How the Judging Process Works

A cartoon-style golden trophy cup sits on a desk in the foreground of a library. Colourful confetti and ribbons surround the cup. A banner reads, "Not Quite Write Prize for Flash Fiction".

At Not Quite Write, we value transparency in the judging process, so we’ve put together this handy overview so you can see what happens after you hit “Submit”.

How we compile your entries

When you submit your entry via the online form, your entry is received into a database.

We start the judging process by exporting de-identified entries from the database into a spreadsheet. We use this spreadsheet to record our decisions and to manage the longlist and shortlist.

Next, we randomise your entries and compile them into Word document “batches” of around 20 entries for judging. This helps us manage our reading time.

The Word documents are consistently formatted, with all entries appearing uniform to the judges (Detailed information about how to format your entry is available to ticket holders in the Participant Lounge.) We don’t always read the batches in order, and we read them at random times of the day both on desktop and sometimes on our phones. So, it really is the luck of the draw as to how and when your entry will be read.

How we judge your entries

We can see who is planning to enter the competition because we have the details of your ticket purchase, however the judging process is 100% blind.

We have a huge amount of respect for the time you take creating your entries, and it’s safe to say that every entry is given due consideration. We will often go back and re-read a story if we felt we didn’t give it due consideration on first reading for whatever reason. We also re-read “borderline” entries before making a final call as to a longlisting (some of them are very close calls!)

The specific process for narrowing down the entries to reach a longlist differs depending on how many entries we receive. Typically, we begin by independently reading the entries and forming our own individual “longlists” before comparing notes to reach a joint decision.

From there, we follow a similar process to reach an agreed shortlist. We each read the longlisted entries again to establish our own individual “shortlists”. Then we compare notes to reach a joint decision. This is when the real fun begins, as we battle it out to see how our preferred stories rank. We don’t always agree at first, but after discussing the merits of each story in detail, we eventually reach an agreement on the winner and placeholders.

Once we’ve reached our final decisions, we use unique reference numbers to match the entries back to their authors. This is a very exciting part of the process for us – we’re just as surprised as you are to find out who won!

When and how we announce the winners

We allow 6 weeks for the judging process. This gives us time to read and evaluate your entries. It also gives us time to record, edit and release the bonus episodes of the podcast in which we reveal the longlist, shortlist, and prize winners.

The podcast is where you’ll hear the news first, and the announcement episodes are great fun!

We release the longlist episode around one week early. In this episode we announce the official longlist and reveal interesting statistics about the entries we received. We shout out some of our favourite lines and reveal your most creative takes on the prompts. We also read aloud the entries from our brave Daredevils and critique their entries for all to hear.

On the planned results announcement date, we announce the shortlist, wildcards, and prize winners together in one episode. Even if you didn’t make the longlist you’ll want to tune in, as we read the shortlisted entries aloud for your listening pleasure. We discuss what set these writers apart from the pack, and what all entrants can learn from their success.

Finally, if you won a prize, we’ll email you to ask for your payment details and transfer your prize money!

We consider is a great honour to judge your entries to the Not Quite Write Prize. We love to see you succeed and we love rewarding your creative talents. We hope that, regardless of whether you win or lose, you enjoy the challenge of competing, listening, learning, and improving with every submission!