Tabulating my ninevoices colleagues’ scores in our recent short story competition was considerably more informative than simple arithmetic would suggest. We have been together as a group for ten years and know one another well. We get along without (much) argument despite differences in genre, style and approach to writing. But reviewing the score sheets really brought home to me how very individual we are. Some of us were universally generous, others more reserved. A few felt the need to justify their scores, although only the numbers went into the calculations. And a couple of others sought greater precision (and to confound the tabulator) by scoring to two decimal places.

There was also a variety of presentation styles: in order of preference; in order of receipt; in no particular order (which did more to confuse the tabulator than decimals).

As far as the stories went, there were the expected differences of opinion, but there were also some surprises. Some fought hard for stories that failed to impress others and lively debate ensued. In the end we managed to achieve near unanimity. All of us are happy with the three prize winning stories that will be revealed to you on Wednesday.

One big lesson we learned from this exercise is that were we nine agents instead of nine writers, we each would have chosen a different story to publish. So there must be an agent out there for each of us, if only we keep at it