Friday, August 18, 2006

Teaching to learn

Judging romance contest entries turns out to be more time consuming and demanding than I anticipated. I volunteered to judge five entries. I've read lots of romance both published and unpublished. I've critiqued, analyzed, enjoyed and even de-constructed. Judging is a new experience.

The judging tutorial provided was excellent and the more experienced judges infinitely kind and patient in answering questions. The purpose in judging is not to stroke the ego, nor to crush the spirit of the aspiring writer. Rather the daunting task is to give scores that indicate both strength and weakness as an editor would.

The true genius of editors lies not only in their keen eye for a manuscript's potential, but in their ability to teach the writer how to strengthen her story.

This same responsibility lies on the judge's shoulders, to assess fairly and to explain the assessment in a manner the contestant can absorb. Fortunately for the contestants and my conscience it's much easier to evaluate someone else's work than it is your own.

The criteria are clear and well defined. Applying them to an entry is fairly straight forward. Couching the comments so the writer takes away gems of advice is challenging. The reward for all this effort is invaluable. A chance to wear an editor's hat for a few days.

The next challenge is to apply these lessons to my own work. I have no illusions the process will be either easy or painless.


Blogger JENNA said...

Judging is so helpful to the process, from both sides.

Are you going to the conference in OCtober? We should meet up.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Evanne said...

Hi Jenna,

I'm learning lots - application is another matter.

Sorry. my day and night job prevents conference going for the forseeable future - thank god for the internet and cyber friends!

Keep your chin up you're doing great.

6:01 PM  

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