I have entered three writing contests thus far in my short writer’s life and each time I submit a different, evolving version of The Wayward Shepherd manuscript. I never final, and yet, I find the contest feedback very encouraging. Now that I have three of these contests under my belt, I believe I am seeing a trend. Readers seem to love it or hate it.
I am encouraged by the bad critiques because they are never all that bad (and I am SO grateful people volunteer to do this for $35!). These less complimentary judges tend to rate the work above average for impact and dialogue and conflict. But they rate it below average for voice and character. Each contest yielded one such critique, and each of those judges declared the writing inappropriate for the CBA/inspirational market.
Then there are those that love it. In this contest, one judge said he/she would give the first chapter a perfect score, but explained that I got the 94, overall, because of a weak synopsis. Obviously, this person gave me my most flattering critique ever, but I had similar “lovers” for the last two contest entries as well.
Perhaps foolishly, I am encouraged by the varied reactions. I want to move people, reveal a different perspective, and I kind of doubt that can be done without making some people uncomfortable. Then again, maybe this is very common, and I am reading too much into it to soothe my tender ego. Anyone else experience large differences in scoring?