Monday, November 5, 2007

Results are in...

And I really wish they weren't.

I debated whether or not to post this soon after hearing the bad news. Finding out that my manuscript placed FOURTH out of FOUR finalists in the Get Your Stiletto in the Door contest is a little like someone telling me my baby is ugly. The editor judge gave me 57 points out of 135. Yes, FIFTY-SEVEN. She might as well have sent me an email simply saying, YOUR STORY STINKS! In other words, your baby is butt-ugly (excuse my French). Lock her up and throw away the key. And believe me, it's tempting.

OK, I'll admit I'm a little emotional right now. I'll even admit that the temptation to eat every single chocolate chip cookie I baked today is overwhelming. Everything in me is screaming, "QUIT WRITING! GIVE IT UP! YOU'RE NO GOOD!"

I now have a choice to make. I can listen to that overbearing inner voice. Or, I can listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, who is (more gently) telling me it will be okay. There is no need to pull my hair out or rock in the corner. That this contest doesn't define my ability as a writer. That it's not the make-or-break of my writing career. That beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And my baby is still beautiful.

At least it is to Judge #2 - the judging agent - who requested the full manuscript when it's complete. It just amazes me that two judges can score the same manuscript so differently. I know, I's all subjective. But when you just received yucky, VERY LOW scores from an editor who's well-respected in the industry, "subjective" takes on a whole new meaning.

But I'll keep plugging away on my novel. Because I actually like the thing. And hopefully I'll find an agent or editor who's on the other end of Judge #1's subjectivity. Who knows? Maybe it will be Judge #2.

Forgive me for venting. You're probably thinking I should be thankful I finalled at all. And I really am, even though it doesn't seem like it at the moment. Venting somehow cleanses the soul. And right now, I need some major soul cleansing.

So the results are in.

Yippee for me.

P.S. Check back tomorrow. Chances are I will be past the "poor me" stage and into the "ok, what can I do to improve this manuscript and actually win next time?" stage.


Cathy West said...

You probably already know how I feel about contests. I've done enough of my own venting. After the Genesis this year, I really think I'm just not a contest person. It's great for the person who wins, but if you don't, you feel like you're a failure. And who needs that? I know all the hype about how much you can learn and yadda yadda yadda, but honestly, to me anyway, it's just not worth it. I'd rather listen and take advice from my crit buds and reputable authors and agents who want to help me improve my writing. I'm not so inclined to focus on a low score from a judge who didn't make any comments on my manuscript at all. Some folks just won't like my writing. I know that. Too bad for them. :0) SUBJECTIVITY. It's an ugly word, but if you want to be in this business, you're going to have to get used to it.

Anonymous said...

Aww, Linda it's ok. You made it to the finals though--think of it that way! And keep working on it--I know you have tons of potential. Finish your book--send it to an editor and keep working on it. I just KNOW we'll see it published.