Monday, January 25, 2010

Shining Through

Well, I've held those precious Golden Heart manuscripts in my hands. I both skimmed them and spent hours pouring over them, even pulled my dictionary from the shelf and learned a new word or two. It is an honor and a privilege to do so. As an active member of RWA, I consider it an obligation.

But more than anything, it's fun!

Oh, dear. I have to spend hours upon hours reading romance stories? Poor, poor me. Such a hardship. :)

The first time volunteered to judge, I did so with my heart in my throat. Who was I to pass judgment over a stranger's hopes and dreams? Had I not picked up many a bestseller, only to abandon the story by chapter three in sheer boredom? Therefore, would it not stand to reason that I was a really very poor judge of what could be deemed quality genre fiction?

But I did it anyway.

Oh, what I learned! I should have been paying those contestants; it was as good as any class. To hold the manuscript in my hands--yes, I think reading the printed pages made a difference, lesson one for me--
and watch the story unfold before my eyes, taught me so much about my own work. Each year I judge these, I learn something new. Pacing, opening sentences, chapter breaks, voice, grammar, characterization, secondary characters, setting--synopsis!--and what qualifies as a romance....

Do you judge? And if you judge the GH, what do you think of the "score only, no comments" rule?