Posted by: Author | April 19, 2011

Contest Judging

I volunteered to judge a contest for a chapter to which I don’t belong as they had a need for some judges and one of my friends is a member. This is the 4th time I’ve served as a judge and I’m always amazed at the varying levels of the quality of the entries. The RWA truly is an organization for writers at all phases of their career. I have four to judge in this contest and one was quite spectacular in its execution; however, the pacing was so slow that I found myself wondering how many pages I had left- over and over, I scrolled down to see how far I had to go. Sad, really, because it was well done. I think the writer should’ve started the book at page 21 of the 25 page entry because that’s where the pace picked up.

The second one I judged started out great guns. Exciting and daring. Then it fizzled. It seemed to be one of those we hear about that has been critiqued/polished to a shine for five pages. The story has potential, but needed to have the same attention to the rest of the pages as the first five.

The third one I judged was almost a stream of consciousness entry. Syntax, grammar and point of view issues were prevalent. The synopsis promised a great story but the execution was not well done at all.

I have one more to judge and am wondering where it will fall in the scheme of things.  One thing I always try to do is find something to like about the entries and I work very hard to be kind and gentle. I’ve been the victim of snarky judges (as  well as editors) and know that it can demoralize someone. What person finds this to be fun to do to people? Why discourage when you can encourage? As I say in my day job, there’s enough work for all of us, there’s no need to try to pull someone else down- help those that you can- AND it can’t hurt for everyone to develop competence. After all, I’d rather go up against a competent opponent and win than walk over top of someone and win by being the only one who knows how to play the game.

Today, I’m at my group blog talking about Earth Day and Writing Ideas.


  1. Really enjoyed reading about your thoughts and experiences as a contest judge, as I am just dipping my toes into the world of entering contests (short story forums, currently) myself. Your blog is an enjoyable read!

    • Thanks Hawleywood. I love your handle!! Good luck with the contests and here’s hoping you draw all kind judges!

  2. Jillian you are amazing, are you sure you aren’t triplets posing as a single person. I commend you on judging. I’ve done it and much of what you describe with how I really take it to heart not to do any harm is how it is with me.

    I judged last year and am going to different contest this year. I have found all in all I get more than I give. (Except time, I never have enough and I don’t take on a fraction of what you do.)

    • GIRL! I sometimes wish I was NOT wired the way I am. It’s very hard for me to relax. Even when I’m relaxing, I’m usually multi-tasking. I can’t just sit and be content. I really wish I could. Thus, I get into trouble sometimes and resentful of all I’ve committed to do- but once I say yes, I’m in. I DO know how to say no and just did so two times today! LOL

      I agree about getting a lot more from the judging process than I give. It helps me see what works and what doesn’t.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: