>You can’t please everyone… October 29, 2010Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in contest, philistines, scores.
>…and really, why are you going to try?
So I got my scores today for the Royal Palm Literary Awards (the annual contest for the Florida Writers Association). I had entered “The Succubus” as published short fiction.
Near as I can understand this, the story is read by three judges. If you get three scores of 34 or higher (and I’m not sure if they average them or take them on face value), you’re in the finals. Now that I have my scores, I can see that I wasn’t in the finals. And I can see that there’s absolutely no purpose to me entering this contest again. Because apparently they’re not looking for genre fiction. They want “literary”, and I know for a fact that I will never be “literary.”
One judge scored 45 (highest you can go is 50). This one LOVED it. Only one nit, but what they’re picking about really is proper period language. I researched it.
One judge scored 33. Didn’t connect to the characters, said it was too much like reading porn. (no, really?)
The last judge scored 19. Didn’t get the point, didn’t GET that The Succubus was a machine. Was annoyed that there was no character growth in the POV character (i.e, the machine.) and that they didn’t think the readers could identify with a machine. (the first line of this scoring section was “I have a big problem here.”) Said that the reader would not feel enlightened or pleased after reading (really? My readers disagree) and said that while there was probably a market for this kind of thing (!), that it did not fit the “general mainstream of short stories for general readers.” Oh, and he said that if they weren’t a judge, they wouldn’t have finished. (Now that one, I can understand. I’ve read contest entries like that. However, when I have that reaction, it is because of bad grammar, worse dialogue and a plot with holes big enough that you could slalom through them. This judge had no complaints about my writing — it just wasn’t their cup of tea and they raked me over the coals because of it).
I think I need to stick to contests that actually have a science fiction category. Because all these people know of steampunk is what they see on NCIS and Castle. (However, Castle was pretty good.)