2014 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.

REPORT

  • 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?

GROUND

  • 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?

APPEAL

  • 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?

WRITE

  • 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?

EXTRA MERIT

Six points at discretion of judges.

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