Contest Judges Area

Judging Countdown

Judging Ends July 16 at Midnight

Table of Contents


Judging Documents

Judging Checklist

If you have questions while completing this checklist, contact Pam Nowak or Susie Brooks, Contest Chairs.

First, download the Judging Documents above to your hard drive. Refer to these documents as needed.

Second, read the Judges' Instructions. Note there are changes from last year.

Third, review the Judging & Critique Examples and Judging FAQs to the left as needed. These are highly recommended reads for new judges.

Fourth, you will receive your assigned contest entries via email. Save the scoresheets and entries to your computer. Please do not change the file names for any of the documents.

Fifth, review the contest entries. If you cannot judge an entry for any reason, contact Pam Nowak or Susie Brooks, Contest Chairs ASAP.

Sixth, judge entries according to the Judges' Instructions. Provide a critique for entries with a CR in the file name.

Record scores and comments on the
scoresheet emailed to you with the
entries. Do not use the Sample Scoresheet
with the Judging Documents above.

Seventh, return entries and scoresheets to Contest Chairs, as soon as they are complete. Again, do not change the file names of contest entries or scoresheets.

Welcome, Colorado Gold Contest Judges!

This is a private page intended as a clearing house for contest information from the judging perspective. Here, you'll find the judges' instructions, samples of judged entries and critiques, and expanded explanations of judging rules and best practices. This information is meant to serve as a training manual for new judges as well as clarify expectations and standards for all judges.

Feel free to send questions or comments to Pam Nowak or Susie Brooks, Contest Chairs.




Judging & Critique Examples

Completed Judging Example by Nikki Baird

Nikki tackles Stephenie Meyer's New Moon, the second book of the Twilight series. Nikki's scoresheets are excellent examples of what a scoresheet is supposed to do. Note how she offers detailed feedback about what the writer is doing right as well as what didn't work for her and gives suggestions for improvement. And the most important thing: she provides a clear explanation for the scores and why the entrant isn't getting full points. Though writers are still disappointed by low contest scores, at least in this case the writer has a lot of information about why the judge scored as she did.

Completed Judging Example by Nikki Baird

Critique Example by Susan Smith

There are a number of great things about Susan's critiques. The length is almost twice the required 2 single-spaced pages. It's clear she's read the entry thoroughly and gave it a lot of thought. She points out the good and bad in the entrant's writing. She states that this is only her reaction and food for thought, but what really stands out about Susan's input is how passionate she is about writing and taking the judging responsibility seriously. Entrants pay an extra $25 for critiques over the $30 entrance fee. With Susan, they definitely get their money's worth.

Critique Example by Susan Smith

Monica Poole's Tips for Moderate Scoring

This tip sheet is for those manuscripts, you know the ones I’m talking about, the ones you start reading and groan. You get to the scoresheet and think, "Hmmmm, is this average for a contest? No way, this deserves a 2 at best." You might be 100% correct. But your partner judge might not have the same reaction, OR, might be a little more generous.

It’s a 3rd read nightmare waiting to happen. So what to do?

Monica Poole's Tips for Moderate Scoring


Judging FAQs

Send questions not addressed here to Contest Chair.

I'm a new judge and a little unsure how to start judging. Any suggestions?

Can I return my judged entries as I complete them or do I have to wait until they are all judged?

Yes, please return the entries you've judged ASAP.

Am I required to judge all entries that are sent to me?

No. There are a number of reasons why you would not judge an entry including:

  • You know the author
  • The genre is outside your knowledge
  • You've previously judged the entry
  • The subject matter is unacceptable to you
  • You will not have enough time to judge your entries

In any case, contact a Contest Chair ASAP if you cannot judge an entry.

I can't open the Judges' Instructions in the Word document emailed to me with the entries I'm judging. What should I do?

The Judges' Instructions in the Judging Documents section in the upper right is a PDF format. Use that document instead.


Having trouble finding an answer here? Contact Pam Nowak or Susie Brooks, Contest Chair. You can also contact Wendy Howard at, if you need technical support with this page.