I wasn't going to do it again this year, I really wasn't. In fact, I'd agreed to be a judge again but had decided not to enter. Better to continue to focus on my current work in progress, right? Of course, that makes sense. So naturally I entered the contest. Again.
This makes the fourth year in a row I've entered the Silicon Valley Romance Writer's Association Gotcha! contest. http://www.svrwa.com/gotcha. I was encouraged by the organizer of the inspiration romance category, because entries are apparently low this year. Meaning, maybe I'll actually have a chance to place?
I have to tell you, what makes this contest so difficult is that the judging is EXTREMELY subjective. I've been frustrated in the past with comments from judge's who tell me that they "don't like this character" because of something that the character has said. There was actually a judging class which I did go through for training, and this was one of the things expressly mentioned. Please do NOT judge an entry by taking things personally. Judge the writing, and not so much the content or characters.
Needless to say, not everyone does this. I use to get offended, and then something amazing happened last year in a category that I judged (you are not allowed, of course, to enter in the same category you're judging). I came across a story that was so well written and so superbly presented that I thought it should win first place. I gave the author my highest marks. Later, when the results came out (I'm obviously not the only judge in this category, we each get about 5 entries to judge) that fantastic story (and I do mean it, this was good stuff!) DIDN'T EVEN PLACE! What???
After this, I realized that I couldn't take offense if I didn't place. Good, VERY good writing, often doesn't place. Why, I have no idea. Subjective, anyone?