Thursday, October 11, 2007

Golden Rose Contest Scores

The Rose City Romance Writers' contest, The Golden Rose, has ended. Fox & Hound was my only entry. It didn't final, but the judges were so encouraging. The contest coordinators have given me permission to post my scores here on the blog. My highest score was 301. My total score was 809. Surprisingly, judge #3 who gave me the lowest score wrote the best comments. Here's what the judges had to say about Fox & Hound.

The first judge gave me a perfect ten on the following questions:
Do the main characters come alive for you?
Do the main characters seem motivated enough to endure conflicts to their goal?
Are all characters introduced in a manner that makes each character unique?
Does the writer make the situation seem possible?
Does the writer create vivid pictures, using a variety of senses?
Do you get a sense of where the story takes place?
Is synopsis presented professionally (spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.)?

Judge #1 Constructive Comments:

Your main characters have a lot of emotional baggage to work through, which gives them good growth opportunity. Interesting secondary characters... Good use of setting, with vivid descriptions. Excellent pacing and suspense in opening scene. Good drama in your chapter endings. You have an exciting story with lots of potential. Thanks for entering the Golden Rose and good luck with your writing!

The second judge gave me the best scores on the following questions:
Does the dialogue sound natural for these characters?
Are their speech patterns/sland/jargon appropriate and believable for their place and time period?
Is there an interesting situation that captures reader interest?
Is the story told in a fresh, original manner?
Is the synopsis presented professionally (spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.)?

Judge #2 Constructive Comments:
I like Todd's [hero] profession as a jewel thief. [Celestia, the heroine, is] very well-drawn. The opening scene is riddled with good action and great pacing. You have a real flair for action scenes. Mike [secondary character] is a good touchstone for Todd. You have a readable voice and real skill with action scenes. Keep those scenes tight and focused and you'll really play to your strengths.

The third judge gave me the best score on these questions:
Is there enough conflict (internal and/or external) to hold a reader's interest for a book of this length?
Is there an intriguing situation that captures reader interest?
Does the writer make the situation seem possible?
Are basics (spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.) generally correct?

Judge #3 Constructive Comments:
I enjoyed the relationship between Mike and Todd, the loyalty between Mike and Christy [his wife]. Intriguing that an heiress [heroine] chooses such an outlandishly risky career as stealing jewels...the concept grabs my interest immediately. Poor Todd--hopelessly attracted to his nemesis--very fun.
Certain scenes leap off the page in vivid color as if on a movie screen:
--Todd comes to work as a janitor and transforms into a stealthy thief.
--Todd almost has the jewel...then it's gone with the green-eyed beauty.
--Mike and Todd talking about the job that got him in jail, and he vows to make her pay, he's all motivation
--Todd and Celestia dancing...they're strangers yet they know a lot about each other, the physical attraction is potent, the reader feels the threat he is to her, that he can get to her, but her power over him is undeniable too.
[Synopsis:] Great start, solid characters, and conflict abounds. Keep polishing and try to reveal more about the main characters' internal conflicts.
[Overall:] I love the romance and action of your story! I enjoyed the final phrase... "retire...for a little while at least." Very fun...sequel in the works... Thank you for submitting to Golden Rose! See you in print!

Judge #3 also recommended researching the following. I thought this would be great to mention for other writers as well.
Coaching from the masters (or the highly skilled):
--Mary Buckham and building sexual tension
--Cherry Adair and plopping you in the middle of action
--Nora Roberts and plotting as well as sensory detail
--RCRW website--"synopsis workshop" articles

I enjoyed all the great advice and comments the Golden Rose contest judges gave. This is definitely a very professional and thrilling contest to join. Look for it next summer!


Amy Atwell said...


Thanks for posting this. Comments, whether they're from a judge, a critique partner or a professional editor, are always subjective. It's fascinating to compare what different readers say about your work.

Jennifer said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing one of your contest experiences with us. I always take what I find helpful/positive and forget the rest. I've found that I can even find something I can use in a bad evaluation. It all depends on how you look at things. :) Good luck with your future entries!

Maggie said...

Hi Amber, I'm really glad your experience with the Golden Rose was a good one. Rose City Romance Writer's is my chapter and we do try hard to run a good contest--beginning with getting great editors for the final round.

Though you didn't final, do use the comments that resonated with you to improve your manuscript. As so many people loved your characters, I think you have the hardest thing done.

By the way, my favorite craft resource is: "Self-editing for Fiction Writers." It is my bible for checking my manuscripts before I submit. Written by two editors from a major publishing house, it is practical and easy to read and understand. Good luck with future entries and/or a sale in your future.