I finally did it. I voted for a second chapter. I won't say I voted for my favorite chapter. Obviously, I liked it, but it was so hard to choose (and, no I won't say who; the voting continues). I knew it must have been hard for the editors to narrow it down, but, boy, was it difficult. The range of the final 10 was great and that just made choosing only one that much more of a puzzle. There are more than four I'd like to see go on to the next round, but of course that won't be possible. Honestly, I wouldn't mind reading the next chapter of any of them.
In the end I didn't do any fancy scoring of the entries on their technical and artistic merits, although I think that would be interesting to see if that matched up with the handful I preferred. I didn't read through the entries as a writer at all. No, in the end I just voted for the one I most wanted to keep reading. It seems such a nebulous test for how I could spend my single vote. The flaw in that is that it might well have been a different title on a different day when I was in a different frame of mind. And I am something of a moody reader. I'll pick up a title and like everything about it, but still find it too silly, too intense, too contrived or too something for whatever sort of day I'm having. So, I'll set the book aside and a week later (or a month, or a couple of years) pick it up again and read it in a single day, loving every minute of it.
As fun as reading all of the entries has been, I'm grateful I don't have to do this for a living.