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.
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.