Had a fun job last night -- calling writers to let them know they are finalists in the paranormal category of the Windy City Four Seasons Awards. The excitement in the finalists' voices and the privilege of bearing good news makes the job of being a contest coordinator rewarding.
Now I need to bundle those finalists' entries off to the editor and agent who will determine final ranking (and, hopefully, request to see more of the manuscripts).
On the personal front, I received my entry back from the Show Me the Spark contest. I didn't final, but I did get some good comments.
"I was sucked right into the scene. Good Job!" said one judge. "Fun story with a great premise. I enjoyed the opening. You have a good talent for describing your scene," said another judge.
It was interesting to me to compare the feedback from this contest to the feedback from the First Kiss Contest, in which I placed second. In both contests, I submitted the exact same chapter. It just shows me what a difference the score sheet makes in instructing the judges what to look for.
As I was looking over old contest results, I came across my entry that placed second in the historical category of the Stepping Stone contest in 2004. For some reason, I never really mentally processed the wonderful comments I received.
"First of all, you are an extremely talented, skilled writer. You have a fresh, strong voice and to me, 'voice' is difficult to achieve as a writer. You've got that mastered. ... You have great characters. ... You excel at description. You really know how to paint a picture with words. ... Wonderful humor. ... You have real talent as a writer. The story is intriguing and compelling and your voice and style are superior," said the published judge.
Feedback like that keeps me going. I wish I'd sent a thank-you note to that judge. There a lot of judges I wish I'd sent thank-you notes to.
Always striving to improve, and fresh from judging a contest myself, I've already written my thank-you's to the Show Me the Spark judges.