If you’re familiar with the bimonthly Writing Challenge, then you also probably know that, at the end of every round, a panel of judges not only ranks the stories and announces a winner, they also provide detailed commentary for each of the stories. Previously, only one judge reviewed each story, but beginning with the May & June Challenge, two judges reviewed each story. The same was true for the July & August Challenge. But why do it at all? Isn’t it faster to simply rank the stories and name a winner? It would be, yes, but one of the goals of the Writing Challenge is to help entrants hone their craft and become better writers!
The Data Artistic Award, a special award given out once a year at the fleetwide Community Awards ceremony, recognizes an “officer in the fleet who has made a consistent effort to enter each of the bi-monthly Writing Challenges. Most notably, the officer must have continued participation even if their submissions were not picked as the winner, thus sticking with the challenge and always giving other something exciting to read.” Those of us behind the scenes at the Writing Challenges don’t want to see you only enter one story in a single Challenge and never enter again. Even if you don’t win — especially if you don’t win — we want to see you come back and try again, and that’s what our comments are meant to do: Help you figure out what worked and what didn’t, so that you can make the critical choices when drafting and revising that help your writing improve.
Remember, always, that the judges’ comments are only guidelines. Our end goal is always to improve you as a writer, but it’s hard to say everything that can be said about a story in a few scant paragraphs. Acting upon those suggestions or otherwise improving is always up to you — but, as evidenced by our recent list of winners, it seems that our writers are indeed improving, and that’s very gratifying for the judges!
Don’t forget, our September & October Writing Challenge is open now! Head over to the Writing Challenge forum to learn more!