Thursday, July 9, 2009

PNWA 2009 Literary Contest Feedback

I finally received my official feedback for my entries in the Pacific Northwest Writer's Association's (PNWA's) Literary Contest. This year PNWA initiated a new critique procedure where entries are given a numeric score up to 100 points.

Entries can accumulate 10 points within each of the following technical categories: Plot, Viewpoint, Characterization, Pacing and Mechanics. While 25 points can be awarded in the two subjective categories: "Did the Story Grab You?" and "Would You Read More?"

How did my works rate?

Let's just say that when it comes to writing horror stories, I'm no Stephen King.

I imagine the two judges looked at my vampire story Sweet Stakes (Adult Short Story Category), with as much skepticism as Grandpa Munster, pictured above.

Judge #1 awarded me a whopping 22 points.

Auu! (Romanian for "Ouch!").

However, he/she attached a nice letter complimenting me on the stories good points. Judge #2 nearly doubled #1's score by awarding me 40 points.

The most common detractors were: "Over-written," "too many adjectives," "redundant sentences" and lack of background material on the protagonist.

So this story is laying in it's coffin until I can figure out how to fix it.


...Rakkasan Recollections (Adult Short Topic Category), about my dad's antics during the Korean War, was something I submitted on a bit of a lark.

(The unit patch pictured above is for the United Nations Partisan Forces-Korea).

I wrote this over four years ago and entered it into a national writing competition. However, I never received a critique. I haven't worked on it since and I was merely looking for some feedback.

While my vampire story had a stake driven through it's heart, Rakkasan Recollections to my surprise, was very well received by the judges (#3 and #4).

Judge #3 gave it an 80! The lowest score was a mere "1" in the Plot category. According to #3, my memoir didn't have one. The other item the judge didn't care for was the use and explanation of all the military acronyms.

And in a "saving the best for last" gesture, Judge #4 awarded me 86 points. I received "9s" and "10s" in all the technical categories, while both judges rated the story high in the subjective areas.

Nor was it the high score alone that made my day. Judge #4 wrote the following comments:

"Good story about men and their wars."

"Good word pictures of the father and his influence on the children." Judge #4 is more correct than he knows. I and two of my siblings made careers out of military service.

Finally, #4 had this to say, "Very publishable--perhaps in Reader's Digest or a military magazine or even in AARP."

Wow, talk about irony. The story I worked on the least earned the most points!

So I'll review Rakassan Recollections and see if I can find an interested editor.

Who knows, mabye someday Sweet Stakes will even arise from the grave...Bwah-ha-ha-ha-hah!

No comments: