I won it just a couple of days ago and was totally surprised. I can't say what the judges look for, but I try really hard to have no grammatical or spelling errors, and I try (when I'm not writing a humor hub) to do good research. I edit myself, go through the story a few times and then continue to tweak and fix things after I publish. Even with all that, someone commented about a stupid error I'd made on my poll categories on my HOTD! It's really hard to self-edit. They say it's best to use original photos, but I usually find mine on the internet.