Today I received an email with score sheets from the Final Round judges in the 2010 ACFW Genesis Contest, for my novel, The Quiet in the Land (aka Willa). After being so nervous about attending the awards banquet, and having such a great time at the conference and my surrounding days spent visiting with friends and touring 18th century houses in KY and TN... I completely forgot that this feedback was still to come.
In case you aren't familiar with the contest, back in late winter I submitted the first 15 pages and a synopsis of The Quiet in the Land, which went through a first round of judging. After finaling in that round, the top five entries were again judged by another panel, and the winner and runner up announced at the banquet on September 19th, at the conference in Indianapolis. Some photos of that event in this post.
While I'm thankful to have placed in my category (historical), I'm just as thrilled to get this feedback. As in the first round the feedback felt right on target. The one thing at least two of the judges, if not all three, had to say was that the opening chapter was heavy on narrative and could use some trimming in spots. This is no surprise to me. In fact it's good news. It means I don't have to panic about my word count, which has edged just up over 100k now, though I still have at least seven chapters to write.
Unlike many writers who write spare out of the gate, I write long, sprawling, overwritten first drafts. Then, when I can see the story for the words, and it's much more clear which of those words serve the story and which don't, I cut and trim and shape. It's taken a long time to learn that I simply work that way, and it's okay. I might have to put in more hours at it, but the job gets done.
I hope the other finalists have found this second round of feedback helpful and encouraging. God bless each of you as you press onward with your writing, vision, and dreams. I'm thinking of you (running down the list and seeing many names I know, many I've yet to meet), and praying for you today.
The list of the 2010 ACFW Genesis Contest Finalists
And the 2010 ACFW Genesis Contest Winners