2016 Amy Writing Awards

Judges Rubric

Amy Writing Awards are meant to reward writers who:

  • Report with a keen eye and ear (up to 20 points).
  • Ground their work in a Christian worldview that weaves in Scripture and calls readers to obey God (up to 20 points).
  • Appeal to an audience of secular readers (up to 12 points).
  • Write in particularly memorable ways (up to 12 points).

Judges will give entries a 0-4 score for each or the 16 questions below. Writers who transcend the ordinary and make skeptics think can gain up to a six-point bonus. Here are some detailed questions.


  • Does the story show strong evidence of on-the-ground reporting rather than reliance on reading and contemplation only?
  • Does the story have sensory detail so readers feel they can see, hear, smell, or touch scenes, subjects, and objects?
  • Does the story show evidence of interviewing people at street level, so the author is not relying on organizational spokesmen, publicity releases, or information recycled from others?
  • Does the story have strong human interest, starting with a “face” who allows the writer to show how a big issue affects an individual life?
  • Does the story connect the human interest to larger issues through appropriate use of studies, statistics, and other evidence?


  • Does the story present a solid biblical worldview in the context of modern thought, showing that the Bible is relevant and deserving of thoughtful consideration?
  • Does the story shine a light on an issue many people have never considered or try to avoid, and in so doing convey biblical understanding concerning a thorny ethical or moral dilemma?
  • Does the story inspire in a way that will make some readers care more, feel more, and do more, pushing some to improve specific behaviors or thought processes?
  • Does the story show the importance of obedience to God, and thus help in creating disciples who strive to obeywhat Jesus commanded in regard to self, family, congregation, and neighborhood.
  • Does the story fluently incorporate Scripture, weaving it into the story so that it seems to arise naturally from the action, rather than just tacking it on at the end?


  • Does the story steer clear of scolding or pounding readers, and instead show the challenging love intrinsic to discipling?
  • Does the story use language understandable to a popular, secular audience, avoiding academic language, King James wording, and evangelical clichés?
  • Does the story tackle an issue of importance to a broad range of readers, not just professing Christians, and does it offer hope or a new way of seeing or thinking?


  • Does the story capture the reader’s imagination from the start, so that those who aren’t judges, family members, or others obliged to read will keep reading?
  • Does the story provide a “nut graf” or equivalent that makes it clear what the article is about, and return to that point throughout?
  • Does the story move well, pushing the reader from one paragraph to the next and concluding in a satisfactory way?


Six points at discretion of judges.