QUESTION: “I’ve read my entries two or three times and held off evaluating them until the third reading. I’m having a real problem with one of the submissions. I think the way the heroine acts is totally out of character from the way I think a contemporary woman would act. How do I judge that?” ~Kathy
ANSWER: Judging is always going to be based upon the opinion of the reader. Whether it’s a person who has read a manuscript at its beginning stages or the purchaser. If a characters’ actions are not believable or logical to the reader (in this case the GE Judge), please score appropriately. Make certain that you comment to clarify why you can’t suspend your disbelief. Sometimes (for the author) it may be adding a sentence of why the character isn’t following the logical course. Perhaps the character weighs the option and follows an illogical course. But if the train of thought isn’t on the page, the reader doesn’t understand.
WHERE WOULD THIS CONCERN THE GE SCORE SHEET?
Are the protagonist’s actions and motivations believable? Are the protagonist’s problems faced in a believable manner?
Score the actions appropriately, but leave a comment clarifying why you can’t follow the character’s logic. You may want to refer to actual passages of text in the manuscript. You may want to suggest that the character may chose the illogical course, but the reader needs to follow that train of thought to understand...and believe.
As always, if you have questions relating specifically to an entry, contact GEcoordinator@ntrwa.org.
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Most of the opinions on judging and interpreting the questions’ intent are my own words. I’ve been in the business over 15 years and have spoken to many authors, gathering information. A lot of the time when a question is asked, I go to authors who publish in that genre for advice. Please use your own expertise and experience, but keep our humble interpretations in mind.
~Thanks, Angi Morgan
Contributions and edits by Fenley Grant.
Additional help tips for judging all entries are available through our judge training on the blog.