I have recently judged my very first writing contest and I have to tell you that it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I’m great at lathering on the praise, but not so good at the constructive criticism.
The Smooch sponsored by the Yosemite Romance Writers. Bascially, it’s the ”First Kiss” scene from an unpublished work-in-progress; romance, any sub-genre. So, I received a short set up of the book and then 5 pages of the “kiss.” Reading them was a joy. Lots of fresh new ideas and fun to see how each author approached this monumental moment in many books.
The problem was scoring them. There were 2 pages of things to judge, so I reread each entry several times. I really wanted to be fair and offer my own personal take on it as it related to me as a reader. The more I dove into this venture, the more I realized how agonizing writing the book must be to writers.
I was just looking at one small part of the whole story to critique, while they have to toil like that with the whole book. I have a new found respect for all who attempt this task. Trying to put all the pieces together, having them make sense, creating believable characters, both likeable and unlikeable, and finally meshing it all into one cohesive piece.
It really does take a village to make a good book. The writer’s vision, the editor’s red pen, copy editors, and open and honest beta readers. I’m sure I’m even missing more fingers in there. Just a head’s up to budding authors, don’t take short cuts. If you plan to self publish, do your research and find reliable people to help get your book in a read-worthy state.
The point is that I will never read the same after judging. While I’ll always appreciate the writer’s dedication, I think I’ll be even more critical because now I know how many eyes need to see a book before it is finally a polished, finished copy. It’s a lot of work.
So, thank you authors, for filling my days and nights with such joy. I appreciate you and your hard work does not go unnoticed by me.
Bottom Line: I am proclaiming February 7th, my personal Author Appreciation Day…please accept these virtual chocolates, from me to you!