Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Observations of a Contest Judge

I've recently judged about 15-16 contest entries in a very short period of time. Like hours. I did this to help with my chapter's contest because we're getting close to announcing the finalists and there were many entries (thanks to a change we overlooked) that needed discrepancy judging.


One thing I learned reading so many entries in such a short time is that the good ones stand out early. You don't need to read to page 18 to know if it's got potential or not. Sometimes page 4 or 5, but usually by page 1, 1 1/2 maybe, you pretty much have a feel for whether or not someone can tell a story that will keep you reading.

Out of those entries I read, there was really only one that I could imagine myself curled up with on a rainy day. Am I a hard judge? Yes, because I judge against my own standards for my own writing, and those are very high, let me tell you.

Still, I enjoy the judging process. It shows me a slice of what's being done out there in Writerland. What themes are popular, what historical time periods are still holding interest, what paranormal elements show up time and time again.

Now, however, I must read something already published, because reading only the first chapters of 15 books can give a person a real need for closure. What are you reading right now?

12 comments:

  1. Right now, I'm in the middle of Lady of Light and Shadow by CL Wilson. Good stuff. =oD You've already read it, though, so I'd like to recommend you try Natalie M. Collins' Jenny T. Patridge mysteries - Tutu Deadly and Tapped Out (with Pointe and Shoot due out soon). They're light and fun stories about a dance teacher who gets mixed up in murders.

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  2. Nothing. I JUST finished Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins.

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  3. I totally agree. I understand HOW an agent or editor can go through them so fast and be able to pick.

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  4. What's discrepancy judging?

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  5. Discrepancy judging is what happens when the scoring spread between two judges on one entry is greater than a certain amount. In our case, 25 points.

    So, if entry A gets a 140 from Judge 1 and a 109 from Judge 2, it goes to discrepancy judging, then that third score is averaged in. Does that make sense?

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  6. I'm reading my critique partner's ms, so she can turn it in to her editor this Friday. I'm taking with my on holiday the new JR Ward (can't believe I haven't read it yet!), the new Lisa Kleypas, and the first Meljean Brook book. I think it's called Demon Angel, or something similar.

    I plan to read a lot this week. :)

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  7. I'm reading Dark Rider by Kathrynn Dennis.

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  8. Whoops. Meant Natalie M. Roberts (the pen name of Natalie R. Collins). D'oh!

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  9. Wife for Hire by Janet Evanovich. I'm afraid, though, that it's going to take me a while, because of all my busyness right now.

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  10. contest entries;-)
    Teri

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  11. Wow! I would never have thought there would be that many entries needing to have a discrepancy judge look at them!
    -bria

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  12. Very true! That's how I feel when I judge for contests, too. =)

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