Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Feedback Frenzy

I’m always vexed to learn I’m not perfect.


Yesterday was no different when I received my feedback on my entry for the Golden Rose contest. I already knew I wasn’t a finalist but that was ok since I’d be getting back critiques from three different judges (two published, one unpubbed). I chose to enter this contest for that very reason because there’s no one who writes romance let alone historical romance in my writing groups. So with this contest, I would finally be getting critiques from my so-called peers.

Overall my scores were pretty good, confirming my gut feeling that I’m close and getting closer everyday. But where one judge liked my secondary characters, another thought they were two-dimensional. Where one liked my clean prose but thought I had no style, the other thought my style effectively conveyed mood and tone. One thought my storyline tried and true, another compelling. Hmm…

But two things the three judges had more or less in consensus:

  •  I’m still doing more telling than showing in a few instances
  • After an opening scene chock full of external conflict, internal conflict takes over and affects the overall pacing.

No bueno. But instead of a “I’m just not that into your book,” this time I have actionable advice I can use on another revision. All for 50 bucks. I’ll take it.

One thing I found interesting about this whole process was the unpublished judge was harsher than the two published judges. Resulting in a difference of about 10 points. Maybe she didn’t get the story; maybe she’s still a bit green when it comes to craft and critique. But I have to wonder if we unpublished masses are harder on each other because there’s so much competition out there these days. Manuscripts must be perfect like never before for writers to break into the market. A sobering thought.

4 comments:

K.M. Weiland said...

Seeking advice is vital for authors of every experience level. But keep in mind that outside input is always subjective. If something the judges say doesn't resonate with your own gut feeling about the story, don't hesitate to ignore them.

The Sisterhood said...

Hi!

I am a fellow crusader. I'm not surprised that the unpublished judge was harsher to you than the others. It may be that unpublished writers are more attentive to the "rules of publishing" than those who have been published already. If you want to talk more about historical fiction and contests, feel free to stop by our blog. There is a post about historical research today and an earlier one on literary contests. All four of us write historical fiction (among other things.)

http://divinesecretsofthewritingsisterhood.blogspot.com/

Lorena

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Great post! It's great that you took so much away from the contest...I wish I could find more picture book or chapter book contests that involved feedback.

Bluestocking said...

Thanks KM for a dose of reassurance. My gut has gotten me a long way. It's a good reminder that everything is subjective!

Lorena, thanks for stopping by and letting me know about the resources on your blog. I'll be sure to check it out.

Sharon, it sounds like the feedback you got from Marcia (that you talked about in your last post) was just as valuable (or more) than any contest!

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