- 2014 DERRINGER TIMELINE
- SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
- SELECTION OF FINALISTS
- GUIDELINES FOR DERRINGER JUDGES
- DETERMINATION OF DERRINGER WINNERS
2014 DERRINGER AWARDS TIMELINE
- Submissions will be accepted from Noon ET, January 1, 2014, to 11:59 PM ET January 31, 2014
- Judges will score Derringer submissions February 1–28, 2014, determining the finalists
- Finalists will be announced March 1, 2014
- Current SMFS members who joined December 31, 2013 or earlier will vote to determine Derringer winners from March 1–30, 2014
- Derringer winners will be announced March 31, 2014
Though the Derringer Awards Coordinator will check that all entries are eligible, the submitting party has the first responsibility to read the guidelines below and submit accordingly.
Who may submit for the 2013 Derringer Awards:
Derringer stories may be written by anyone, but all stories must be submitted by:
Current SMFS members who joined December 31, 2013 or earlier
Editors on behalf of publications featuring short mystery or crime stories.
To join the SMFS, simply subscribe to the free Shortmystery Yahoo! Group.
To be considered for the awards presented in 2014:
a) Submissions must mystery or crime stories
b) first appearing in English in 2013.
c) The publication must have been one with an editor and editorial process -- not purely a self-publishing venture or one that publishes every submission without editing.
d) The publication may be print or electronic; paying or non-paying; a single issue, periodical, collection, or anthology.
e) The publication does not have to originate from the United States of America. It must, however, be published in English.
f) Works previously published in any language other than English are eligible if they first appeared in English in 2013.
g) The author of the submission does not have to be an SMFS member.
Publication date and year of eligibility:
The date printed on the publication's cover or indicated within the publication is considered its publication date and determines when a particular story is eligible for the Derringers. Only stories first published in English in 2013 are to be considered for Derringer Awards in 2014.
When a publication date overlaps years, such as 'Winter 2013–2014' or 'Dec. 2013–Jan. 2014,' the SMFS considers the later year the year of publication. (The examples given are considered published in 2014, eligible for the Derringers presented in 2015.)
Submissions will be accepted and awards will be given in the following length categories:
Best Flash Story (Up to 1,000 Words)
Best Short Story (1,001 to 4,000 Words)
Best Long Story (4,001 to 8,000 Words)
Best Novelette (8,001 to 20,000 Words)
Any current SMFS member who joined December 31, 2013 or earlier may submit up to TWO (2) stories for consideration for the 2014 Derringer Awards. The two stories may be written by the member, written by others, or one of each.
Any editors of publications featuring short mystery/crime stories may submit a number of stories for the 2014 Derringers Awards based on the publication's total number of stories first appearing in 2013:
If the publication contains up to 25 stories first appearing in 2013, up to 3 of these may be submitted by the editor for the 2014 Derringer Awards.
" 26 to 50 stories first appearing in 2013, up to 4 of these may be submitted by the editor for the 2014 Derringer Awards.
" 51 to 75 stories first appearing in 2013, up to 5 of these may be submitted by the editor for the 2014 Derringer Awards.
" more than 75 stories first appearing in 2013, up to 6 of these may be submitted by the editor for the 2014 Derringer Awards.
Multiple editors for a single publication share one of the above limits based on the publication's total number of stories first appearing in 2013.
Editors of more than one publication are assigned one of the above limits based on the total number of stories they edited that first appeared in 2013. Where it reads "If the publications contains" above, substitute "If the editor has edited".
If an editor of more than one publication is also one of many editors for a single publication, and uses his/her personal limit to make all of the editorial submissions allotted to a single publication, no additional editorial submissions can be accepted for that publication.
An editor may personally decide not to submit his/her publication's stories for the Derringers. This decision cannot forbid the stories' submission by their SMFS-member authors or by other SMFS members UNLESS the editor has purchased such controlling rights from the author.
Editors who are also SMFS members may submit, in addition to their editorial limit, up to TWO (2) stories of their own or others' writing that first appeared in 2013 in publications they did not edit. (Stories written by editors and first appearing in publications they edit are considered self-published and not eligible for Derringer consideration.)
