Sunday, January 28, 2007

Judging Woes ... and Joys

I'm judging the Golden Heart (a romance writing contest) again this year. This is probably my 6th year of doing so, and I have to say that I always look forward to that FedEx box showing up on my doorstep. The last couple of years, most of the entries have been spectacular. But that's not always the case.

Sometimes I can tell the entry is by a beginning writer, and I hate that I can't comment and point out the positives in this contest. I can only send the 1-9 number score. It makes my job hard, because I know how painful it is to get back a low score in a contest. I've had many! And I hate that that impersonal number may discourage someone. However, I feel I have to give whatever the entry deserves so that the higher scores count for something.

And speaking of higher scores.... Today, I had one of those 9's! (The top score.) The entry was amazing. I flew through the 50 pages and wanted to read more! I'm dying to know if this sells, and will plan to find it in the bookstore someday.

I love when that happens. I get to feel what an editor or agent must feel like when she reads the perfect story. Of course there's all the marketing and other departments to consider, but that first read must be like a thrill ride when she happens upon a great submission. I can tell you, if I were an editor, I would have gotten on the phone and called to beg for the complete manuscript on the entry I read today. :)

I've learned so much from judging contests. I can look at the entries that scored low and figure out what in my own writing compares--can see similar mistakes and plan for how to fix them. I can also look at the one I read today and study it to see what made it so memorable. (Yes, hours later, I'm still thinking about those characters!)

So, now I'm off to go work on my own story. Hmm. How can I improve and make my characters more memorable?



Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...


You make me want to read it and I know absolutely nothing about it. Great job.

BTW-I've been waiting for you to update your blog!


Belinda Peterson said...


Don't you love getting those types of entries? I gave an entrant a perfect score (this was a different contest than the GH) and she sold that book. I knew she would.
Of course the heroine's name was Lindi...Hmmm...

Jenn and Lindi were waiting for you to update.

Missy T said...

LOL! Yes, I'm terrible about updating! Thanks for posting!!

I truly think this GH will sell if it can find a market. It's very different. A publisher might not want to take a risk on it, or might not have a place for it.

Dee said...

congratulations, missy on THE CALL!!!

Missy T said...

Thanks, Dee! So good to see you here!