Contest Judging

At the end of last year, I signed up to judge a couple of contests for this year.  Well, I got my first packet last week . . . and it doesn't look good.

I have managed to spend every single day last week avoiding reading those entries. Oh, I read them enough to see if I recognized any of them. One I had judged in 2011, so I returned it. I should have kept it to judge again, but 1) it was a good entry, 2) the replacement entry wasn't going to be fun.

I've tried reading the entries, but each one of them has seriously stopped me in my tracks. All of them are bad, but for different reasons.

One was so overwritten that it was just uncomfortable and awkward to read--headache inducing actually.

Another one was a huge mess of steampunk/alternate history/sci-fi space opera that I didn't know what to think.

Another one was a flip-flopped ghost story. I still can't figure that one out. It might be a pair of alternate realities overlapping that the "real" character thinks the other one is a ghost. Call me confused.

The last two seem interesting. Why is it that I always unintentionally save the good ones for last?
Now I know which one's I'll be reading first. At least one of them. I have to break up the hideousness.

Anyhoo, since I have to take the kidlet to swim every night, I might as well do something other than reading. I'm charging up my netbook and then I'll load these contest entries to judge.

Even though I haven't judged a contest since last October, I know I can do it. I don't have much choice since I signed up to judge another contest and the entries are expected to arrive the week of February 19.

Ye-ah. . .

Hopefully I'll have a Weighty Wednesday post for you provided I haven't stuck a hot poker in my eye from the pain of these entries.

Later, Peeps!

Oh, and by the way, I'm actually pretty nice with my comments. I just complain on my blog. And no matter how nice of a judge you are, someone's feelings will always get hurt because this story is their baby. And no one wants to be told that their baby is U-G-L-Y.


Cynthia D'Alba said...

I just finished an "Not-Be-Named" book. Published by NYC publisher. Supposedly professionally edited. Author has published 50+ books. Been on best seller lists, etc.

However, the head-hopping almost made my head spin. I wanted to add a few dialog tags so I knew who was talking. So many characters (part of an ongoing small town series) I had trouble following all the names and who married who, etc.

Have fun with those contest entries. I'm doing NONE this year! :)

magolla said...

Yeah, I'm a bonehead for volunteering, but I did and I must deal with it.

I've read a couple of stories like that, Cyndi. It's like the author/editor assumes the reader has as close of a relationship to the characters as they do!

Erika said...

You are a brave soul. I wish you the best of luck. I have trouble reading some published authors. The book I'm reading now keeps hoping back and forth (from what I can tell unnecessarily) through time. I'm about half way through and I keep telling myself it will get better. I hope.

magolla said...

Thanks, Erika!
I've had the same issue with pubbed authors, too. But I'm finding that I have some serious pet peeves that rear their ugly heads.

Jody Werner said...

I would be the Simon Cowell of the writing world if I was allowed to judge people's writing. Of course, that's what I'm like with everything.

At any rate, Margie, reading the horrendous writing should certainly make you feel a lot better about your own talent!

As for published writers getting crappy stuff published....as with any industry, it is sometimes all about who you know and not about your talent.

magolla said...

:-) Thanks, Jody!

Actually judging makes me realize all the stupid, repetitive things that I do in my own writing!

Sometimes it's hard to put a "nice" spin on your comments.