“The first thing is decide whether you’re going Short Story or Flash; the two are very different disciplines.
You need a full set of rules covering every possible eventuality, submission guidelines, a submission structure, marketing plan, T&Cs for entries and the winning piece (effectively WF is buying the rights to it by giving a prize so should use it in a meaningful way) and a judging structure. You also need a marketing plan; the aim should be a minimum of 100 entries.
Rules need to cover conditions of entry, process, exclusions, rights of entrants and WF, etc..
Judging must be transparent. It may be necessary to ‘prove’ the process, so it’s best to be prepared.
My thoughts: The judging panel needs to be at least five people, with a Chief Judge. The judges will need criteria and and a judging checklist. The first round of judging is pretty much done via a checklist. Conditions (such as Spag, construction, grammar, etc.) need to be set for spiking a piece at the initial stage. This eliminates personal choice and allows each entry to be read by a single judge. The Chief Judge will be responsible to checking a selection of spiked pieces. All work that doesn’t hit the ‘spike’ criteria goes into a second round of judging. This involves more than one judge reading the piece. This is the stage where creative ability comes into play, rather than just technical ability. Those that survive go into a third round and are read by different judges. This process goes on until one piece is left.
The Rules are the first thing.
They need to be:
- Criteria for entry
- Submission conditions
- Payment for entry
- Process for disqualification
- Prize Payment
- Rights following contest“
The below form is a placeholder, it should be updated with actual details for submission