Saturday, April 4, 2009

Judging Writing Contests

Jenn here.

I'm judging a contest, and for the first time, I actually get to judge the category that I write in. Usually I enter contests as well, and so I can't judge in the category that I've entered. As a result, I end up judging categories that are okay, but not my favorite.

At first glance through the manuscripts, I was like, "WOW!" These manuscripts look great! Granted, I haven't read more than the first page of each one, but I wanted to get a first impression as I would do if I was in a store. They were all great.

What do you think? Could it be that these manuscripts are as great as my first impression, or is it because I'm actually judging a category that I love?

Should we only judge categories that we love? How do you feel about judging a category that you don't normally read?


  1. I have judged categories that were less than my faves. I usually find that while a story may not be my taste, I'm still able to judge the writing and story like I would any other. The only exception would be sci-fi/fantasy. Since I don't read them and they tend to revolve around world-building, I'm afraid I wouldn't be a fair judge.

    All that said, I LOVE judging. I think every writer needs to do it at some point in their career. For the novice writer, it's a learning experience. For the experienced writer, it's a way of giving back.

  2. I think it's good to judge categories you enjoy reading. While it may not be one you'd buy in a store, as long as you enjoy reading it, I think it matters. If you hate a category, it could come through in the way you critique the work.

  3. I think we can judge just about any category. But I'm a little hesitant on some categories--like the sci-fi/fantasy Mindy mentioned. I'm also hesitant to judge historical (even thought I love reading them!) because I don't know enough to know how accurate the author is on setting and such. Still, a good book is a good book!

    Great discussion, Jenn!