Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

I had every intention of putting some writing tips together. And if I couldn't really come up with any myself, I have several links I've collected over the years. But the truth is, I need some advice.

I agreed to judge for a contest. I have been through a training, and as an avid reader, writer, and teacher, I feel confident in my judging abilities. I just want to do it right.

I love all the entries, but after reading them, one in particular is still with me. I want to know how it ends. The others are very well written also, but the characters, plot, tension and conflict of the one have stuck in my brain. I don't know that the writing of this one is as eloquent as one of the others, but the everything else about it impresses me. However, I don't know if that matters enough to score it high (they are all well-written), or if this particular manuscript is just up my alley. We've all read books that others raved about and only found okay. Is that what is going on?

It's just so hard to score someone else's baby because I know how much it matters to them. In my mind's eye, I see the people behind the work, and they're just like me. But I owe as impartial a judgment as I can manage, so I will re-read and pay close attention to the specific scoring standards, hopefully coming to a fair conclusion and a justifiable score with helpful comments.

Anyone who has judged before have any advice?


  1. Hi Sherry,
    I've been a writer/journalist all my adult life, and I don't envy your position. You're right: taste in writing, like art, food and people, mean different things to different people. Take Hemingway vs Cormac McCarthy. Woah! While their styles are at opposite ends of the spectrum, both are memorable and gifted.

    A journalist should be able to tell a story in the first sentence with "who, what, when, where & why." Fiction, memoir, etc has no rules other than preferably hook the reader in the first paragraph, and certainly make them care about the characters and what happens to them.

    Sounds like the one manuscript hooked you, but perhaps it's not as well written as the others. Please let us know what you decided.


    PS: Now I'm self conscious about the quality of my comment:)

  2. No judgment on the comments! Honest! ;0)