Sunday, July 17, 2005

Rare Sunday evening post

My mum just left. She was over for dinner - easier sometimes on Sunday nights when Sean is working early on Monday mornings. He can go to bed early and I can still spend time with my mum. It had cooled off enough out on the deck so we sat out there chatting and watching the storm clouds re-form (though it never did actually rain again) while George the cat slept at our feet :-)

It's been a busy couple of days since my last post. Have spent my spare time judging my contest entries. Realized they're due soon and really need to get them finished so I can concentrate on my ms with a clear conscience. Thank goodness for Sean's laptop - I worked outside on Friday afternoon - it was a beautiful summer day and I was going nuts inside looking at the blue sky from my office window. We went out for dinner, then to a pub - a friend of ours recently reformed his band and they were playing a gig. We went along for support and had a marvy time. Great music, good friends, yummy wine/beer and food. We realized we could take the bus there and back so there were no worries on the driving front. It doesn't take much at all to put me over the legal limit, so I prefer either not to drive or err very much on the side of caution.

Our coffee pot is behaving a little better now - with the old, cracked lid. Have to call Starbucks Warranty people again tomorrow. I LOL over Brenda's misgivings about Sean's messing around with the lid - he's actually VERY good with all kinds of household repairs. Even our nephews say to "ask Uncle Sean", which, consider my brother-in-law is equally handy seems a little surprising, till I remember they're here often enough when my mum says she has to ask Uncle Sean to fix something for her (even before my dad died, Sean had been the official fixer-upper guy for a few years).

Back to judging - it's been an interesting experience. I judged the same contest last year and had a wide variety of entries. This year I judged only a few and it was a little harder, since none were what I would call finalists. Sean can never figure out why I judge as I spend so much time pulling my hair out. Mostly it's because I really want to help the writers but am scared to be completely honest for fear of hurting feelings and having them hate me. I've never yet read an entry that doesn't show promise - often it's just buried beneath a lot of problems so common to beginner writers. How do I know this? Because I was there 10 years ago and recognize so much of my early work in what I'm seeing now. But I also know from experience that it's hard for a lot of writers to separate their writing from themselves.

I only learned to do it after years at university, having profs come down hard on me. Yet I learned. And took heart from those TAs and profs who not only showed me what I was doing wrong, but highlighted what I was doing right and made sure I understood that as well. But I was incredibly lucky to have such supportive people, who also helped me to see that criticism of my work wasn't the same as criticism of me.

What did I actually accomplish with my own ms last week? Two new scenes, which I've now edited as well and layered in as much polish as possible. This is hard for me as I'm so used to bare bones first draft, followed by critique, THEN my own edit and polish. Now I'm squishing it all into a very short time period and don't have time to get critique. OTOH, I'm really happy Adrian and Cecile took to these new scenes right away and made things pretty easy for me. And I added another twist to the story - well, ok, so THEY did *g* - so things make even more sense now.

However, I'm still down to crunch time and must also get ready to leave, pack, worry/obsess/bite my nails over leaving the cat (it's so tempting just to squish him into my carry-on) and make sure all is organized for Reno.

Thanks to everyone who dropped by and commented :-)


Currently Reading: Review Book
Also Currently Reading: The Queen's Man by Terri Brisbin
Link of the Day: Website of Margaret Evans Porter

Currently coming from my speakers: Pride (In the Name of Love) - U2 - Best of 1980-1990 (03:50)


Rene said...

Sounds like you had a nice evening. I've only judged one contest and I only had one entry, so I could spend time on it. It wasn't a bad piece so judging it was fun. Hopefully my comments were helpful. I had to do a two page critique.

Melissa Marsh said...

I've judged the same contest for two years now and I really enjoy it. It also helps me see the problems in my own work.
Only a little over a week and you'll be in Reno! Yay! :-)

Kate Allan said...

Oooo, I met Margaret Evans Porter at the RNA Summer Party - she was over in London so she and Jo Manning came along. Lovely lady.