Gatekeeper Instructions

Welcome to our team, Gatekeeper! As a first reader, you will review, rate, and comment on incoming submissions. This page will tell you how and provide tips for assessing stories.

How to Access Submissions

First, log in to Moksha.

From the Submissions dropdown on the top menu, select My Open Submissions. A list of stories will appear. Click any of them to open that submission’s page.

How to Review Submissions

Once on the submission’s page, you’ll see a variety of buttons under the title. Select the Preview button. This will open the submission in your browser.

Read the first few paragraphs of the story. Are you compelled to read more? Is the writing grammatically and mechanically sound? If the story still has your attention, keep reading until it loses you or you hit The End. If not, stop reading.

You are not required to read submissions from beginning to end. The second you lose interest or determine the story isn’t a good fit for us, go straight to rating.

How to Rate Submissions

Return to the submission’s page and click the Rate & Review button. The page will automatically scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a field for Your Rating and a text box for Your Comment.

Stories are rated on a scale of 1-10.

1: Literally unreadable, blatantly offensive, or in violation of our guidelines.
2: Almost unreadable, somewhat offensive, perhaps also in violation of our guidelines.
3: Readable, but only barely.
4: Mediocre in more ways than one.
5: Nothing special. Clunky writing, boring premise, no plot.
6: Okay, but would require far more editing than it’s worth.
7: Written well, but tropey or forgettable.
8: Above average writing, but not quite worth a higher rating.
9: Excellent writing, compelling plot, interesting characters—everything you’d look for in a published story.
10: One of the best stories you have ever read in your entire life.

Perfect tens are exceptionally rare—like unicorns.
You will be fortunate to come across one per year.

Once you’ve assigned a numerical rating, briefly explain why in your comment. For example:

1

Did not follow submission rules: placed personal identifying information, story involves graphic sexual assault. Consider banning this writer.

2

The writing is so bad that I can’t make sense of the submission. Reads like word salad.

3

Poorly written. Didn’t grab me. Couldn’t hold me. I wasn’t invested in the protagonist and the story felt forced.

4

Amateur writing. Good character development at the start, but the pace was slow due to the focus on unnecessary details.

5

Writing is okay, but it’s hard to discern the plot, if there even is one. Starts strong, but I lost interest near the second page. Requires far too much editing.

6

Average writing. Had a solid narrative voice, but there was no clear plot trajectory; only a description of an event. Needs conflict and a feeling of closure.

7

Decent writing. Concept has promise but the way it’s executed isn’t compelling or unique enough.

8

Well-written, compelling, and fun. Needs a bit of grammatical/mechanical work, but not too much.

9

This was excellent. Very little editing needed, great example of the dark speculative work we’d like to see more of.

10

Couldn’t stop reading it. Excellent voice. Full of well-described, evocative imagery. Theme, symbolism, tone, all on point. Clean copy. Buy it fast!

Thank you!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the #cult-leaders channel or email Alin directly!

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