SoWrite’s most successful writing contest to date has reached the finish line. It’s time to announce our judges’ prize-level choices for our “Best Excerpt, All Genres” finalists. Let me say right up front that this last judging round did not end up the way I had imagined it would.
For instance, contestants who provided final-round critiques clearly felt that Melinda Clayton’s entry, “For weeks I sat…” deserved the top prize. The judges, however, had this entry just out of the medals, as Honorable Runner-up.
Was this some sort of deliberate snub by the judges? Nope, not at all. In fact, both judges explained to me that they had studiously avoided reading any reader feedback until after they had finished their deliberations. And that, my friends, is exactly what the final-round contest rules allowed —
Our two contest judges are free to accept or ignore reader ratings, as they see fit. Decisions of the judges are final, and not subject to adjustment based on any mathematical calculations based on reader ratings.
The judges also explained that when our finalists added more sentences to their original 3-sentence excerpts — again, exactly as the rules provided — that changed the entire running order!
So, friends, I designed this contest, and all of you played just as the rules requested you to play. Honestly, the level of talent and interaction among our contestants was far beyond what I had hoped for. This contest was, frankly, amazing to watch. Thank you all!
Now, our winners have been very patient. I did sneak in a “preview” winning-order message shortly after my original announcement deadline — but it’s likely many of our contestants didn’t see that one. So, without further discussion, here are…
The Medal Awards for our Finalists
Bronze Medal, 3rd Place and $10 cash, goes to PJ Yusten’s much-discussed entry which began “Eva naughty. Me naughty,…”. If there was an award based strictly upon the level of reader interaction, this entry would probably have won outright. (Click the quoted snippet to read PJ’s entire entry.)
Silver Medal, 2nd Place and $15 cash, is awarded to Kae Bender for our only non-fiction finalist entry. Kae’s entry excerpted a forum essay about Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, and began, “What I’ve realized as…”. Reader reaction was consistently positive. (Click the quoted phrase to see more.)
Gold Medal, 1st Place and $20 cash. Our sincere congratulations go to “Nyaran” (absolutely no relation to judge, Tammy Narayan), for her winning entry, “Born during that time…”. Nyaran’s 3 added sentences may have bolstered her intriguing entry, earning it the top slot. Although readers’ ratings were mixed, the judges loved this one and described it as “mysterious and evocative.” Well done, Nyaran! (Click the quoted segment to read the rest.)
Medalists, please contact me directly to claim your cash and download your medals for display as you see fit. (email me: jimbessey [@] SoWrite.Us.com)
Congratulations to all of our finalists. My heartfelt thanks go out to judges Carolyn Varvel and Tammy Narayan for your hard work and thoughtful analysis. I’ll forward Carolyn’s messages to those writers she has invited to contribute to future publications from Wormhole Electric Publishing.
What can you expect in the next contest?
We’re getting very close to a good, well-oiled contest format. Yes, we had a couple of glitches along the way, one of which I still can’t explain or repair (so I hope it doesn’t happen again). Here are some ideas I have for the next round.
- Continue the “3 Sentence Excerpt” format.
- Provide clearer impact of the contestants’ ratings for entries, both rounds.
- Develop improved guidelines for those ratings.
- Encourage contestants to make good use of links to their websites, books, etc.
- Should we eliminate the “add up to 3 more sentences” part of the Medal Round?
- Invite more sponsors, so I can offer higher cash prizes!
What other concerns or requests do you have? Please add your ideas and feedback in the Comments section here.