2016 Sample Scoresheet

2016 Colorado Gold Writing Contest Scoresheet

Category:
Title:
Entry #:
Subgenre:
Critique? Yes _____ No _____

SCORES
__________ Formatting & Presentation
__________ Genre
__________ Storytelling
__________ Writing Craft
__________ Synopsis
__________ Bonus Points
__________ TOTAL SCORE (80 points possible)
(Judges: please double-check your addition)

SCORING GUIDE
All judging criteria apply to the area being judged. For categories that go up to 5 points, adjust scale accordingly.
7 = Entry is of publishable quality, ready to go in front of an agent or editor. Both writing craft and storytelling ability are equivalent to published work of the same genre.
6 = Entry is close to publishable. Only minor edits or adjustments in storytelling and writing craft seem necessary to bring the entry up to publishable standard.
5 = Entry is above average for a writing contest. Entry exhibits most of the basics of the writing and storytelling craft, but weak points are distracting.
4 = Entry is average for a writing contest, with weaknesses that make it not ready to go in front of a publishing professional. Writing and storytelling ability are not honed.
3 = Entry is below average for a writing contest. Writing and storytelling ability are significantly lacking.
2 = Entry lacks both storytelling and writing ability. Judge can clearly see areas for improvement and has noted them.
The criteria generally apply to commercial fiction. Judges may select those criteria most applicable to the work and assess each entry on its own merits. Criteria and scores are subjective. Judges: Please explain your scores in the space provided.
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Judges: In order to maintain consistency and ensure contestants aren't penalized for technical glitches beyond their control, Formatting and Presentation will now be scored during the Intake process. Please include the score in your final total.
FORMATTING AND PRESENTATION: __________ TOTAL SCORE
Category--5 points possible
The manuscript and synopsis are professionally prepared according to contest rules. Maximum 4000 word manuscript, 750 word synopsis. 12 point Courier, Courier New, or Times New Roman font; double-spaced; 1” margins; ragged right margin; header, including page numbers on every page. 24 to 25 lines per page. Chapters and synopsis begin 1/3 down the page. Contestant's name doesn't appear anywhere on the entry.
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GENRE: __________ TOTAL SCORE
Category--5 points possible
The story meets the general standards of this category and subgenre, evident in both the manuscript and the synopsis. (See the category and subgenre guide for criteria.)
5=seamless fit for genre; 4=good fit, perhaps ordinary or stock; 3=some difficulties with genre elements, world, or research; 2=difficulties determining genre or wrong genre
JUDGE'S COMMENTS:
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STORYTELLING: __________ TOTAL SCORE
Category--28 points possible

__________ Beginning
(Score between 2-7 points)
The writer opens with a setting that doesn’t overwhelm the reader with description and an interesting POV (point of view) character with a definite problem or stuck in a critical situation. The story starts in the right place. The story question and/or premise is foreshadowed or established. There's a strong hook.
JUDGE'S COMMENTS:

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__________ Narrative/Voice
(Score between 2-7 points)
The writer has created a compelling, readable narrative. The narrative voice is clear, strong and consistent. The voice matches the characters’ dialogue, motivations and goals, and doesn't read as authorial. The writer has avoided stumbling blocks to the storytelling flow, like too much description, not enough description, language that doesn't suit the tone, verb tenses that don't match, telling rather than showing, etc. Metaphors and similes are suited to the character, setting, and time period/world-building. Choreography is clear and easily visualized. Writer does not rely on a lot of passive verbs and/or helping adverbs.
JUDGE'S COMMENTS:

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__________POV (Point of view)
(Score between 2-7 points)
The POV is the right one for the story. The POV is clear and consistent without a lot of head-hopping. Changes in POV are deliberate, enhance the story and propel the plot forward. POV stays true to character viewpoint and doesn't include info the POV character can't know. The POV is deep enough and close enough when appropriate.
JUDGE'S COMMENTS:

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__________ Emotional Content
(Score between 2-7 points)
The writer succeeds at connecting with the reader on an emotional level. The emotional intensity of the character’s crisis or predicament is convincingly dramatized. The stakes are clear and are high enough. The writer avoids a heavy reliance on coincidence, backstory, or info dumps that undermines the drama and hinders the reader’s emotional connection to the story.
JUDGE'S COMMENTS:

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WRITING CRAFT ____________ Total Score
Category--26 points possible

__________ Scene Craft
(Score between 2-7 points)
Scenes have a beginning, a middle and an end. The scene goal is clear. Scenes drive the story forward and are not gratuitous or arbitrary. Changes in setting are clearly staged, and the transitions between scenes are clear. Scenes are fully fleshed out, not narrative summary nor a list of events occurring in sequence.
JUDGE'S COMMENTS:

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____________Characterization
(Score between 2-7 points)
Characters are compelling and interesting, with inner lives, conflicts, and flaws as well as outer conflicts and problems. They have clear motives and goals. The characters shape the plot rather than the other way around; that is, they act in ways that make sense for that character instead of changing to fit the plot. The protagonist and antagonist are well-defined and clearly in conflict with each other. Secondary characters are used to good effect and are not underdeveloped or intrusive. The characters feel fresh, unique and real.
JUDGE'S COMMENTS:

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_____________ Dialogue
(Score between 2-7 points)
The dialogue reveals character, evokes emotion and tension, and advances the plot. The writer avoids using empty dialogue that doesn't add anything relevant to character or plot development. Characters don't talk in "info dumps" or tell each other things they already know as a short-cut to storytelling. Tags are essentially invisible (he said, she said) and not wrought with distracting adverbs. The characters have distinctive, age-appropriate voices and don't all sound alike. Use of dialect and/or idiom doesn't cloud the dialogue’s meaning or pull the reader out of the story.
JUDGE'S COMMENTS:

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____________Grammar and Mechanics
(Score between 2-5 points)
Author demonstrates understanding of the rules of grammar and of punctuation, and manuscript exhibits minimal grammatical errors and punctuation mistakes. Rules may be broken for effect, but this is clearly the conscious choice of the author. There are minimal typos, spelling errors, and misused/mistaken words.
JUDGE'S COMMENTS:

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SYNOPSIS: __________ TOTAL SCORE
Category--14 points possible

___________ Plot
(Score between 2-7 points)
The synopsis opening matches the manuscript’s opening. The plot contains a spine, a central conflict that begins to unfold in the opening paragraphs, continues throughout the story, and is settled satisfactorily in the end. The synopsis is clear from the beginning, the inciting incident, through rising stakes and turning points, to the black moment, climax, and resolution. The entire story is told; no secrets remain. The synopsis outlines a captivating idea that makes the judge eager to read the book with enough conflict, tension and suspense to sustain reader interest.
JUDGE'S COMMENTS:

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____________ The Character’s Journey
(Score between 2-7 points)

The plot is intertwined with the main character's journey. What do they want? Why can’t they have it? What must they do to get it? What’s at stake if they fail? Motivations and goals are clear with a minimum of coincidence and random occurrences to explain character actions. Minor characters don't muddle up the synopsis with unnecessary information. Subplots enhance the story and affect the outcome. Win or lose, the protagonist has undergone a life-changing journey and has an arc.
JUDGE'S COMMENTS:

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BONUS POINTS _________
(Up to 2 points possible)

This is for the judges to give an extra boost to those entries they feel are special, that excite them and make them root for the writer to make the finals. (Judges please explain the reason for the bonus points.)
JUDGE'S COMMENTS:
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A final note from the judge:

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