Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Judging the Golden Heart

"Love is a friendship with erotic moments."
~Antonio Gala

I signed up to be a judge for the RWA Golden Heart contest again this year (it’s the one for unpublished writers), and my 5 partial manuscripts arrived yesterday.

Last year, I was a little disillusioned with the whole process, because of the 5 I read, the one I scored lowest, by far, ended up being a finalist. I still have no idea how that might have happened. Anyway, I thought it would be good of me to participate, so I volunteered for another go-round. This time, I’m reading ms. in the category “Novel with Strong Romantic Elements.” Should be interesting, right?

I’ve just skimmed the opening pages, but it looks as though 3 are pretty mainstream, one is a paranormal (cool, esp. since I never read that genre…good for a change), and one is…ahem…borderline erotica. I question a little what “romantic elements“ actually means, but we'll see...

Anyone else ever judge writing contests? Thoughts on the good, the bad, and the ugly of the experience?

2 comments:

Charity said...

Actually, the low score and still a finalist can happen quite easily since RWA uses standard deviation in calculating the scores. The year I made the finals, one of my fellow finalists had scores of: 9, 9, 9, 9, 2. The low score is dropped and an average of all five scores is used in its place. Uh, I think. Don’t quote me on that.

After a certain point, it’s subjective. One person’s melodrama is another person’s emotional read. One person scores a good, solid read a 7, for someone else, it’s a 5. For someone else, anything that doesn’t suck gets an 8. And so on.

I’ve judged the GH and other contests for going on three years now. It’s a crapshoot, for both judging and entering. I’ve had two near the top scores and one bottom of the barrel score from the same contest. I’ve judged manuscripts where I was the top or low scoring judge, and one or both of the other judges disagreed with me.

Writing is an art and a craft, but it’s not a science.

MaryF said...

I'm judging the same category and three are hen lit. I only got 4 entries and judged them already. One was a nine, for sure.