Flash Friday Vol.2 -5 Adventures in Judging part 2

1/10/2014 – Stay up until Midnight to see the picture and see if anything strikes me as interesting.  – I have a few ideas, but a long day ahead of me so I go to bed.

I have a few ideas for a story, but since most of them are fact not fiction I decide not to worry about it, it’s not like I won’t busy come 1/11/2014

1/10/201423:47 : Gather all the stories on the page, paste them into Word and begin the work of stripping out the author information, committing each story to a page.

As I do this I try not to notice things, but things like the title “The Truth About Time Travel” intrigues and amuses me… (My story for the inaugural “Race the Date” competition sported the same title.)

I’m doing this right before bed time so I won’t remember a thing by the time I’m ready to proceed.

By 1/11/2014 00:13 I have finished stripping out the information and verified that there are no entries that came in after I gathered up the others (I cheated… knowing that it takes some time to strip out the identifying information)

At this point all I know is… a lot of the regulars have posted and there are some names I don’t recall seeing.  There were also several entries without titles.

Remember: I judge on a points based scheme.  There’s the technical side:  Mechanics – spelling, grammar, typos… does it have a title? And I’ve already noticed some of these things but … for the time being, I’m going to go to bed knowing there are 50 stories to review (3 judge’s entries that aren’t eligible for competition, but are going to be read anyhow!)  and by the time I finish this part of my narrative… I’ve already pretty much forgotten everything I saw… except for “The Truth about Time Travel.”

1/11/2014 – 10:00 – Begin working on reading stories.  Open spread sheet – copy format – begin writing the story titles across the top… deal with puppy wanting attention, set zoom to 125% so I can read comfortably at my desk…Begin for real this time.

Read through and write down general impressions, then begin adding totals into spreadsheet


  1. Check word count – compare to word count provided – note information.
  2. Read Story
  3. Write comments on impressions etc.
  4. Count Typos – subtract from score (up to 10 points)
  5. Count Spelling errors – subtract from score (up to 10 points) (Note, I do not deduct points for using British Spelling)
  6. Grammar – same (with leeway for style and character usage)
  7. Does it have a beginning, middle and end?  (allow for stories where sections are combined or out of order)
  8. Did they use the prompt?
  9. Did they include the Dragon’s task
  10. Does it have a title?  Is it appropriate?


  1. Readability/Flow
  2. Hook
  3. Delivery
  4. Effect – “wow factor” – impact, something that really catches my attention
  5. Staying power/Haunting – does it haunt me?

Lather, Rinse, Repeat 46 times.

11:10  7 out of 50 stories read… 14% through – get sidetracked by Wikipedia entry on Wawona Tree Road.

11:24 – Realize I need to look at the stories and go back to work.  Goal: Read ¼ of the stories before taking a break.

11:49 – Stop at just over 1/5th read

13:58 – Between household chores I’ve gotten through the first pass

Next comes the task of finding the cut-off point.  There are 5-6 spots.

  • 20 are at 110 or higher
  • 9 are at 115 or higher

Anything scoring 115 or higher moves on to the next round where the scores are reset and I see just how memorable the stories are.

20:30 Begin next round – How does the story stay with you?  Re-reading a good story should feel like visiting with an old friend—something that makes you smile and say “Oh, yeah… I remember that…”

Looking for = 1 winner, 2 runner ups, 2-3 HMs.

Review – I now have my winners lined up.  Now comes the hard part – the write up.  I begin the write up, and then head to bed.

1/12/14  07:40 Write the first draft of comments. 08:30 Finish first draft (yes, there are drafts and revisions to the comments just as there are to the stories themselves.) 09:00 Final draft finished and emailed for final approval.

NOTE:  The final results can be found at: http://flashfriday.wordpress.com/

January 13, 2014

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