I am a judge for the Susannah Awards. Its a contest for published and unpublished writers to participate in. I specifically judge the unpublished writers. What they do is send in a portion of their finished novel along with a synopsis. The winner of the unpublished portion goes on to the next part-the finalists. There are about two parts. The first is where I participate. And the second is with a panel of six judges and they pick the winner.
Applicants send in their submissions and get notified if they are accepted. We then get the story and have until November 15th to read all submissions. This year I had four submissions to judge.
Our score sheet looks like this:
ENTRY TITLE __ _____________________________________
JUDGE # _ __ ENTRY# _____ ENTRY SCORE ________ (max score: 230)
• Feel free to write comments on the manuscript and on the scoresheet.
• Please score each item on a 1-10 scale where:
10=Excellent 5=Acceptable 1=Ineffective or missing altogether
• Use whole numbers only.
• For any score of two or lower, please explain.
• Please double check your addition.
MECHANICS: subtotal ______ _ (min 2:max 20)
_____ The basics (spelling, grammar, punctuation, paragraph indents, etc.) are generally correct in this entry.
_____ The entry has a neat, professional, easy to read appearance.
(NOTE: Do not count off for font or for use of italics rather than underlining. All formatting has been checked and approved.)
CHARACTERS: subtotal ______ (min 5: max 50)
_____ The actions and reactions of all the characters seem appropriate and believably motivated.
_____ The primary characters are interesting, multidimensional and believable.
_____ The secondary characters serve a necessary purpose to the story
_____ In the opening scene, you can easily recognize who the hero or heroine of the story will be.
_____ There is believable attraction/chemistry/interaction between the hero and heroine, either in the manuscript sample or in the synopsis.
SETTING: subtotal ______ (min 2: max20)
_____ There is a clear sense of setting and time.
_____ The world-building elements (climate, geography, history, technology, fantasy, etc.) are introduced in a believable and non-jarring manner.
PACING: subtotal______ (min 3: max30)
_____ The action flows with a smooth, natural feel and a sense of immediacy.
_____ The backstory/background/set-up information is woven in without slowing the story unduly.
_____ The pacing fits the story/genre.
DIALOGUE subtotal_______(min 2: max 20)
_____ The dialogue sounds natural and realistic for the time period and setting.
_____ Each character has an individual voice that reveals his/her character traits.
STORY TELLING: subtotal ______ (min 3 : max30)
_____ The writing is smooth, fresh and interesting, rather than sounding forced or clichéd.
_____ The author skillfully plants the seeds that drive the story forward.
_____ The story convinces you to suspend disbelief so that you believe the story happenings are credible for the setting.
OVERALL APPEAL: subtotal ______ (min 2: max 20)
_____ This entry grabbed your interest enough to make you want to read more.
_____ If this were a published work, you would enthusiastically recommend it to anyone who liked this genre.
SYNOPSIS: subtotal______ (min 4: max 40)
(PLEASE ANSWER THE QUESTIONS BELOW BASED ON THE SYNOPSIS RATHER THAN THE MANUSCRIPT)
_____ The main plot/storyline are easy to follow.
_____ The romance and the main external plots are well integrated.
_____ The character growth/arcs are clearly depicted for both hero and heroine.
_____ All conflicts are satisfactorily resolved or explained and the Happily-Ever-After ending is apparent.
What area/element of this story do you feel needs additional work?
What area/element of this story did you particularly like?
Published Author/ RWA® PAN Librarian/Bookseller
Signature (Optional) ___________________________________________
Contest Staff Only
Verify score total ___________ENTER TOTAL HERE
I have personally re-added and checked the score total _______INITIAL HERE
with our written comments. Some people will e-mail you for clarification.
I also participated in the Daphne Awards. That contest is specifically for mystery authors. That is the genre I am writing. My novel is going. Working on it for a while off and on through work and unemployment. And starting in December full time.
So what I’m saying guys is if you are a new writer, a recently published author or an old pro, participate in writing groups, critique groups, writing chatrooms and blogs. Utilize your facebook account, twitter account, email (note: I have heard its good to have a paid email account. You have complete control over whats in and out of your account. My goal-paid account in 2012 (2013), social media other than those two, linkedin, a google account and a youtube account. Using each of these as a platform for your telling people about you and your career is good.
Also, take classes for your genre some people even offer classes, to you as well. If you are looking to make your brand stronger. you can take Audrey Shaffer’s class. She can be found at http://www.writerschatroom.com. Another thing to help your writing is the website http://www.womenofmystery.com.
Learn what your technology level is why and what is that? How much do you know about the current programs out there for your career and the type of computer you use. Are you the type for a cellular phone, blackberry or a droid. These all tell you the type of person yo are technologically, and how you may write. These few things will help you on your career journey. I guess that’s what I’m saying to you today.
P.S. Excuse the lateness of the post. I was unwell this week.