Yesterday, I ranted about the scores I got from a contest judge who just didn't "get it". Last night, I received a judging packet from a group I forgot I agreed to be a judge for. Oops.
Let me preface this by saying I've done judging for years. I took workshops in how to be a judge and have looked at contests from both perspectives - as a judge and as a contestant. As such, I try to temper my comments and make them at least somewhat useful to the reader. I give them a lot of thought and spend a lot of time on them, even though I know most entrants won't even read them. They'll look at the final score and toss the rest.
So as I sat down to look at the first manuscript last night, what was uppermost in my mind? Yep. That judge who didn't get it. I didn't think about all the good scores I got. Just that one bad one. And I determined that I wouldn't be that judge.
Unfortunately, the manuscript I was reading was not ready for prime time. And I did get it. The basis of the story was okay, it was the technique that was below par. There were glaring spelling errors on nearly every page, grammatical errors that were elementary, point of view problems, cliches and more. Yes, the kernel of a story was in there, but making it past the mechanics of the pages was more than a little difficult. As much as I hated to do so, I was forced to give below normal scores, though I did go into great detail as to why I did so. Even though I was justified and can even quantify my response, I know this person won't care about that. All she'll see is the score and rant that the judge just didn't get it.
Kind of puts things into perspective.
This is for writers yet to be published who think the uphill climb will never end. Keep believing. This is also for published writers grown jaded by the process. Remember how lucky you are."
- Terry Brooks