Tuesday, June 6
Contests . . . Continued . . .
Here's the thing--I judge our RWA chapter's contest every year. Sometimes, it's arduous and other times, I find a lot of satisfaction in the entries because man, some of the writers who enter can really, really write! However, I have to say, in all honesty, that that's rare. A good percentage of the stories I've judged are . . . well, just not good. Bear in mind though that I come from a totally different place than other judges. The editor in me sometimes can't see past the dreadful mechanics to get to the story.
I don't like to admit that about me, but I think it's an occupational hazard and more often than not, I end up feeling like I'm teaching a writer basic skills rather than giving them valuable feedback about their story. Most times, I end up reading through the entries twice--once to get over misplaced commas, misspelled words, awkward sentence structure, etc., and then a second time for the story. Yeah, it makes for a more arduous judging process for me, but I don't know any other way to do it.
As far as entering, I've entered contests and I've even finaled in a couple, which was a real boost to the old ego. But sometimes, the judges were harsh or offered very little valuable feedback. One judge's only comment was, "Your heroine is so old! Nothing sexy or romantic about her." Thanks, that was useful. I haven't entered a contest in several years and I'm not sure I'll be doing it anytime soon. To be frank, rejections from publishers are depressing enough. And the subjectivity factor in contest feedback is more than I can handle at the moment.
https://www.rwa.org/p/cm/ld/fid=2211. Don't let me discourage you from entering--IGO's feedback is honest, but kind, and we all really try to be helpful. So, what do you think about contests and I'd be really curious to know if you all think a copy editor should even be judging contests. Discuss . . .