- Grammar and spelling: Up to 5 stars- A couple errors is fine, but the fewer the better. Use spellcheck if you must. And work on your grammar skills too! The more polished your first drafts are, the less editing you'll need to do later! I promise!
- Is it a complete story?: Up to 5 stars- The idea is to have a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end. Working on getting this down with short stories and flash fiction pieces like these challenges will help you IMMENSELY with your longer works. I promise!
- Is it within the theme?: Up to 5 stars- If not or it wasn't written FOR the picture, it doesn't count. For one of the challenges, not remembering which exactly, I had someone give me an old story of theirs for the challenge. The idea is to challenge yourself, not just WIN. If you want to use an old story you came up with before, at least tweak it to fit. Don't just give me something you wrote 5 years ago and call it good.
Also within this is the word count bit. If it's well over the given word count, it loses points/is disqualified. I do know different counters are different, and give a little leeway for that, but keeping things concise is another difficult part of writing, and is something we need to strive toward!
- Is the story original?: Up to 5 stars - If the idea is stolen, it will count far far less. The idea is not to piggy back on someone else's ideas. The idea is to come up with something original. If you don't read any of the other entries before you post your own, that helps with keeping yours nice and original. :) Fanfic is one thing. Copying the heart of the story is another entirely.
- Is the story interesting?: Up to 5 stars - If it doesn't interest me or draw me it, it won't make the grade. You want to be able to grab people's attention from the get-go. You want to wow them, surprise them, keep them turning the pages. Practice with the short stuff really does help!
So there's the general idea. You can earn up to 25 stars. The closer you are to the goal, the higher your number will be. I'm also going with my personal "likes" here, of course, but I do try and be objective!
Anyway, so if you're wondering how to improve, look at the 5 categories above. Do you lack somewhere? Where can you improve? Use it next week to help your story along!!