Today I'll be judging those contest entries that I should have finished last week before I left town. *sigh* They are tougher than I expected, more of the first time writer feel to them instead of the "I'm this close to publishing" vibe.
And you see what I'm doing?
I'm stalling! I'm writing a blog post instead of buckling down to judge!
I've read/judged/commented/scored two out of three entries and I'm working on the third one (trust me, I'm GLAD I only have three!). I need to finish it so I can let them ferment overnight. Tomorrow I'll give them one last glance and send them on their way. None of them will be finalists in this contest. They just aren't ready for prime time.
Funny thing is that I thought I would have a higher quality of entries since this is a LARGE, WELL-KNOWN AND PRESTIGIOUS CONTEST. But nope, the contest is open to everyone, which means you get every type of entry possible.
Which also means I need to form my comments in as honest, but not hurtful, manner as possible. I've already learned that no matter how kindly you offer your opinion, feelings will get hurt. It's part of the game, part of developing a thick skin, part of your growth as a writer.
Not everyone will love your work. Period. Get used to it.
BUT as a writer, it's your job to present your work in the possible manner, which means you must learn the craft of writing: grammar, punctuation, pacing, characterization, emotion, dialogue, plot, etc. Some parts of the craft might be easy for you, but that doesn't mean you can ignore the rest of the factors that make a good story.
Okay, I think I'm ready to tackle the last few pages . . .
. . . after I brew a cup of coffee . . . and it has been ten minutes since I looked at Facebook . . . and I forgot to post my walkies on twitter . . . and I do need to run to Sam's Club . . .