principal judge, with assistance from other participating judges if he or she wishes, reads all stories with a score of  7 or greater from round two, and score them on a 100-point scale. Scores are tallied, and top three scores win.