Monday, May 18, 2009

It's all Subjective

First, let me say that this post is not meant to sound whiny or complainy. I am in no way criticizing the judges who take valuable time away from their lives to score entries and offer their expertise and feedback to writers. Personally, I think judges rock! No matter how well or poorly they score an entry. Even if it was MY entry they scored low. Those numbers may sting for a few hours (ok, a few days) but when I get over the intial ego bashing and look objectively at what they have to say, I realize in many cases, they actually know what they're talking about (gasp!).

Yesterday, I received the scores back from my non-finaling entry in the Women's Fiction category of the ACFW Genesis contest. I was anxious to see what the judges had to say so I wasted no time in opening them up. The first score I received was a 98! Wow! Needless to say, I was very surprised and thrilled. The second one was a 95. I'm thinking, WOW. The finaling entries must have scored REALLY high. Those were two REALLY great scores!

Then I opened number three.

No wonder I didn't final.

A 69.

Yep, a 69.

I found myself wishing they still used discrepency judges, where a fourth judge is brought in when there's such a big gap between scores. I'm thinking with another judge, I would have had a shot at being a double finalist. Which would have been majorly cool.

But ... sigh ... that's the way it goes. Stories are so very subjective and, as the very wise WF category coordinator, Erica Vetch, pointed out, this is preparing me for the many editors who will vary in their opinions, as well. Like I said, that's just how it goes.

For now, I am relishing the fact that two out of three judges loved it. And I am looking forward to going through the comments and considering everything they had to say.

I love contests. I love the thrill and excitement and nervousness and competitiveness of it all. But, when all is said and done, it's so important to remember why I write. Not to "win" but to glorify God.

Because when I do that, I can't lose.


Joanne Sher said...

What a great attitude, Lynda! Praying you learn from the third judge and that you keep your perspective, dear.

Lynda S. said...

One of the things that I hate about judging is that, in spite of the list of criteria that I have to go by, there is still so much room for subjectivity.

You came to the right conclusion, Lynda. In the end, it's God's glory that counts. The lessons learned along the way are gravy on the potatoes of God's pleasure.

M. L. Kiner said...

"The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.

Karin said...

That's what I'm struggling with right now - figuring out how to decipher the scores.

I didn't final...I did much worse than I expected. But the frustrating part is deciding what to work on fixing when one judge gives a 1, but another gives you a 4 in the same category!

I really do appreciate their work though. I'm already making some changes...

Congrats on finaling!

sherrinda said...

Maybe that judge just had an off day. It sounds like it way off base since the other 2 were so high! Who knows? I haven't ever entered contests, so I am not the best judge! ;)

Patty Wysong said...

It IS all subjective, Lynda--I was SOOOOO excited for you about the one you finalled with. Way to go, girl!! A double final would've been majorly cool, but I'm sooo glad you got the one in!!!!! YaY!!