What I'm writing: Chapter 10.
First bit of great news: My Cerridwen editor tells me that my novel is on her production spreadsheet, so it's actually going to happen. I have a two page form to fill out just on cover design. Heck, I'm still not happy with the title, and I thought they were usually changed anyway, so I didn't really think about it. But "Finding Sarah" sounds awfully 'Harlequin Category" to me—not like the mystery/suspense it really is. And that brings up the same Mystery vs. Suspense issue I was talking about. I have to fill in something on a 'genre' line, and I'm not sure if it'd be marketed better as mystery/suspense or romantic suspense.
Next bit: I got a request for a partial on Rescued Hearts from an agent. They prefer electronic submissions, so it's out the "door."
More contest discussion.
As a coordinator, I know how hard it is to get judges. And if you require a training meeting, you'll lose a bunch of prospective judges who don't have time, or don't live near enough to warrant the trip. Multi-published authors don't feel the need for more 'training' – and I'd agree. The real problem is trying to get everyone to agree on what's a 10 and what's a 2. I always assign judges randomly, so it's possible an entrant hits a panel of high scorers, or low scorers.
Some have 2 judges. Most seem to have 3 (which I prefer). Sometimes contests drop the low score. Others average them. Some have "discrepancy judging" so if you've got one significantly low score, a new reader steps in. Of course, this is an ego-stroke for the entrant, since who's to say the low score is the "wrong" one? But it does give extra feedback, which gives the entrant more bang for her buck.
If I had my druthers, I'd want 5 judges, with high and low scores dropped. Given the difficulty of finding qualified judges to begin with, this is wishful thinking. In an ideal contest, all the judges would be screened with sample pages, and you could try to arrive at some consensus for what a 'fair' score is. That's even more wishful thinking. All anyone has to do is look at the Golden Heart scores – even finalists will have a range of scores for the same work. I had two high and two low for my entry. Which were "right?" Who knows?
Next time: Dealing with those score sheets as an entrant.