Judges comments

First, I received my final judges comments from the Fab Five. I'm completely blown away by how much feedback I got. The judge really took her time with my entry and wonder of wonders, I think she got my writing. After some of the final judges comments I've received, that's way out amazing. In fact, I'm going to print them out and laminate them to look at every time I get bummed out.

Second, I contacted the coordinator of the Spring Into Romance contest and my entries got lost by the US Postal Service. I got no comments, no scores, nothing. That's the last contest I'm entering by mail.

Third, I just got done judging 7 entries for 2 different contests. I hope I didn't crush anybody's drive to write. I didn't sugar coat any of my comments, but I wasn't nasty either. Just blunt. One thing you get from me when I judge is a whole lotta feedback. It might not all be gushy complimentary, but it's geared toward improving the entry. And after 30 contest finals with 8 books in 3 genres, I think I can speak to what works.

I avoid saying: I don't like your hero/heroine, although that is often my first impression. Instead, I try and say things like: you have not shown your hero's motivation so he's hard to root for.

I did--heaven help me--take one entry's plot and explain how I would have done it differently given the same premise. If someone had done that to me, I probably would have screamed bloody murder. It's my story and I'll tell it however I want to, however bad that might be. But the story intrigued me enough that I thought if I could show her how the events could be rearranged to make the plot more feasible... we'll see what happens.

When I judge, I do so with an eye towards making the entry ready for an editor/agent to look at it. A manuscript can't just have great imagery and good writing, it has to have conflict, tension, interesting twists to old plots.

You would not believe how much backstory I read. ARG!!! Doesn't everyone by now know not to do info dumps? POV seems to be a good indicator of whether the author is a big time newbie or someone who has been writing for a while.

Every single entry needed major help on the internal conflict. As in, there was none.

Another problem is the synopsis. When you've got a page limit, there's a play by play up front and a quick: everything gets resolved and they live happily ever after (no, I'm not kidding or exaggerating about this).

That's all I got for today.

Today's goal: Finish judging all my entries
Yesterday's achievement: 500 words on YA
What I'm grateful for: Uplifting feedback from final judges
Quote: "It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety." -Isaac Asimov (1920 - 1992)