I received my scoresheets from the second contest I entered, The Genesis, which was sponsored by the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. Overall I was happy with the scores. It was the equivalent of an A and two C’s. Two C’s, you might ask? Well, yes. For someone not expecting to final, for someone entering their very first manuscript into a contest, I would say those are pretty good scores!
It was so interesting to go through and read the comments made by the three judges. Some had some very detailed and helpful critiques that will definitely make my story stronger and more alive. It seems I struggle with backstory and info dumping. It’s funny, because I had people read my story and say they were confused at the beginning and needed more background. Hhhmmmm. There’s got to be a balance, don’t you think?
There were a few comments that I thought were subjective. I know there is a wide variety of thought regarding what is appropriate for CBA. What is acceptable is changing fast and really, it all depends on the publisher you choose to target.
What I thought most interesting is the difference in the scoring between the Genesis and the Touch By Love contest, in which I finaled. The Genesis only accepts the first 15 pages of manuscript, while the TBL accepted 30 pages. I wondered if I would have done better in the Genesis if judges could have kept reading. One judge in the TBL told me my first chapter needed work, so most likely it really does! (I believe this is where the backstory and info dumping factors in.)
So as I begin to continue editing this book of mine, I will take the judges comments and sift through them, implementing the suggestions that seem to come from more than one judge. I will make the changes that make sense and make my story tighter and I will ignore the ones that seem to be more opinion than helpful facts.
I’ve decided I really like contests. They are a good way to get feedback and in some cases, get validation on this writing venture. I’m not going to enter any more this year, but will focus on making this story shine and hopefully begin a new and fresh stroy this summer.
What is the one thing you love about contests? The thing you dislike?