In addition to posting about the things I look for in an entry, I'm also going to post about what I actually do to select the story.
Firstly, I'll wait until the contest is closed to new entries. I don't read any of the stories until the contest is closed. After that, I'll print off all the entries and read them that way. I've found this to be more convenient and easier to read than on a computer screen. As I'm reading, I'll take notes on negatives of the story, relevance to the contest theme, and positives of the story, as well as anything else that stands out. After finishing each individual entry, I'll rank it on a five point scale. After I've read, commented, and ranked all the stories, I'll go back through them and remove the lowest ones and set aside the highest ones. Typically there are only a few with low "scores" and a few with high "scores." If those with the high score is below the number necessary, I'll go back through the middle "ranked" entries and make selection that way; this is done usually be reviewing my notes and re-reading segments of the story.
This method isn't used 100% of the time, but it's generally how I plan to go about things. After selection I'll make sure the finalists I've selected fit the contest theme and are appropriate. Then I'll open the voting.
I hope that gives a little more insight as to how the selection process actually works.
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