A few days after I learned I'd placed third in the ACFW Genesis contest, the judges score sheets showed up in my email, compliments of Camy Tang, the contest coordinator (thank you, Camy, for answering about a dozen questions from me over past few months, and all your hard work). The judges for this final round, in the Historical category, were editors from two major Christian publishing houses. I'm particularly glad of that, because they had a lot to stay about Kindred. Long story short, it still needs a lot of self-editing.
A lot. But I knew that. I did. So I read all the comments (which were anonymous, I can't say which comments were from which editor), and saw that my two overall scores were right around the average mark, one a little above, one a little below. Some elements scored quite high. It seems I have a good command of language, grammar and punctuation, a distinct and unique voice, I show rather than tell, and have a handle on setting. Conflict is good, each character is distinct.
On the negative side, I'm trying to be too literary (although I have a hard time knowing what to do with this crit, since I don't read literary works--to the best of my knowledge--and wouldn't know how to try to be literary any more than I know how to stop trying). The main criticism is that the manuscript is still (still!) heavily overwritten. This after my editing a novel's worth (71,000 words) out of it.
After the first crestfall of receiving the negative comments, I realized that what I was feeling was gratitude... and determination. Being overwritten is not the worst thing in the world, in my book *smile*. Given time away from the manuscript to gain objectivity, I can slash and burn with the best of them. I did it once. I can do it again.
But not yet. I'm still working on the final section. My goal is to have it complete by October 30. It's progressing well, and so that's not an Impossible Goal.
Discipline is one day at a time. Bum glue. Blinders to shut out distractions. It's telling that I've spent more time in recent weeks at the computer in that my back and neck are sore almost all the time now.
Working on that posture. No slumping!