LATEST RELEASES

               Find Out  More! | Read an Excerpt

 

Find Out More | Read an Excerpt

 

COMING SOON


Want to know what happened after Melt Into You ended?

Releasing September 16, 2014!

Find out more or PRE-ORDERNook | Kindle

 

 

DON'T MISS A THING

*This does not subscribe you to my blog.

FOLLOW ME


       

Search This Site
Powered by Squarespace
Latest From the Blog
Dig Through the Archives
100+ reading challenge 2010 about me adverbs agent agents ashley march author author blog author branding author intrusion author platform author voice author websites authors award awards backstory bad boy balance berkley heat best writing links beta club beta reader beta readers blog tour blog tours blogfest blogger blogging blogging tips book book covers book deal book marketing book promotion book reviews book title books branding characters comments contest contests crash into you creativity critique critique group critiquing dear author debut author deep point of view deep POV dialogue ebooks editing editors endings e-publishing excerpt face off friday feedback fiction fill-me-in friday first chapter first draft first novel genre genre fiction goals guest blog guest blogging guest post harlequin historical romance hook how to write humor ideas indie publishing inspiration interview joan swan Julie Cross kindle kissing blogfest kristen lamb links literary agent literary fiction love scenes marketing mashup melt into you memorable moments middle grade motivation motley crue movies muse music mystery mystery writing Nelson Literary Agency new years resolutions novels opening chapter opening lines openings overediting panster pantser paranormal pen name perfectionism pitching plotter plotting poll promotion publishing queries query query letter querying question of the day reading reading challenges rejection repost revising revisions romance romance author romantic suspense rough draft royal street rules RWA RWA nationals sagging middle Sara Megibow save the cat self-editing self-publishing sequels series sex scenes sierra godfrey social media social networking speed writing submissions suspense suzanne johnson teens tempest tiffany reisz time management TMI traditional publishing tumblr twilight twitter update urban fantasy voice WIP wip wednesday women's fiction wordiness work in progress wednesday workshops write tip writer writer toolbox writers writer's block writers' conference writer's toolbox writetip writing writing blogs writing contest writing craft writing goals YA young adult
« Are You a Character Driven or Plot Driven Writer? | Main | Why Your Mama Doesn't Count as a Beta Reader »
Monday
Jan182010

Judging Writing Contests (and the Crit Winners!)

 

*Drum roll*  And the winners of the critiques are...at the bottom of this post.  :)

First, I wanted to talk about judging writing contests.  This year I decided to not only enter RWA's Golden Heart, but to volunteer as a preliminary judge.  The way it works is you are able to judge in any category except the one you entered in.  They send you six fifty-page partials and the accompanying synopses, which you are responsible for reading and judging.  

When I first started reading them, I realized how quickly I could tell if something was going to be good or not.   I know we've talked about agents making decisions quickly and how important that first line, page, chapter is, but this drove it home for me.

 

That first line and paragraph are like a little snapshot of what to expect in the book.  If it was overwritten and tell-y, the rest of the pages tended to be the same way.   If it was confusing, the story was often convoluted.  On the entries that had first pages that hooked me, the rest of the story was really good too.  So had I been an agent reading these, there are a few I would have put aside pretty darn fast.  (However, for the contest, you're required to read all of the pages, so I went ahead and did that.)

The other thing I discovered in this judging experience is that it's hard to give a score when you're not allowed to give feedback.  For most of the chapter level contests, you get detailed feedback from judges and a score sheet.  However, for the GH, you just assign one score (from 1-9) and give no feedback.  This is so difficult.
I know how much love has been poured into each of these manuscripts (not to mention the fifty bucks paid to enter the contest), so it pains me to assign a low score and not be able to help the writer out by telling them what I see that could be worked on.  However, I'm also not going to assign a higher than deserved score simply to be nice because that's not fair either.  I have to be honest in my opinion.  I just have to hope that if someone gets theirs back and all the judges assigned them less than stellar scores, they'll seek out beta reader feedback to try and figure out what went wrong.  Or, they have the option of going the these judges were idiots and failed to recognize my awesomneness route.  That can work, too.
Of course, I could be saying all this and then get back my own back with low scores, lol.  Hopefully not.
Alright, so now for the winners of the crit contest.  Congrats to....
List Randomizer
There were 43 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
  1. Julie Dao - WINNER!
  2. Aubrie - WINNER!
Woo-hoo for Julie and Aubrie!  Ladies, please email me your ten pages or query letter (your choice) for critique (click the little @ button under my picture on the right).  I look forward to reading your work!
So has anyone else out there judged a writing contest?  Have you participated in submitting to any?  Did you get feedback or just a score?  


 

**Today's Theme Song**
"In My Opinion" - The Kooks
(player in sidebar, take a listen)

 

Reader Comments (14)

I came to your blog from Susans.

Sounds like you learned a lot from judging others. That sounded kind of weird.

I see what you mean about just getting a score and not any feedback. That would be hard to give and receive.

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatti

I'd really like to know why you aren't allowed to give feedback. I can understand them saying you don't have to, but can't? If you find out why, let me know. Sanks. Great post, btw.

Lynnette Labelle
http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLynnette Labelle

Lynnette, You enter your scores online. The contestants don't get their copies of the manuscript back, so literally no way to get them feedback even if the contest did allow it.

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRoni @ FictionGroupie

Oh my- that would be painful to have to assign scores with no feedback. I would hate it- the people with low scores would be crushed and have no idea what they needed to improve.

I wonder if you could mention that to the powers that be? Or maybe that's not the purpose of the contest.

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie Thornton

Stephanie, most of the local chapter contests offer feedback. Since this is the national biggie (think Oscars for unpublished romance writers), I'm guessing that it's too many entries to do that efficiently.

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRoni @ FictionGroupie

Wow! I won! I'm so excited. Thank you! I'll email you right now!

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAubrie

I've never been a judge, and the few contests I've entered didn't even send the scores back. It was either you won, or didn't.

My crit group sometimes uses the PNWA critique sheet, and I just refuse to use the numbers. I'll offer feedback in the topic areas, but putting a number is just to hard for me.

Great post Roni. Sounds like judging was a good experience for you.

.........dhole

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonna Hole

Congrats to the winners!

No, I have never judged a writing contest, or participated in one. Probably should. Someday I'm sure I will.

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEva O'Dell

Roni, sounds like a great experience. I've never been a judge. I did teach english for fifteen years so I real a lot stories that I had to comment on and assign grades.

I've entered a few contests. PNWA and The Sandy give detailed critiques.

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Greci

I used to be a poetry judge for Barnes and Noble. It was the same thing, 50% of them we could throw out right away. For those contests, though, we were just looking for 1st - 3rd place.

I try not to enter too many contests because there's usually a low rate of return on your hard work.

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFalen

I think its great you got to judge work this way. I've never done anything like that!

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

AHHHHH I WON!!! I never win anything! Thanks Roni :) I'll e-mail you my ten pages. I have never judged a writing contest but I really want to someday. It sounds really time consuming but I think it would be a great experience, especially to gain insight on weaknesses and strengths in your own writing.

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Dao

I have never judged - but this process sounds tough.

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShelli

Ah...those lucky, lucky ladies. Your crits are pure awesomeness:)

January 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTina Lynn

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>