Monday, April 16, 2007

Writing life

I'm still thinking about contests and whether or not they do anything good for me. I get opinions on my writing, but due to the blind nature of the arrangement I have no idea how qualified those opinions are. Only finalists are judged by an editor. The possibility to getting a second chance for a beloved story is definitely a plus mark in the pro contest column.

I've seen hopeful writers enter contests year after year and do well, yet remain unpublished. Then there are those who spring directly from contest to publication.

From my limited personal experience I can testify that judges vary wildly in their assessment of the same story. The most recent contest included four judges per entry. Two wanted to buy my book (as soon as it comes out), one gave high marks,and one ranted.

Oddly enough, or maybe not, the harshest of the judges had the most to say. She started her remarks by being offended by the instant attraction between my hero and heroine. A situation she found credible only in perverts. My list of shortcoming grew. Purple prose, verbosity, poorly handled POV shifts,and wandering body parts (she strongly suggested I replace eye with gaze)are just the highlights of the entry's sins. She went on to assure me that that story had tons of potential.

According to the score sheet, this a published romance author. There was only one issue that bothered three out of the four judges.

Since judging is so subjective, is entering contests worthwhile?


Blogger Lori Borrill said...

OMG! Only perverts are instantly attracted to each other? I love it!

That's up there with the contest judge suggestion that Leeanne's scene include a condom washing up on the shore to explain why the H/h were horny (or something like that).

I can tell just by your comments that writer had no business judging contests. They're the ones who give contests a bad name.

But to answer your question if they're worth it? I think for the purpose of getting your work in front of editors, yes. To give you something to look forward to in the mail while you wait on submissions, yes. To rake in some credits for those cover letters, sure. But as a serious avenue for improving your writing, I'd go with a crit group or cp instead. That way, you know where the feedback is coming from.

A Resident Pervert

4:06 PM  
Blogger Avery Beck said...

ROFL at the pervert comment...

I once entered a story that included a scene where the hero was depressed about something so he threw himself into his work. One judge went into a lengthy description of depression and how one of its main symptoms is an inability to focus so there's no way he would have been able to concentrate on his job...etc etc etc. I was like, um, I didn't say he was *clinically* depressed--he was just UPSET, for crying out loud!! Geez! LOL

I've gotten both of my full requests through contests, so I think they're nice. However, I fully recognize the random nature of judging and I don't think you can evaluate your talent based on judges' comments. I'm at the point where I only enter to get in front of the final judge. I don't know if I'll enter at all anymore if Ms. Goddess Editor keeps letting me submit fulls. ;-) But when I started, I just wanted to know if I was in the ballpark with all this romance writing stuff, and overall positive feedback made me realize that I was. So it just depends on what you're looking for, and if you're willing to deal with occasional ridiculous feedback for a chance at hitting the jackpot.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Evanne said...

Lori, LOL at resident pervert. Add me to that group I've been instantly attracted a lot. Reading the comment just kind of dropped my jaw and made me re-read a couple of times. On the plus side she though my gay designer was delightful and I'd worried he was a cliche. . .

Ah well, there's a saying about not being able to please everyone.

When I was checking for the release date of Blood Fever I glanced through the reviews of Ms. Monings recent releases there were fans who ranked her books in reverse order from my preference. Different strokes. . . or no strokes for those easily shocked. LOL

5:58 PM  
Blogger Evanne said...

Avery, You realize you're out of all the unpublished contests the minute you're contracted right?

Sheesh. I fully expect the RITA to be your next goal.

6:00 PM  

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