I am entered in the fall 2019 Sixfold competition.
Sixfold is writer-reviewed. I was assigned six stories to rank and review.
I was impressed by how few grammar errors I found. The grammar quality is far above most of the submissions that come to the online publication that I slush read for. I didn’t expect that and I don’t know what this means. Are these stories well workshopped and fixed? Did some of these writers take their stories to a professional editor for correction? Are some of the submissions written by professional short story writers, slumming? Or by journalists or other professional writers trying their hand at short stories?
The quality of the prose was another matter. And the premises of the stories and depth of characters fluctuated with the prose; the better the prose, the better the characters and premise and execution of the premise.
The worst submission was almost childish. It had simplistic dialog that sometimes had nothing to do with the theme of the story (though it fit the setting at that moment) and flat characters and no realistic expression of a very emotional, serious topic. It reminded me of my first NaNoWriMo attempt except with a more serious theme but no perceptible attempt to understand the characters as real people. The grammar is much better than my story from eleven years ago, but execution of the premise is not. And my story wasn’t particularly good.
Yesterday I finished my second round of reviews.
I expected the quality to improve, that all stories that made it to the second round would be the level of the best one or two of the first round but that’s not what I got. I know there is a random factor involved, but none of my second round stories were better than the best of the first, and maybe not even the second best. What did change is the worst story is not quite as bad as the worst of the first. I had a hard time ranking this round because all six were all clustered around the fifth to third best of the previous round.
For the $5 entrance fee I’m not in Sixfold to win it. I’m in it to find some good writers and to send those writers my contact information in hopes of finding some reviewing buddies. The process is entirely confidential except, if you choose, you can leave your contact information in your review.
Sadly, I’ve only done so once, out of twelve reviews.
Ah well, can always hold out hope for better in round three, starting in a week from now.
Mind you, those that make round three receive 78 reviews (in theory, the first round produces 6 reviews, the second 24). Those that make round three have a huge number of reviews and likely a large number of potential contacts. On the other side, I guess I can hope to make the second round and get 24 reviews and maybe a few potential story-swappers.