Monday, June 23, 2008

Critiques-Live and Learn

As you may remember, I entered a literary contest several months ago. Well the bad news is I didn't win. The badder news (no wonder I didn't win-with grammar like that!) is that I didn't even place. OK, I get that there were more than 1,000 entries from all over the world. Stiff competition, and all that.

I am an optimist. I expect good things to happen or in this win. Good or bad, that's just the way I think. I know that some people (in my family even) do the exact opposite. They always expect the worst and when something great happens they are surprised. I just can't think that way-I just can't. I think it's genetic or something. Anyway-so I was disappointed that I didn't even place in the category of memoir.

Then a few days ago I received the critiques. For this particular contest, there was an entry fee. And regardless of whether you win or not, you get two written critiques of your work. Each critique consisted of seven questions and the judges answers.

Here is a sampling of the comments;

"Beautiful! What a gift to your family and most importantly, to your Dad. The hook at the beginning of Chapter 1 is very compelling. This is an unbelievable treasure. You have taken a fantastic piece of history and made it come alive for one veteran who was like thousands of veterans."

"Excellent choice of words paints your background and setting...Your curiosity is powerful suspense."

"This untold story has its own mirror with those returning from war today. The lessons of your father's generation need to be taught."

Dang. Those are some darned good critiques. Those judges are very smart and full of wisdom (haha). But here's a question for you (my blog readers); if it was so great, why am I sitting here with two nice critiques and no "congratulations, you are a finalist" letter?

I'm not saying that there wasn't any constructive criticism within the critiques-there was. But it was about 90% positive to 10% critical. I am letting the critiques merinade at this point. As with almost everything for me, it needs time to sit. Then I'll make decisions. Maybe I'll change things. Maybe I won't. But for now, I am encouraged...I think. ~Karen


Linda Austin said...

Congratulations on the good critiques! I was disappointed recently that my book didn't place in the IPPY Awards memoir category. Unfortunately, no critiques included in the entry fee. Is your book available to the public?

Kim said...

Congrats on great comments!

Maybe yours was so wonderfully awesome that they wanted to give some other folks a chance?


Karen L. Alaniz said...

Linda- Do you mean is it published? No it isn't. I plan to post a bit of it very soon though if that helps. Sorry about the IPPY awards. I guess any feedback is better than no feedback, as long at it's honest.

Kim- LOL. I'm sure you're right. I mean, what would those poor souls do if they knew how truly great I am. Ha! Gotta keep a sense of humor in this biz. ~Karen

Jim Dwyer said...


I enjoy reading about your committment to documenting your family's story.