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Shocking

January 4, 2010

I’m in a bit of shock right now and decided to write about it to dull the feeling.

I’m thrilled V V made the cut and was not announced in the fourth place spot of the Dorchester contest.  It means my story still has a chance. Yay!

But after seeing what the readers posted about Confessions of a Shotgun Bride I’m afraid.  Some of the comments were harsh and a little over the top.  They mention the story did not have enough romance and had too much sex – yikes!  That sounds a lot like my story.

I stopped by to read the beginning of Gail Hart’s story and thought her writing was good.  The story pulled me in and I continued on for a bit.  Does that mean I’d buy it?  Well.. my tastes run more toward the paranormal and less romancey-side lately… so maybe not.

Dorchester claimed this contest would have constructive feedback from the readers posted.  This elimination post didn’t have much of that. The readers gave very in general comments but nothing really constructive to improve the piece – besides add more romance, take out some sex and make it not so predictable.

I’m scared to see if V V is cut on Friday and the harsh things they’ll say about my book.  When a judge from a contest makes comments on my entry they usually do so privately and some even do it anonymously.  The contest coordinators usually weed out statements that come across incredibly harsh and ask the judge to re-word the statement to be more constructive before it’s sent back to the writer (and kudos to them for doing so).

Such as when I judged one this summer I read directions like these: Don’t use the word ‘hate’.  Don’t state that the heroine is too stupid to live.  Don’t tell someone their writing sucks. You know – the basics.

But in that there are also subtleties.  Respect comes through in a statement – it’s implied with the tone and sarcasm (or lack thereof) within the piece. Comparing a book to an ancient love manual in a creative slam by the judge is rude and insulting to the writer.

I thought Dorchester had more class than that.  Where were the editors on that one?

Will I get blasted out of the contest for voicing an opinion and showing some integrity?

Either they want my book or not – but anyone who works hard for months or even years to create a readable story and beats out over 300 other writers to get to the top deserves a little more respect.

If I want public humiliation I can strip naked and walk down the street.  But in an public elimination a professional publishing company should make sure “constructive feedback” is actually that.

C.J.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2010 4:16 pm

    Well that is great that you are in the top three! Congratulations! I would not like that harsh criticism they are giving though.

  2. January 4, 2010 10:35 pm

    C.J.:Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.- Eleanor Roosevelt-Criticism (or any negative comments) are hard to take, but it's only a public humiliation if you look at it that way. And I doubt that VV, having made it this far, is going to be subject to anything harsh. It's a smart, fun story with romance AND mystery — what's not to love about that?!

  3. January 5, 2010 8:41 am

    Thanks so much Steph and Nicole. I know I need to have more faith – and you're right Nic – that is an awesome quote to live by.If V V is cut I'll have to hold my head up high and send my MS off to the other publishers that requested it and hope for the best. Oh.. and beat the bushes for an agent… but that's another story!The unprofessionalism of the one comment really shocked the hell out of me. It made me lose some respect for the contest. For a company to build up the expectations of a contest after months of hard work and then to be handed a judge's cutting wit instead of constructive feedback was truly shocking.

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