I'm lucky enough to be judging the New Writer Magazine short story competition this year, and I've just received the very exciting looking bundle of entries.
I'm saving them for later, when I've got more time and can really absorb what I'm reading, but this is what I'm going to be looking for:
a) A shape
b) A voice
c) Something that surprises me
d) Something I can believe in
e) And most of all, that particular thing I didn't know I was looking for until I read it.
It will be interesting to see if there are any particular themes or styles that come through, but I want to be open and not make too many judgements over what I think SHOULD win a prestigious competition like this. As Einstein said: 'We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality. It cannot lead; it can only serve.'
Actually - there it is, exactly what it is I'm hoping for. A short story not with a showy-off six pack, but with real personality. A real heart.