by Anonymous SCBWI Contest Judge
Years ago, I’d sit among other eager writers, waiting to hear if my submission had won “Special Mention” or even better, “Most Promising.” Watching the elated winner claim their award, I’d wonder why my story didn’t capture the prize.
Now as a contest judge who’s “been there,” I hope that sharing my insights on how to take a story from good to impressive will help another aspiring writer.
Judges respond to stories that engage us. I may love some genres more than others, but when judging, I set aside personal preferences and look at the caliber of the work.
I read contest submissions multiple times to answer two key questions: