Keeping Up

Where did February go? I barely caught up on emails, Facebook, Twitter, and the loops, and before I knew it, it was March.
I did get to judge some manuscripts during the month of February. They were all exceptional. The one bad thing about judging is it takes time away from writing. My writing, that is. But all judging is a learning experience both for the judges and those who are judged.

I have come a long way since I first submitted a manuscript to a contest. At first, I soaked up all the information the judges imparted, studied, took classes, read more books, edited and re-wrote my stories. Then I submitted my manuscript again and again, not just to contests, but to editors, agents, and critique partners. Finally, after 47 rejections, I put aside my first story and began another. After writing and polishing it up, I repeated the process until I had entered 16 contests. The second manuscript began a new pattern, though. The last four contests needed a discrepancy judge. It seems that two people loved the story and one person didn’t in each case. The funny thing is that everything the one judge pointed out as being bad, or a problem, the other two judges said the opposite.

Finally, I took that manuscript and re-worked it into a script. I’m polishing it up for some contests I want to enter this year. Since it was my first script entered into a contest, I was pleased with the judges comments. I feel I learned from that experience. But guess what…the script required discrepancy judging. It seems two judges liked the script, but one judge felt the opposite on several points that the other two praised me for. So what do I take from this? Do I believe the two judges and not the one? Do I just give up on the whole idea of being a writer? Or maybe I’m on to something here. Not everyone is going to like everything that is written. Maybe by having people show opposite opinions, my story is striking a nerve somewhere? Or maybe I should just give up on contests?

Since this new dilemma with discrepancy judges, I started looking at the judges’ backgrounds. In some cases, one of the judges that liked my manuscript was unpublished (like me), where the other was published. Sometimes the one that disliked my manuscript was published, and sometimes not. In the case of my script, I’ve only entered one contest, so it’s hard to tell. But I do know that the two that gave me better feedback were more experienced than the one that didn’t give feedback. So, with that said, I feel that I need to keep on writing. It’s not so much a need anymore, but a HAVE TO WRITE thing. Besides, I want to see my script made into a movie. After it gets optioned, then people might say, “Hey, this would make a good novel!” And I would say, “Hey, I happen to have one ready to go!”

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