Happy end of the semester everyone! Or, if it’s not a happy end of the semester for you, our sincerest condolences. We hope the next will be better.
We’ve been ramping up to Winter break over here at Scribendi the only way we know how: reviewing submissions! This year we received a total of 481 submissions, ranging all the way from 192 poems to 8 foreign language pieces. Quite a gap! As you can tell, reviewing all of these submissions takes time, which is why we started on it months ago, beginning with poetry and ending next week with open media.  
Every staff member reviews every submission. While this would normally be difficult to keep track of, we use a website called Submittable that allows everyone on staff to read each piece and write comments on it before giving it a yes, no, or a maybe ranking. Once a staff member has read every piece in a category, they then go back through their yes’s and choose their favorites from that, before submitting their top list to the editors. The length of the list is dependent on what category it falls under; for larger categories such as color photography, that might mean sending in a top list of 20 pieces. For smaller categories such as open media, that might mean sending in 4.
The editors then review everyone’s lists to compile a shortlist of submissions for discussion. These are the pieces that we talk about in class, still a huge amount, but significantly less than the 481 we started with. If a staff member believes a piece truly belongs in the magazine, and it wasn’t included on a shortlist, they can petition for the piece to be discussed by the class, at which point they may plead the case as to why that piece stands out from the rest.
Reviewing the submissions was fun but discussing them with the rest of the staff is a whole new level. Here, staff members get to put their critical feedback on display, as we argue for or against including a specific piece in the magazine. Everyone has the chance to speak their mind, and everyone has a chance to learn from it before voting on which pieces should be included the next day.
All of this to say, reviewing submissions is a long, arduous process. But it’s a long arduous process that is extremely fulfilling, both for the staff members and for the works themselves, which are given the kind of critical discussion that every author or artist dreams of inciting with their work.  To everyone who submitted work, thank you. They have been wonderful to review.