Criticism… or PRAISE??

As y’all may know, Odin’s End has enjoyed reasonable success in its contests. And I’m inordinately, pathetically grateful to the many folks who have taken the time to act as contest judges. Now that I’ve judged a contest myself, I know how time-consuming a quality judging effort can be.

But I think few people (entrants or judges) talk about the mind-blowing contradictions contest results can contain. I subscribe to David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants  (which, if you don’t subscribe, click the link and get on this bandwagon). David has recently written a series on criticism – specifically, how to evaluate it and maximize its utility.
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The bottom line? Whether criticism or praise, use it as best you can to improve your story.
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So – here are some of the comments from judges of Odin’s End. Note the contradictory nature… and be afraid. Or not.
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Here goes:
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One judge: “First person POV is extremely difficult to sell in the romance category, so I would seriously reconsider this. The plot felt fairly contrived to me and I had a hard time getting into the world of the time period.” (Dawna’s note: Interestingly, Odin’s End was entered in the mainstream – not romance – category of this particular contest.)
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Another judge: “I must confess, I don’t read historical novels. What impressed me the most was how skillfully you used words from that era in such a way that I understood what the heck was going on.”
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Yet another: “It grabbed my interest and never let go. Your characters are multifaceted and sympathetic, and your pacing is on target.”
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But another? “The pacing was extremely slow. Readers want to see action in the story, not just hear about it.”
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The bottom line? As author, I’ve got some decisions to make. Which critiques do I accept? Which do I dismiss? Questions I ask myself daily as I complete Odin’s End and begin work on its revisions.
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And is the criticism harder to take? Or the praise? Often it seems like it’s neither one – but the contradiction between the two – that’s the greatest challenge of all.
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