I submitted a piece to a contest recently, and even though I didn't win anything, I learned a lot from the experience. The judges provided in-depth feedback according to a point by point scoring system: hook, scene, character, plot, voice, technique, etc.--5 for excellent, 1 for not so much...
You can imagine my elation when I read through the first critique and received glowing remarks. "Great hook--5." "I was drawn right in--5." "Interesting premise--5." "Love your protagonist--5." "Can't wait to read more."
I could hardly contain my enthusiasm!
Then...I went on to the second critique. "There is no hook here at all--1." "I have no sense of where you are going with this--2." "Your protagonist is unlikeable--1." And on and on it went.
I'm thinking, "Did they read the same piece? There must be some mistake!"
In an instant, I felt like a
How does this happen??
What am I supposed to learn from this? I have decided that:
- You can't please everyone.
- The so-called "rules" of writing only get you so far.
- Just as a writer can have a bad day, so can a reader.
- You have to keep sending things out. Somewhere...someday...you'll run into someone who thinks just like you do. Hopefully, it will be a judge or an agent!
"Do the best you can
until you know better.
Then, when you know better,