Sunday, May 16, 2010

Education Is The Key To Not Look Stupid

I got comments and scores back from another contest. And I did really well on three of the four scores-near perfect on two. The one who gave me the lowest obviously didn't know what Kensington/Brava published. She kept saying it read like erotica (with pure distaste in her tone) and she didn't believe the book needed to be in the single title romantic suspense category.

Considering the contest didn't have a erotica category and my book is a romantic suspense, of course, I placed it in the right spot. I had BRAVA written beneath the entry title to sorta warn judges. How obvious could I be? Also she kept adding commas in sentences that didn't need them. She made a couple of remarks that were her personal opinion and nothing to do with the writing and those were not only unnecessary but not nice. Will I tell the coordinator? Nah. Not worth it.

But I can tell you the judge proved she doesn't know her market as she didn't know what was published under Brava. Just because I don't read or write inspirational, if someone had written "Steeple Hill" or "Tyndale" on their entry, I would automatically known it was an inspirational. And if I felt uncomfortable readying those type of books--I'm not--I would've told the coordinator and let another person judge it.

So if you're helping to judge a contest, be sure to keep those things in mind.


Otherwise, you'll look stupid (FYI - I said look stupid, not that she/he was stupid) when you say " could wind blow water that's four stories below her in the window..." I guess she never heard of a wet windowsill.

When she said, "Whatever water you're talking about, from the set up a reader thinks it means ocean and that seems unbelievable that a shot would knock him flying over the boardwalk rail and several feet of sand to land in the ocean." Sorry, hon, you're wrong. First, it's not the ocean. It's part of the Puget Sound. Second, there's no sand along the boardwalk. I know. I looked. And no, you're the only judge that thought it was the ocean because you didn't take a second and think Seattle equals Puget Sound. It does to most people. One thing about the shore around the Sound, it's rocky, no sand unless they haul it in. And, oh, the sniper rifle I talked about could certainly throw you back quite a few feet. Anyway, it's called fiction! ::smirk::

Another comment she made was about how the heroine dressed sexy while waiting for the hero to show up. "...more hooker than a randy assassin." And she knows that many randy assassins?

Then she mistyped character. Yeah. I know. That's petty of me to enjoy her boo-boo.

One judge had a hard time with my heroine's blunt thoughts and even told me she disagreed with her thinking. LOL! Sorry, lady, but it's fiction and that's just the way the heroine thinks. For example, when my heroine thinks, "Death by sex? Now that would be the way to go." The judge remarks, "But not at all realistic." Huh? I say tell it to the guy who had a heart attack while getting it on with his trophy wife or young mistress or both. To me that would be death by sex.

Then she had the gall to say on my manuscript, "Not believable," after I had written, "She'd never been as turned on in her life." Obviously this judge is jealous of my heroine. LOL! I believe from other nice comments she said, I would've made a even better score than she gave me --she took 10 points off total from 123 -- if not for the parts she disagreed with. If she'd read my whole book she'd realized the heroine grows on you. There's reasons she's the way she is.

[Whew! I feel better. It really helps to move on if you can air a little of your thoughts about the crazy comments they make.]


Okay, now to talk about the good comments I received from the smart judges (yes. I did say smart...and not "look smart" as they are smart. LOL!) This is all part of thinking on the positive. The other stuff above was to get it out of my system and educate people in blog-land.

On this one I missed a perfect score by two points. She said, "Good erotic start to the story." This judge had a sense of humor, when she said, "Sucks you right in -- no pun intended and in a good way." And then she marked an X next to "This manuscript is superb-masterfully written." I need to send this woman chocolate.

The second one said, "Superb beginning - writing and plot." And in regards to Narrative and Dialogue, she said, "All excellent." She said, "Great first sentence," and several other compliments. I need to send this one a whole box of chocolate. Oh, she scored me 122 out of 123.

You're probably noticing I wrote a lot more about the negatives than the positives. I've learned if the judge likes your entry, she's less likely to tear it apart and make comments, good or bad. Thus, the good ones have fewer comments.

I'm sending emails to the two judges who scored me near perfect. I like how that sounds. NEAR PERFECT. Though I didn't final, those two judges made my day.