Saturday, April 21, 2007

Judgment Day-- This Time It's Personal

I just got the scores from RWA for my Golden Heart submission. I was bummed when I didn't get "the call" announcing my status as a finalist (which, somehow, I'd convinced myself would happen). I'm even more bummed at receiving these scores.

First of all, my overall score places me in the bottom half of entries. Not too far down into the bottom half, but still there. That sucks. I've seen some of the crap that actually get published by the industry and had flattered myself that my book was better than a lot of it. To find out I'm not even in the top 50% of hopeful authors really stinks.

Second, the scores are kind of all over the place. Three of the five judges rank me pretty consistently in the mid level (5, 5.5, and--my new sworn enemy-- 4.2). Then two other judges rate it pretty highly, a 7 and a 9, the highest score possible.

I get that opinion's subjective, but how in an at least somewhat merit- rather than personal opinion-based competition can one judge rate my book a 4.2 (a D) and another a 9 (A+)? Of course, the Golden Heart gives no editorial feedback, so I have no idea what was so appalling to Judge 5 and delightful to Judge 2.

At least I didn't get any 1s. I guess I should take from this that I'm not a terrible writer, my book appealed to someone, and that I've got a long way left to go. A few more weeks left of the semester and then I'll throw myself into shopping Then Comes Marriage and writing Secrets and Spies.


Theresa said...

Eeek - your blog dropped off my Bloglines. Tragic. But I found it. And my condolences. Your ms. is so much better than most of the ones I've read out there.

Kate D. said...

Flit, I just went to my first workshop for the Greater Seattle Area RWA chapter. The workshop was on contests... and a lot of the non-published authors there were on their third or fourth year of Golden Heart, and telling each other, "Hey, at least we didn't get any ones this year."

I'm telling myself that's my only goal when I enter my first contest... to avoid getting a one. I know in my heart of hearts I'll be secretly hoping to win but, hey, I have to actually motivate myself to enter first.

I don't think the word "cahones" applies but... the fact that you entered Golden Heart your first time out indicates that you have an Ink Cartridge of Iron. I'm proud of you.

And to echo T, yes, your ms. is so much better than many of the romance novels I've read. Especially recently. The whims and vagarities of publishers are quite beyond me.

Just one more step towards becoming a "real author," right?

theflitgirl said...

Thanks girls. Kate, that's encouraging information. I guess what got my confidence up was when Kathy Caskie told me that she'd finalled in the GH with entire scenes of her MS unwritten (i.e., she'd have "Then they meet in the park and talk" or something like that).

I'm going to take the narcissist's approach and decide that the judge who gave me a 9 is a genius and the rest are buffoons.

And Kate, I want to hear about your first RWA meeting. I'm gearing up to go to mine in June (beginning of May will be paper-writing hell for me).

Anonymous said...

Hey, congrats on your scoring. You should be tentatively pleased with your scores and also look at it as an opportunity to face some potentially scary (more extensive) improvements.

It was my first time entering GH and I got mostly 6/7s and a freak 1.8 (????). I'm rather horrified, but at least it got me thinking about *why* that would have happened and what I can do to improve the work. I had considered cutting a controversial scene from my first 50 pages, but I didn't do it. Now I think I will.

That said, I have a really hard time coping with a score of 1.8. I've been a writing tutor, not to mention I'm published extensively in non-fiction, so what gives? I keep asking myself: How could I have written anything so terrible that someone found so irredeemable?

When I've judged these kinds of contests, I prepared for not "taking" to every entry. Some stories just aren't up my alley, but I'll try to score them on their merits and entertainment value to the general audience, not just my personal preferences. The reality is that some judges do just that.

Theresa said...

Don't worry about your Chuppah, dear. It's rather far along. May even be done by next week. As for when it will get to you, that will be when I get in. Maybe Wed or Thurs before the wedding. It is not being mailed under any circumstances, so don't even ask. And it's gorgeous - you'll love it!