I've copied and pasted all the entries into MSWord, stripped off names, done word-count checks, (three of the entries were over the 250 word-count limit. Sorry you guys, but you can't win), printed them, shuffled them up, and set them aside.
I'll read them this week-end after I forget all the stray words and titles that caught my eye during the strip-it-of-ID process. Thank goodness, at my age, forgetfulness is without choice!
After I select the top 10, I will forward them to judges to help pick the top three. Each judge will rank the stories I send them from #1 to #10, making their absolute favorite #1, second favorite #2, 3rd #3, down the line. Adding up the "rankings" from each judge will give us the top three winners. The most #1 votes will yield the lowest score and that will be our 1st Place winner, second lowest score will yield 2nd Place, and third lowest 3rd Place. All our decisions are final!
My goal is to comment on all of the pieces (50!!) briefly, so this exercise can be fruitful for everyone, I hope. Remember my comments will be my opinion and if you disagree with anything I might tell you, that's cool. Everyone has a different aesthetic and what doesn't work for me may very well work fabulously for someone else.
With that in mind, please don't email me back with angry protestations. If I receive nasty notes re comments, I will not comment in the future. And I'm hoping that we will be able to do the String of 10 again in the future.
What most writers want and need is feedback so they can become better at the keyboard. A kind word about what works and a clue as to why it doesn't is like Kool-aide to a hummingbird.