To avoid any appearance of impropriety, Officers of the SMFS (President and Vice President) and the Derringer Awards Coordinator are not eligible for consideration for the Derringers during the terms of their office.
Formatting and sending submissions:
The following identifying information should be included in the body of submission emails AND at the top of the first page of all attached manuscripts:
- Story title
- Word count
- Author's name
- Name of publication where story first appeared
- Publication date
- Name of SMFS Member submitting story
Submission formatting instructions from 2013 Derringer Coordinator Tony Rudzki:
Submit each story to tony DOT rudzki AT gmail DOT com as an attachment in Rich Text Format (.RTF), as this is readable/writable in the majority of modern word processors & viewers.
In the Subject line of the email, please use the format "[Derringer Submission]", followed by the title of the piece. For example, if I submitted a story called "Murder for Hire", the subject line of the email would be "[Derringer Submission] Murder for Hire".
The Coordinator is obliged to post regular updates of the stories received throughout the January submission period. This avoids duplicate submissions and serves to check that stories submitted are received. If any story submitted does not appear in an update and you have met the listed eligibility requirements, notify the President or Vice President along with the Coordinator, and we will investigate.
SELECTION OF FINALISTS
The Coordinator divides the eligible submissions among the four length categories. To encourage open-minded judging, the Coordinator removes identifying information from manuscripts, leaving only story title, word count, and story text before sending them to the Judges (SMFS member-volunteers).
For each length category, four judges rate the stories according to the Judging Guidelines below and return their ratings to the Coordinator. The Coordinator adds three judges' ratings and divides by three to get each story's average ratings. The fourth judge provides alternate scores in case any of the other judges is unable to submit scores due to illness, other commitments, or conflicts of interest.
The Coordinator is obliged to report all ratings and final averages to the judges in each category to ensure they have been properly received and tallied. These reports are to be made without revealing the judges' identities to each other.
|Sample Coordinator's Report - click to enlarge|
For each category, the five stories with the highest averages become the Finalists.
GUIDELINES FOR DERRINGER JUDGES
SMFS members may volunteer to judge by contacting the Derringer Coordinator in private. This is to protect the identity of each judge and the privacy of the judging process.
Volunteers should specify the length category they wish to judge. If their first choice is unavailable, they may volunteer for another category or withdraw entirely.
Volunteers should be prepared to read all the stories in their category except those for which they have a legitimate conflict of interest. Judges may not be assigned particular stories by taste; however, judges may rate all the stories in their category by personal taste within the six headings below.
Conflict of interest may be claimed if a judge is the author, the editor, or had a role in the acceptance for publication of a Derringer submission. Ideally, as keeper of identifying information, the Coordinator should be first to see conflicts and distribute stories accordingly.
Judges should notify the Coordinator if they receive stories they wrote, edited, or accepted for publication. A judge's recognition of a story's author or original publication from its text is not a conflict of interest and does not disqualify the judge from scoring.
Judges are asked to score each story for each heading below on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being best. Under each heading are suggested considerations that may help you arrive at your score.
1. OVERALL WRITING
- Does the beginning catch your attention?
- Is there too little action? Too much?
- Is it too wordy? Too terse?
- Is there a good balance between dialogue and narration?
- Is the dialogue realistic and believable?
- Are they well-developed and convincing?
- Is there good interaction between characters?
- Is it clear in whose POV the story is told?
- Is there at least one character interesting enough for you to care what happens to him or her?
- Is the setting well described?
- Is there enough description of the setting? Too much?
- Is it fresh and imaginative?
- Is it believable?
- Does one thing lead to another as it develops?
- Are there plot gaps you wish had been filled?
- Is the ending acceptable and satisfying to you?
- Were all loose ends neatly tied up?
- Did you feel more ending was needed? Less?
6. OVERALL FEELING
- In addition to or in spite of the above, rate your overall reaction to this story in comparison to others you have read.
DETERMINATION OF DERRINGER AWARD WINNERS
The Coordinator posts the twenty Finalist stories—with author and publication names restored—to the Derringers Voting Group. Current SMFS members who joined December 31, 2013 or earlier may vote for the winner in each category, who will then be presented a Derringer Award.