The title of this post is not just a time, it's also a job. Twenty entries make up the long list in the Emerging Writers Festival Reading Room Competition. I have copies of each and my job is to take those twenty and reduce them to ten. In the best reality TV style, it's time to cut the fat.
The job of a competition judge is a peculiar one, especially when you're assessing completely different styles and forms as in this comp.
I've judged competitions before, most notably one of those 100 words competitions where I was one judge of about six or seven. The job there was to bring a shortlist to the judging meeting and start arguing. I wasn't quite prepared for the depth of conviction everyone had for their selections and how hard each would go in to bat for their picks. I had to attempt to convince the others to agree with my choice. I don't remember who won, but I think my pick scored runner up.
The Reading Room is a little different. I still don't have the final say, but, being half way up the East Coast of the country from the action, I won't be entering lock down with the other judges. In fact, I'm not even sure who else is judging. That's electronic communication for you.
I'm already beginning to lean towards a couple of pieces, but I'm taking my time with this. I mean, how exactly do you equitably compare short stories with poems with visual art? Maybe I should go with Oscar® type categories: Best use of white space, Best exclamation in a single word sentence, etc.