Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Back From Beyond

Actually, that's not true. I really didn't go anywhere. I've been writing and rewriting - one of my WIP is just not behaving and I'd like to take the characters outside and rough them up a little. Maybe then they will see reason. Don't you hate that? They just won't cooperate and it's driving me crazy.

But, luckily, I have an excuse to keep from dealing with them. A while back, I volunteered to judge for an RWA chapter's contest for unpublished authors. I don't mind doing it, because I remember getting some great feedback in a few of the contests I'd entered way back in the day. My first book was loaded with positive feedback encouraging me to submit. There were critiques of it as well, which I never mind getting. I'd rather hear what's wrong than nothing. My skin's pretty thick - so it takes a lot to make me hurl a manuscript across the room anymore. =)

But, back to judging... I like to do it. I don't consider myself an expert at all, but I've learned a lot since the days when I first started out. And if I can share that - well, it is corny, but it's also true. I've been doing it for a few years now and some of the entries I've gotten have been absolute gems. Made me wish I could read the whole story, which is always a good thing. Sure, there are some that made me roll my eyes, like when it's so obviously a first draft. But for the most part, there is a lot of talent out there. It just needs to be polished a little.

So, until I finish up with that, and with my own writing, my posts may be few and far between. Of course, now because I said that, I may find myself with time left over for non-writing things. Who knows? Maybe those characters will get their act together. I don't mind ignoring them for now - maybe the silent treatment is exactly what they need.

Besides, I want to focus on those entries sitting on my desk. Someone has worked very hard to write their story and I don't want to be distracted from that. I know when I entered contests, it was for that feedback, so I want to make sure I can do as good a job on these as I have on others. Usually, I do this in the summer, when things are a little more relaxed and most of my writing time consists of researching tiny facts. It's rare for me to take the time when I'm in the middle of a project, but I guess I'm a glutton for punishment.

I've begun going through the packets - a quick skim. I did a first pass of one last night. I like to do them in stages. I skim, then read and pencil in comments, I score in pencil. I go back and re-read. More pencil. Sometimes the score rises, sometimes it falls. It's usually on the third or fourth pass that I ink it in. So, I have a lot to do right now, and I should probably get to it.

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