I am trying to clear my desk in readiness for judging the stories sent to me by Donna and Doug, the organisers of the Whittaker Prize literary competition. I’m judging the short story entries, which will be piling in from March 7th. There are nine rounds finishing on July 11th. So, if there are, say, 30 competitors, I’ll have 30 anonymous stories to assess every two weeks. I am intrigued and in eager anticipation to see how the writers change during the competition. Will some find it too difficult to be original or let their standards slip or improve over their nine entries? The writers do not have to enter all nine rounds and can even miss the first round but would have to pay the full entry fee. See details here.
Luckily the length of each stories is maximized at 2,500 words or I won’t get any sleep. I am used to critiquing fiction using a grid and that is how I am to judge the stories. The sections with a total of 100 are:
10 technicalities (spelling, punctuation, formatting)
It’s not too late to enter this competition. Click on the link above and give it a go. Even if you don’t win you’ll have up to nine shorts to use for an anthology or magazines. Entry fee £15 ($30 Cdn or US). Writers may enter BOTH categories for a fee of £25 ($50 CDN or US).
Prizes £100 ($200 Cdn or US) for the winner of the fiction category PLUS £100 ($200 Cdn or US) for the winner of the poetry category
Winning entries from each round (fiction and poetry) will be published in an ISBN numbered anthology available for purchase in early September 2009. Authors who place first, second and third in each category will receive a free copy of the anthology.
As a consequence of being a judge in the Whittaker, I have been busy critiquing in other places, such as an anthology of stories based on an End of World common theme. Don’t worry there are a few survivors to tell the tale. I’m one of them, so to speak, and a group of us scribble away under the eye of Sally Quillford. We will publish the results in an anthology later this year.
I also need to finish Xaghra’s Revenge, or at least craft a few more thousand words for the BSFA Orbiters crit group in time for March. Aaarrggh it IS March. Signing off…