Friday, June 10, 2011

Constructive Criticism: Judges Feedback

So a couple days ago I went to my email inbox and saw something from the Frasier contest. Cool. I opened it and was glad to see they'd sent me the judge's feedback. All in all I had the input of four judges and each had their own page, word document. Of course the first page I opened happened to be the harshest, because that's how life can be. But, no, it was like tearing the band-aid from a hairy arm and I'm glad the first was the worst.

I went on to read the three others' and the smile on my face continued to grow. One of the judges stated that it was gripping and rated it as ready for publication which gave me hope.

I loved the constructive criticism I received too; there was one piece of advice in particular that I found helpful and I wanted to share it with my blog friends. Now, know that this isn't the easiest thing for me to do. I'm sharing my manuscript weakness' for all to read and that in itself scares me a little. But the advice is so helpful that I can't not share it! So, with a deep gulp, here it is:  

"Phrases like I saw, I noticed, etc signifies telling. For example:
I noticed the older passengers helping the younger ones.
To make the sentence more active, just say Older passengers helped younger ones. Or you could be more specific and show one passenger help a younger passenger with a specific activity.
Showing and active sentences create a much stronger, powerful scene."

Now, I've heard it a thousand times, "show not tell!", and I've tried to do just that, but this judge actually gave me an example which brought it to a whole new level. I will definitely be hunting for those hints of telling rather than showing and eradicating them pronto!
As I re-read the feedback over and over again, I'll continue to post the advice I find particularly helpful. In the meantime, what are your thoughts on this judges show not tell advice?  



  1. Rachel,
    Reading the words "ready for publication" must have been a huge thrill - congrats! As for the constructive criticism you received... Thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing it with your fellow writers! It is EXTREMELY helpful to me. I'm self-editing my first novel at the moment, and I will be keeping an eye out for these examples of showing, not telling. This helps me a lot! :)

  2. I'm so glad it helped! I'll have to post more "tips" I received from the judges.

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