Thursday, February 4, 2016

Judgy McJudgerton

I volunteered to judge for a contest for unpublished romance writers. This is the second time I've done this and I'm in awe of the unpublished talent out there. This experience leaves me with two vastly different impressions:

1. There's some good stuff out there in the unpublished world. If I number among their ranks, I should be proud. So many are books that I wish could continue reading. They are clean and professional. The ones that pull me out of the read with errors or plot issues just need some more fine tuning. None of them, so far, have been anything any writer should be ashamed of. In fact, it's obvious they're not ashamed--they hope to win this contest so they have confidence in their manuscript. They are my peers. Go team!

2. Who the hell am I to judge a contest? I'm just one of the gazillions of unpublished authors out there with only my failures to guide me. Good grief! Are the people judging my manuscript(s) schlubs like me? If so, where do they get off liking or not liking my writing? And why should I give any weight to the results?

Luckily the positive response dominates, but the negative one peeks through here and there. I guarantee it will come to the forefront of my defenses when I get my own results (unless they're good, in which case my judges were fellow geniuses).


Raquel Byrnes said...

Yeah I kind of had a similar experience judging a contest myself. Puts into perspective how subjective the whole process can be.

Unknown said...

Writing is very subjective. It can be hard to judge and hard to determine what is "good" and what is not but in a way that is what makes it so beautiful. If we wanted to deal with absolutes we would be accountants of something :-)

Kathleen said...

If you're talking about judging pulp fiction - which most typical romances are - the best way to judge them is through the opinions of a lot of readers, not a few critics. If you're looking for poetry or more literary works, maybe critics would work. When I read a romance, I want to feel like I've made a friend of the woman and fall in love with the man. I'm not looking for fancy prose.

Susan Kane said...

What if a room of people were each assigned to read a section of several books, but two people who get sections from the same book? How would the comments work out?

alexia said...

I can understand that. I feel as writers it's hard for us to really truly believe we are legitimate and worthy of sharing our services. Before I had an agent, I felt like I wasn't one to give people pointers. Now that I have an agent, I feel pretty much the same :) I agree with you for sure though, lots of very talented unpublished writers out there. Often people are just a hair away from that lucky break and just don't realize it.

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