I judge based upon grammar and content. Let's start with grammar. I give you a score of 1 to 5 as follows:
- 1 - very bad
- 2 - bad
- 3 - so-so
- 4 - good
- 5 - great
Great grammar is one that has few if any mistakes. Because a lot of work here on Protag is first draft, I will not expect perfection, but mistakes have to be few, and they have to resemble typos. If I think you meant to put it the way you did, I may knock you down to a 4.
From 4 on down, it will be based upon my general feeling until I come up with something better. I thought about counting mistakes, but that would be too hard. If you are making one kind of mistake but otherwise okay, you will probably get a four or a three at the lowest.
Bad and very bad grammar will be full of mistakes and different kinds of mistakes. Very bad grammar needs to be almost every sentence.
What I will not look at is spelling. As long as I know what the word is, I will try very hard not to let bad spelling lower your score.
I give you another score based upon the content. With content I am looking for 4 things. For each element that I feel is missing, I will knock off one point from your content score.
- Appropriate level of description
- Eloquent delivery
- Solid characterization (or plot elements)
- An extra piece of pizzaz
Appropriate level of description - your description should not be too little or too much. If I can picture the scene without saying to myself, "Get to the point," you will have the appropriate level of description. If I am lost and can't see what is happening, you will not have an approaite level of description.
Eloquent delivery - this one is simple. Your piece has to sound good out loud. If you sound like an idiot, it isn't eloquent. If your words are not put together in proper order (whatever), it isn't eloquent.
Solid characterization (plot) - Your character has to be alive. I have to think of them as a real person. Feelings, actions, background. Shallow characters will not count. If characterization is not appropriate for the chapter, your description of the plot has to be solid. I have to understand what is going on, how you are developing the story, where you are going with it.
An extra piece of pizzaz - I don't know what this might be until I read your piece. It could be a simile or metaphor. It could be a plot twist. You have to surprise me. You have to go beyond just telling a story. If I feel like I am on the edge of my seat, you have done it.
In the end, I average your two scores to get your rating. So, to get a 5, you will need to have great grammar and all four elements of content. Until I come up with a way to judge short, just for fun pieces, I will probably not rate them.