A fellow writer and I judged entries to our writing club’s High School Short Story Contest. I was impressed by the writers’ creativity and chosen topics. Organ donation, bullying, suicide, and goals for a better society were some of the issues woven into fiction. We had to compromise in deciding who should win first, second, and third awards. We each chose two different stories, but we both liked one so we chose that story for the first place award. One of my favorites received the second place and one of hers, the third place.
I was one of the judges last year and a similar compromise occurred. Although the elements of a good story are taken into consideration, often times, I think judges’ preferences are a large part of the decisions made in the contests we writers enter. I don’t envy their task. It’s not that easy when there are many good entries.
From these student samples, this next generation shows a depth of thought and a maturity I don’t remember from Sophomores and Juniors when I was in high school. They gave me hope for the future.