Thursday, April 10, 2008

Celebrating Category Judges--What mentoring qualities did a judge share on your entry?

I received my scored entries from ACFW's Genesis contest late last night. A big thank you to Camy Tang, the contest coordinator, and all the category coordinators for their time and energy to seeing this contest to the end. I really appreciate the opportunity to have my work critiqued by unbiased individuals, which brings me to another very important thank you...

Writing contest judges freely share of their time by taking on the responsibilities of being a category judge. For that I'm truly grateful and, oh, so thankful! Your time and energy spent on scoring our entries is a tool we can all use to better our work. A sincere thank you is sent your way!

In addition, there are many judges that go above and beyond the call of duty, and that's who I want to especially celebrate today!!

The judges who COMMENT are true mentors to me. Even though I don't know who you are, I'm praising God for you. Comments made within the actual manuscript, detailing a problem area, are pure gold to a writer-in-training. You truly are a servant of our Heavenly Father to take the time to give such invaluable feedback. Thank you so very much!

Letting us know exactly where you became confused, where repetition existed, emotion was lacking, pacing was off, etc. are the greatest possible feedback an entrant can receive. They both encourage and inspire a desire to revise and edit once more.

Suggested reading resources is another helpful tip a judge offered me. I was so pleased to be directed to specific recommended reading for help with some of my problem areas. I will definitely be acquiring and studying those reference manuals. And hopefully my entry into the next Genesis contest will be all the better for it.

So what about everyone else? If a judge revealed a mentoring quality on your scored submission, won't you share it here in the comment section? Let's celebrate our awesome judges together!

Reminder: For every comment you make on my blog for the month of April your name will be entered into a draw for a copy of Daily Devotions for Writers. Check back in on April 21st and May 1st to see if you are one of the lucky winners, or leave your e-mail information within the comment section so that I can contact you directly.

Blessings to all, and thanks once again for all involved in ACFW's Genesis Contest.



Marcie Gribbin said...

Hi Eileen!
I finally got the nerve to enter the Genesis this year, and now I am wishing I had done it eons ago! I am devouring the suggestions and feedback, especially the feedback made by the judges who commented in my actual entry. This was soooo helpful, because I can see right away the line or word that needs revised and it left no vagueness! This is good, because it helps me see more clearly where the entry can be strengthened, without being discouraging.
In fact, all the judges took the time to encourage (even the lowest scoring one - bless your heart- big cyber hugs).
Now that I've had a few days to catch my breath, I can see all the work that went into the judging. Wow! Someday, if I'm a good girl and learn from them, I'll be able to be at the level to help someone else like they did. That would be grrr-eat!

Rachel Leigh Smith said...

One of my judges was kind enough to highlight words that I overuse. That little thing right there will go a long way towards strengthening my prose and I am ever so grateful she took the time to do that.

I haven't had a chance to go through the comments in detail yet, but it's looking like I'll get that opportunity this evening.

Kat said...

I'm a rookie to writing as well as ACFW and I absolutely loved the feedback. Like Marcie said, all the judges took time to add an encouragement for which I am very thankful. I have been needing something like this for a very long time.

Anonymous said...

As a judge, who's a former entrant now ineligible to enter :-), I wanted to stop by and give a judge's perspective.

Every year since the first time I was involved as a judge (2004), I start bugging the contest coordinator from the beginning of the year, making sure I'm on the list to judge. I always volunteer for the maximum amount they'll give me (even though I know I'll be overwhelmed when I do actually receive them) in the two genres I love the most: contemporary and historical romance, though I've judged every single category at one time or another.

Why do I get so excited about judging the contest? Well, it all goes back to April 2001 and my very first writing conference. I'd been writing since age 12 or 13, but had never had any real guidance to learn how to do it properly---not even from the "creative writing" courses I took in college! Then I went to Blue Ridge. Not only did I learn more in four days than in the previous eighteen years I'd been writing, but I discovered that there were other authors out there---published authors or those who'd been doing it for a few years---who wanted to help me. Wanted to share with me what they'd learned over the years.

So how can I not judge in the Genesis contest? I've been so blessed, not only by the opportunities I've had through ACFW to learn, but also with the opportunity to attain a graduate degree in fiction writing. And because one of the top spiritual gifts God gave me is teaching and exhortation, I'm not happy unless I'm passing along the knowledge that others have taught me.

I love judging the Genesis contest! The writers whose entries I judged are going to open their files to discover two or three pages of notes on the score sheets and then comments on nearly every page---basically a full critique---even though I was on deadline to get my own manuscript edited and revised and to the publisher by April 1.

Why? Because I didn't have anyone giving me that kind of guidance, instruction, and feedback until I was in my 30s. I don't want anyone else to miss out on one day's enjoyment of learning the craft of writing!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Thank you all for stopping by and leaving such wonderful praise for our Genesis judges. They deserve to be recognized in this way!

And, Kaye, a special thank you for your comment. I was hoping some judges would leave a note. It is judges like you that make the Genesis contest shine! I know it is not feasible for all judges to be as dedicated as you are to the task of "critiquing" the submissions, but those of you that do put in such a wonderful effort, I truly applaud you and you guys are who make this contest such a teachable experience for those of us wanting to learn and grow in the craft of fiction writers. Thanks so much. I hope you get hold of my entry next year--actually, maybe you did this year too.

Anonymous said...

I also judged the Genesis and I can tell you this year's entries were really well written. Sure everyone of has areas to grow but truly everyone I judged was well above a newbie.

Personally I learn a lot from judging and enjoy it.