As you contestants know, the Spring 2008 Flash Fiction Contest has closed. Many previous contestants know the drill, but for you newbies, here's the skinny:
1. We are working on formatting the entries to send to the guest judges. This means we remove awkward email formatting (strange spacing, odd characters) only. We also format the entry into Verdana 14 pt, to make it easier for our judges to read, and remove any contact information (names, addresses, etc.) to ensure blind judging.
2. Scoring: Your formatted entries will then go to our guest judges, who will be scoring them on the categories of Subject, Content, Technical, and overall impression.
Here's a breakdown of the categories:
Subject: Topic choice. Is it original? Appropriate for WOW! readers?
Content: Is it fiction? Is the story well developed? Is there a plot/point to the story? Is it compelling? Are the characters well drawn?
Technical: Is there a title and proper word count? We also check for spelling, punctuation and grammar, correct tense, active not passive sentences, overuse of adverbs, and use of "wrylies."
Overview: General impression about the writing style, how the story affected the reader, etc.
These categories are judged with a 1-5 score (5 being the best) by a round-table of 4-5 judges over the following weeks.
3. First Round Judging: At this point, if your story isn't disqualified and scores well, you will receive an email confirming you made it through First Round judging.
4. Top Scores: Then, the entries are narrowed down by top scores and sent to our guest judge of the season. In this case, literary agent, Wendy Sherman.
5. In the third week of June, we will notify the Top 10 Contestants that they placed in the Top 10. This means your entry will be published on WOW!, although we don't know yet who the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners are yet. We like to leave it as a surprise! At this time, if you are among the top 10, we will ask you to submit a brief bio & head shot. Note: depending on how fast our guest judge decides, we may send out an email informing honorable mentions of their win. We will try our best to make this happen, although we cannot guarantee it.
6. July Ezine Issue of WOW!: everyone is notified! All winners will be in a feature article on WOW! Women On Writing, media releases will be sent out, an announcement will go out in our monthly newsletter, and many, many kudos will go out to all who participated.
7. Critiques: those of you who purchased a critique, will be receiving your critique via email during the month of July. We have to wait until after all the winners are chosen and published on the website to ensure fairness. We wouldn't want anyone leaking their scores to others (not that you would!), but that's the reason why we have to wait until the winners are officially published. This is very exciting, since this is the first time we're offering critiques. When you receive yours, please let us know how we are doing.
8. Prizes: if you are in the top 35, you will receive a prize via snail mail, or, if you are international and in the top 35, you will receive an Amazon gift certificate via email. Prizes are typically sent out late July/early August, depending on the expedience of our sponsor and our manufacturers.
9. Interviews with Top 10 Contestants: After contest winners are announced in our July issue, we will be sending out interview questions for the top 10 entries via email. Interviews will then be posted each Tuesday over the next few months (on The Muffin, here) on a first-come, first-serve basis. This is a great chance for promotion! So if you are in the top 10, get your links, clips, and important info together and we'll promote you. Tuesdays are Contest Winner days!
So, that's about it! I hope this has shed some light on the process. We will be posting updates and other information here on The Muffin, so be sure to check back.
Also, if you missed this contest, or want to enter again, the Summer 2008 Flash Fiction Contest is OPEN. This will be our last open prompt contest until the Winter season (we're not sure if that will be an open prompt or not), so take advantage, polish off those WIPs (works in progress), tailor them to the word-count, and get moving! Remember, our guest judges love to read entries early, when they are fresh and unstressed. Visit our contest page, and enter the Summer 2008 Flash Fiction Contest with Guest Judge, Literary Agent, Elise Capron!
Cheers, and happy writing!