The Golden Heart Part 5: Here Come the Judges

1875 Trial By Jury-Chaos in the Courtroom by Henry David Friston

Dear First-Round Golden Heart Judges,

Soon you’ll receive the link to the entries. Unlike the 19th century judge above, your decision will be anonymous and in the form of scores submitted electronically. However, the angst depicted in the scene is all too real in the hearts and minds of the Golden Heart contestants. They deserve a fair judgment. Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced judge, here are six tips to consider.


  • Read and score entries when you’re fed, rested, and unhurried.
  • Set aside your personal frustrations, problems, likes, and dislikes. Focus on the quality of the writing, not your personal preferences for genre, tone, etc.
  • Remember the entries are partials and not all elements will be fully developed. The synopsis is not part of the score.
  • If you have negative opinions about the contest, judging process, or entries, please refrain from expressing them in public forums and social media. Share your opinions privately and judging concerns at
  • Review the scores and your reasons for them. Are they based on writing skills or your personal pet peeves and preferences?
  • Check the scoring rules, rubric, and tallies carefully. The romance portion is worth 20 points, not 10 points like the rest of the Golden Heart rubric.

What other suggestions do you have for first round judges?


Scoring Guidelines for Judging The Golden Heart Contest


The Golden Heart Part 1: Judging Contests by guest blogger, Jody Wallace


The Golden Heart Part 6 and 7 are coming in Feb. and Mar. 2014

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