Last week, I ranted about contest score sheets. This week, I’m going to rave about discretionary judging. Today I got the score sheets back from a contest I entered months ago. Two of the first round judges loved my entry, giving me high scores. Yeah! But the third judge absolutely hated it. I mean loathed, reviled, bleed-all-over-it-with-a-bloody-red-marker detested it. I won’t go into everything she said about my entry, but suffice it to say this judge doesn’t live by the “if you can’t say something nice” rule. Now, I know all writing is subjective but she even marked off for something that I did correctly: manuscript format! After 10+ years of writing and submitting, I think I know what industry standard is.
But you know what? I’m not upset. I actually chuckled when she said it would take a lot of editing and revision to bring it up to publishable standards. Why am I laughing, you wonder? Because her death valley low score was thrown out and the discretionary judge gave me another high score (bless her), sending my entry into the finals. A final, I might add, that’s the 4th for this particular manuscript out of the 7 contests I’ve entered it in (not counting the Golden Heart which is a total crap shoot IMO). Not bad if I do say so myself.
I just wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall when that low scoring judge found out the entry she hated finaled and that the judging editor ranked it 1st place. And if that didn’t take the sting out of her uber-critical critique, the $100 1st prize check I got sure did. *G*