JUDGING CRITERIA

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There are many key elements to a story, and when judging, our team evaluates entries based on the following:

Character: The main character(s) in your story propel it forward. We need to love them, love-hate them, or at least feel something for them in order to let them take us on a journey. If your characters have "it," we're way more likely to want to hop into the passenger seat.

Hook: Give us a hook we can sink our teeth into, like a unique concept or a new twist on a beloved cliché, and give it to us right away. The 'What If' of your story is that important spark that will turn a reader's head. It's definitely something we look for when choosing our winners.

Voice: When used well, your narrative voice can shape the story you want. This is where writers show off their creative artistry by weaving ordinary words into something magical. But we know it's easier said than done. That's why it's one of our key criteria for The Wattys.

World: Your world is your playground, and while we're reading your story, it's ours, too. While great world-building doesn't have to be complicated, it should be specific, clear, and logical within the scope of your story. Give us too little and we're lost. Give us too much and we're buried under the details.

Stakes: The stakes of your story guide us into caring about a critical moment in time, the characters you've created, the place you've imagined. The writers who manage to intrigue us right from the get-go with stakes that click are the ones we're least likely to forget. Be it a quieter slice of life story, or a high action thriller, the pace needs to be balanced.

Spelling/Grammar: A key part of writing is the technical side. Are the words you're using spelt correctly? Are your paragraphs woven together with seamless grammar? These are important factors that give both your readers and the Wattys judges a smooth reading experience while making it easier to immerse themselves in your story. 

The 2021 Watty AwardsWhere stories live. Discover now