Several people have asked how the short story contest is coming and when the winners will be announced. Peggy Nolan was the latest to ask. See link below.
The judges have been submitting their decisions and comments - with just a few left to come in. On Monday, I'll email the two winners, published writers and unpublished. Before I announce the winners, I will introduce the judges. They have done a fantastic job and all have taken the duty quite seriously. I'm very proud to know each of them and honored that they agreed to judge for 'us' considering how busy they are. I haven't done the final tally of the scores, so at this moment, even I don't know who the winners are.
The judges have each said they enjoyed reading the entries and there was a nice mix of genre and some very original works. There is a consensus that all of the works could have used just a bit more work on them, some needing polishing and some just a bit more of this or that.
I will compile all the comments, good, bad, and ugly for each writer as a bit of feedback with the spirit of assistance the judges unanimously sent.
The odd thing is that each story has received the lowest rank by one or another judge and one of the two highest scores by other judges - proving, once again, this is a subjective business. They commented on the strong and weak points and I think that information will be helpful to each writer. These comments will be combined in one email per writer.
Not everyone can win (I couldn't afford the prize money) but I thought each piece has some very strong points to them, as well as areas that need work. Do not use any less than flattering comments as an excuse to get discouraged. This is a fantastic opportunity to see what a sampling of industry professionals thought of the works.
One thing I noticed was that we need to be more mindful of the global audience. I found in reading the comments there were times when the non-American judges didn't get the nuances of the American pieces and vise versa with the American judges not quite getting the non-American pieces. When it comes to marketability of our works, something agents and publishers look at, we need to reach the widest audiences possible while still finding a balance with our native voice.
Not that I'm the perfect example to follow, but look at the comments about Kathryn's Beach from my Egyptian friend, Asmaa Kadry, "... I enjoyed the part describing her beach and the ocean, lovely! Love of the sea is in my blood! I felt I was on the beach in Alexandria, Egypt's first harbor, and I swear I almost smelled it and felt its breeze touching my face!" To read the full comment, go here: http://nadinelamanbooks.com/reviews.html
Peggy Nolan: http://serendipitysmiles.com/
Asmaa Kadry: http://tulipebookshop.tulipbook.com/6.html