Teitho voting guide
Teitho has always been a contest decided by the readers voting for their favourite stories, not by any judges. In the same time, we would like to achieve as much objectivity in voting as possible, and so we put together some suggestions for our voters. They are just recommendations to help you in deciding about the quality of the competing stories, not binding rules. If you don't agree with them, you can vote according to your own conviction.
So how to judge the stories? One way is reading them and comparing with each other to find the story that you like best without any given criteria. If you want to be more objective though, try to focus on these points:
Spirit of Arda: we are a Tolkien fanfiction contest, so the story should be recognizeable as such. Even in and "alternative universe" story, you should feel that it's alternative to Tolkien's Middle-earth. The characters should be true to themselves, even if their circumstances or some of their decisions are changed. The author's knowledge of canon creates a background for a plausible story without obvious mistakes, whether it's a story completely true to canon, or diverges from it by the author's intention.
Originality: does the story bring something new into the fandom? If it describes canonical events, does it bring a new perspective and deeper understanding of them?
Writing: the artistic side of the story, the beauty of language and its expressions. How well did the author master their craft? Does the story flow easily? Are the dialogues natural and not forced? Did you enjoy reading it not only for the plot?
Personal preference: Everybody has their favourite characters and genres, and it's alright if that influences your vote. Just please, try to consider the other points as well.
For even more objectivity, you can open a text file or take a piece of paper and give points to the stories as you read them. It is up to you how you divide these points. You can use a scale of 1 to 10 for every of the above mentioned qualities: 10 points for canon, 10 for originality, 10 for writing and 10 for personal preference. But you can also put more weight to the quality that is important to you, for example 15 points for originality, and just 5 for writing.
Note: It is appreciated if you read all the stories before casting your vote, but it is not mandatory. Look at the header information of the stories, and if there is a story from a type or genre you just don't read, it's alright if you skip it!
Authors are allowed to vote, but not for their own stories. This might seem discouraging, as it feels like voting *against* your story. That's why, if your vote would have been a deciding one, pushing your story to a lower place, your story will not lose its position based on it. (It means that if you vote for a story that is in the same position as yours in the final score, your story will be given the same number of bonus points.)