Sorry, Henckel, I neglected to answer your question. Thanks for posting Kary's introduction from the WotF blog, AlexH. This is a good paragraph from it: “A dozen names almost instantly leapt to mind, but Kary English was right near the top. I wanted someone with a great eye for style, someone who understood storytelling well,” he continued. “Kary, as an award-winning author, has proven over and over to have a great eye, but more than that, her strong support for and commitment to helping new authors spoke volumes. We found someone who cares deeply about new authors, who will help nurture them, and who understands the artistry that is inherent in great storytelling.”
I met Kary at Superstars Writing Seminar after I won WotF. We became instant friends there, and we enhanced our friendship two months later at the WotF workshop and gala. She requested and obtained permission to sit at my table at the banquet and award ceremony. So did Martin Shoemaker. That's actually hard to accomplish--great care is put into who sits where because they want clear camera shots of each winner as they are called to the stage. So yes, I know Kary. We're good friends now.
In truth, she is your gatekeeper you must get past to get to Dave, the coordinating judge. She looks at the first page or two to see if you write professionally and have created a story worthy of the anthology and worth Dave's time to read. Fail to impress Kary, and your story is rejected. How do you impress her? As you do with any editor or first reader--you write a professional story. You don't drive to the story, you don't open with an alarm going off and your protagonist brushing their teeth and getting dressed. You open with a character, in a setting, with a problem. And you do this with grace and style because you've practiced writing, you've developed your skills--what's on the page is at professional
level. Kary is a skilled writer, and like any skilled writer, appreciates seeing a story that opens with a unique setting, unique protagonist, unique problem, all appearing with grace and style as does the flawless sleight of hand of a master magician. She loves hooks. She knows them all, and can rattle them off by rote. She has been trained by Dave and is a disciple of his teachings. She writes both SF and fantasy and horror on the lighter shade of pale. I would say she has a special love for high fantasy, because I've read her latest novel chapters. But I would never say she would choose fantasy over SF. All she is looking for are professionally written stories that hook you in the opening and never let go, and have a clear speculative element in the first two pages. Nail that, and nail her last page check to see if you know how to end a story, and you are sent up to Dave.
David Farland won many contests by studying his judges (see his essay in HOW I GOT PUBLISHED AND WHAT I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY). You see, studying samples of a judge's writing can give you clues as to what they like, and what they view as professional writing. Since you can't even get to Dave before first going through Kary, it's a smart idea to study her writing. If you'd like to do so, here's where you can find some samples: https://www.amazon.com/Kary-English/e/B ... scns_share
You likely have the Volume she won in, Volume 31. If not, that's a great place to start.
Kary has a trained eye. She knows good writing. If you've written a good story, she'll know. There's no question she'll be able to spot a well-written story. She is very conscientious, and doesn't take her responsibility lightly. You couldn't ask for a better first reader. She knows what it's like to try to win this contest. She's been in the trenches just like you. She's rooting for you to win, and she hopes every story she opens up is a winner.
So write your winner, and you have nothing to fear. : )
All the beast,