Greetings fellow Tumblrers! Today’s post comes to you in four parts, so lets go!

Part 1: Sorry

No, not that one

That’s it

Okay, so I know that I was meant to have done this post last week, and am very sorry that I did not. There are all kinds of reasons, but none of them really explain anything, so I’m just going to apologise. Sorry. But hey! We’re back now! So lets get on

Part 2: The Criteria

Our judges aren’t this mean…honest…

So as we’ve been discussing over the last few months, the judges are going to have criteria by which to judge this contest. You’re not going to be sending off your submissions to them blindly, we are going to have a system. And its my privilege now to be able to reveal to you part of that system. I will say that this isn’t the whole thing, because we are still in the process of discussing some parts of it, but this is most of it by a long way. So without further ado, here are the criteria that you will need to be thinking about when you write your story for the contest.

S.P.A.G. W.C (Spelling, Punctuation, Aesthetic, Grammar, Word Count) – 10pts max

Does the story go over the word count? (5-20 words over -1pts, 21-40 words over -2pts, 41-60 words over -3pts, 61-80 words over -4pts, 81-100 words over -5 pts, >100 words over -10pts)

Are there spelling mistakes? Are they minor/major? Are they frequent? Do they distract from the story? (both British and American spelling will be accepted BUT they must be consistent throughout)

Are there punctuation mistakes? Are they minor/major? Are they frequent? Do they distract from the story?

Are there aesthetic mistakes (in context this means malformed paragraphs – things like no indenting etc, is a new character’s speech always on a new line etc.)

Are there grammar mistakes? Are they minor/major? Are they frequent? Do they distract from the story?

Exact pointing system here is at the judge’s discretion – Minimum = 0pts (The only way to get this is if practically every word is spelt wrong, and grammar/spelling/aesthetic/punctuation errors are ubiquitous, or if word count goes more than 100 words over length)


Writing/Style – 10pts max

Is there a consistent writing style?

Does the style fit the story?

Is there a specific writing voice?

Is there wide use of vocab? Is the vocab level used appropriate to the story in question?

Does the language flow?

Exact pointing system here is at the judge’s discretion – Minimum = 1pts


Character development – 10pts max

Are the characters believable? Are they fully fleshed out? Are the three-dimensional? Do their motivations make sense?

Does the dialogue make sense? Does it seem believable?

Are accents (if present) portrayed believably?

Exact pointing system here is at the judge’s discretion – Minimum = 1pts


Plot development – 10pts max

Is there a strong plot?

Does it keep the pace well?

Does it interest the reader enough to keep reading for reasons above and beyond the fact that they have to?

Are the events of the plot believably strung together?

Exact pointing system here is at the judge’s discretion – Minimum = 1pts


Originality – 10pts max

Is the story an original take on the theme?

Are the characters more than tropes?

If the story does use tropes, does it use them in an engaging/interesting way?

Exact pointing system here is at the judge’s discretion – Minimum = 0pts (if the story is, in the judge’s opinion VERY obviously lifted from another story, without any kind of original take)

Side note – if the story is fan-fiction (using characters/setting/exact elements from an established franchise) it is automatically disqualified.


Theme/Prompt – 10pts max

Does the story use the theme/prompt?

Is the theme/prompt central?

Is the theme/prompt used in an interesting way?

Exact pointing system here is at the judge’s discretion – Minimum = 0pts (Only to be given out if the story has NOT followed the prompt AT ALL)

This gives you a total score out of sixty currently. There will be one or two more sections for the final version of this, I expect, but at the moment, those particular ones are not all that relevant because of part three.

Part 3: A practice run

As I promised, we will be doing a practice run at this point. A small version of the contest where I give you a prompt and you guys have to write a story to that prompt within the time limit of say two weeks (that gives us time to do this again before the real event).

Before we get into what the prompt actually is, lets just discuss how we will be doing submission and judging this time round. This time, to let you all have a feel for both writing and judging, to get you familiar with the criteria etc, we’re not going to be asking the judges for help directly here. What we’re going to be doing is judging each others work. After this post, I’ll be putting a smaller post with just a photo or two and a few lines of description.

If you’re wanting to submit a story to the practice run, please reblog the post and include a link to a tumblr post, where we can read that story afterwards (if you don’t want to post the entire story on your tumblr itself, then in the reblog post a link to a tumblr post containing a link to where the story can be found).

Once you have done that, have a read though some other peoples stories and if you want to judge theirs, reblog their tumblr posts and add the score you would give, outlining each section’s points and then their points overall.

So to summarise

1. Reblog the short post coming after this post.

2. Include in the reblog a link to a tumblr post either containing, or directing us to, your story

3. Read other peoples stories on their blogs

4. Reblog them, including your judgements based on the criteria contained within.

On the seventh of April, I’ll be announcing who won, based on a mean average of everyone’s scores. So please, to make the contest as fair as possible, please be taking part.

Now for the part you’ve all been waiting for though, the practice run’s prompt. And the prompt is…

Part 4: Prompt

The prompt is…


That’s right. In this practice run, I’m wanting you to write me a 1000-3500 word story about a battlefield. Before you start writing though, I want you please to have a little read of what I have to say here.

It doesn’t have to be a real battlefield. It can be real, but it could also be entirely made up. It could be in Africa, Europe, North America, Narina (okay, not actually Narina, see the fan-fiction rules, but somewhere fantastical), Saturn, the horse head Nebula, the pond across the road, anywhere. But it has to be/has to had to have been/must one day be, a battlefield.

That’s another important point. The battle doesn’t actually have to be happening in the story. Maybe the battle was a long time in the past, or maybe it will happen in the future. That’s not the point of the prompt. The prompt is that it has to somehow involve the battlefield.

Even furthermore, if you feel that I’ve somehow let you down because you are no good at writing war stories, or even stories that involve wars, or armies or generals or fighting like that, take heart. I never said that it had to be a military battle. It could be the site of some particularly important confrontation of ideologies. Maybe its the hall where some great debate took place, or a very important, or perhaps not so important court battle. Or maybe its a couple, who look back at a particularly heated fight they had a long time ago, and where it took place. Maybe it isn’t looking back, maybe its something else. Maybe it’s the site of a long standing family dispute between two groups. Maybe its… all kinds of things.

The point is, the prompt is very broad. The only one negative piece of advice I would say, is not to let the battle overshadow the battlefield in the prompt. By which I mean, keep the setting, and the importance of the place, as a theme, important. Don’t let it simply become a story about a battle. That’s too easy. Make where the battle happens an important part of the story. What does it mean, how does it change things? All those sorts of thoughts.

So get writing! You have until 7th April to write and judge stories. Therefore, the sooner you get them in, the more people will be able to judge them.

Away you all go! Best wishes, God Bless and, of course DFTBA!

  1. dftbashortstorycontest posted this