How do I compare, sci-fi with romance, humour with horror? How do I stop myself choosing a story that is to my taste, but not necessarily the best written? Indeed, should I?
Then there is the question of entries that are beautifully written, but not, to my mind, stories: that is to say, they read more like extracts from a bigger piece of work. Am I judging the quality of the writing from a technical point of view or is the tale itself the most important element?
The answer to all these questions is, of course, that it's up to me. I've been asked to judge, but that only means to give my opinion; and this is the case with all competitions. So if you're slogging away submitting entries and rarely or never walking away with the prize, this doesn't mean you're not a good writer. Judging is subjective. Another panel might have picked you - and may well do so next time.