Monday, September 01, 2008

Judging Contests

My RWA chapter is helping out a sister RWA Chapter with their contest. Several of my friends and I offered to judge the entries. I've entered quite a few contests in my day. From a judge's and a entrant's view point- I dont' like this one. We give numbers and make comments on the score sheets. The entrants don't even get the entry back. How are they supposed to learn anything if they don't get back their entry with comments and suggestions? Not to mention it makes judging and scoring a whole lot harder and time consuming.

I've read one entry so far. I went ahead and made comments on the ms to use as reference points when I fill out the score sheet, but without copying and pasting some things, it is hard to explain what I'm talking about. I feel like I'm cheating the entrant because they aren't getting all the information I'd like to give them. Don't think the first entry was bad, it wasn't. It had a lot of good things going for it, but there were a couple of things that just would have made more sense to see my comments at that spot rather than me trying to say in the scene where this happened if you did this and this it would tighen/strenghten the character. It would be easier to show them how to show it. If that makes sense.

Anyway, that's my little rant for today.

What expereience if you are a writer have you had with contests? If you aren't a writer have you ever entered any kind of a wontest?


Celia Yeary said...

Hi, Paty--Celia here from the Cactus Rose line. I'm answering and replying to blogs today that I've never seen nor read--just my little good deed on Labor Day, since I've already done the party/gathering thing and have an entire afternoon to "fiddle." I noticed your blog on HELEN'S HEROES. I pulled it up to read Renee's guest blog, but saw your name and got sidetracked. Contests--The best thing I did was enter RWA contests--I did so in the space of one year, and each month I chose one or two,and entered.Why? To get the critique sheets. (See, I understand why you're upset, and the entrants should feel short-changed and complain or ask for their fee back.)This was after I received 13total rejections for three different novels. I received no feedback from submitting, but I understood I would with contests. Since I had no critique partner, and didn't even know another author, and the RWA Chapter was too far away, the contests were invaluable. I placed 3rd in one and the top three scores were one pt. difference. I was thrilled.My judges ripped me apart at first, so I tidied up some more, and kept entering. By the time I finished, I had charts and lists, comparisons and comments. I found my weaknesses and my strengths, and started working on ms again. I researched publishers, compared, contrasted--I'm sorry, I'm such an organizer--and the result was the best one, in my mind--The Wild Rose Press. All the work was worth it. I'm having a great time. Celia Yeary

Helen Hardt said...

Hi Paty! I'm surprised to see you blogging today. Contests? I've entered three. Bombed in the first one. Did well, but didn't final, in the second, and finaled with all three entries in the third. So yes, it was a learning experience, and my scores improved because I took the time to self-educate in the areas I needed to.

I've also judged several. All that I've judged allow you to comment on the ms, which I think is very important, so I can see why you don't like the one you're currently judging. I also keep it positive. I got some nasty comments once, so I don't want anyone else to go through that. The last few times I've judged, I've gotten thank yous from the entrants, which made my day.