How do you like the big honkin' play button on my nose? ;-) Hit it! Hit it!
(this does make me feel mysteriously like those toys in the stores that are always at the perfect level to temp little fingers. Hmmm... )
I hope before you check out the rest of the Top Ten list, that you visit the tips 10-6 that Sherrinda posted on Tuesday.
It's settling in. You didn't final. Didn't get a call. Didn't get to scream and bounce up and down. Didn't get to realize that OH MY GOODNESS, KAREN BALL is reading my story, maybe even RIGHT NOW!!!
It's been a week. You've gotten the scores back. Read the comments. And boy you stink. Writing is so not in your future plans and maybe you should just give up and take up surfing, or cleaning houses or a secretarial position.
Writing's not in the cards folk, just get over it.
That was TOTALLY me this last week (and yesterday after getting the Frasier results back. Sigh...) BUT, the end isn't over...yet. ;-)
#5 It is NOT the end. Even though we like to think it is. Contests are always one thing: opinion. The problem with opinion is that it is subjective. Before you think that anything your judges said was complete and utter tripe, let me say this: don't read your scores in a moment of passion. Open them up. Scan them. Set them aside. Wait two days. DON'T analyze what they said. Let it sit in the back of your mind. Repeat steps 1-5 one more time (or as many times as it takes before the impassioned frustration wears off) then open the documents and really read them. Not as an upset author, but as someone as objective as you can be. Make notes, keep points on what is being consistently scored low or what the judges are agreeing on. Review your notes and move on.
#4 Throw out what obviously doesn't work. But watch for those grains of truth that come through. In my first round of Genesis judging, my scores were all over the place. But I had one judge I did not agree with. Before I completely disregarded that judge, I looked over the comments, found that I agreed more with what had been said in a more constructive manner in later judges' comments and moved on. NEVER do this in a fit of passion. You might throw away something very valuable.
#3 Don't think you need to make EVERY change the judges suggest. It is just that: suggestions and ultimately the story is still yours. Pray about it. Talk with trusted friends and those further along the path than you. Think over your story, read a book on the craft or a novel by an author you love and see what does and doesn't work for them or you.
#2 Too often I think we get contest scores back and look for a reason to call the judge a liar. Become frustrated and upset. I've been there. Too often it's my first response every time I open those emails, but it's so important to know that just because a judge scored you low does in no way un-validates where God has you right now. I was chatting via email with a dear writing friend and I told her, "my not finaling in the Genesis does in no way make me question where God has me right now. He's plans are sovereign and I'm trusting in where I'm at right now. Took me a good solid week to get there, but I'm there. ;-)"
#1 It's okay to be frustrated. To not like what the judge has to say, ultimately it IS still your story. You can do whatever you want with it. But most likely if you've entered a contest it's because you want to get better. It's all part of the learning experience.
Besides, it's good practice for all the reader mail that will be flooding our inboxs and Amazon someday. ;-)
Time to chat: what were you're impressions from entering contest this year? Love 'em? Hate 'em?