Sunday, October 7, 2012
What the Judges Are Thinking: Week 3
None of us are walking around pretending to be perfect. We were all offered an opportunity to judge for different reasons, and we agreed to volunteer. We all take our job seriously. Our criticisms are honest, well-thought out, and meant to be helpful. They are also our opinions. Take them or leave them, but we are trying to help you improve your writing, and make your blog more successful. One other thing: we are all human. We all make grammatical errors, have misplaced punctuation, and commit the sin of run-on sentences on our blogs. Sometimes - God forbid - we are so busy that we publish a blog with errors in it. We get over it and so should you.
We are not the ones who offered our writing to be judged. Last year, I was one of you. I made sure my posts were perfect grammatically and judged on their content alone. There were weeks I wanted to jump through my computer screen and slap a judge in the face based on their comments. When I disagreed, I thanked them for their insight, blew it off, and moved on. When I felt it was constructive I took it to heart. I am still improving as a writer and blogger.
Until you have been a judge, don't judge. And don't expect the judges to feel the need to defend themselves. Like I said, we're volunteering. And trying to help. Take it or leave it. We are only here to offer our opinions, and tell you what we like to see. Just like that one guy on American Idol that helps the contestants each week... sometimes they take his advice, and biff it that week, sometimes they don't take it, and knock it out of the park. And sure, it's hard to know what to do when two judges are talking about the same thing, and one says they liked it, and one said they didn't. Again, it's up to you to experiment, and decide what fits YOU better!
And with that, here are this week's judges:
Jodi from Freetail Therapy has quite the reputation as a Grammar Nazi. You should be scared. I'm scared and I'm not even in the contest. "I hate people," she says. "I don't read blogs, and I don't care what you think." Ouch. Mean, I tell ya. This is the woman who tore apart MY blog design during this year's auditions. (Uh, I'm a judge, lady. Not a contestant.) And when I shared a preview of my redesign, she tore that apart too. But enough about me. There might actually be a soft side to Jodi. "Talk about zombies and porn and you get bonus points," she says. "Triple bonus points if you use both in the same sentence." Have at it.
Lisha, The Lucky Mom, says she's not a full-fledged Grammar Nazi, but basic mechanical mistakes make her crazy. "A comma violation, here and there, is okay," she says. " But there, they’re, and there are different words. As are your and you’re. Use the right one, please." Seems fair to me. She also wants you to watch the word count. "If it's too long, it had better be good. Otherwise you’re wasting my time." Tough to argue with that.
Next we have Mary from I Need a Play Date. She might be the toughest judge to read. "I read these drunk," she admits."So it really won't matter to me if someone is gonna do something or going to." Seems laid back, but she also says she doesn't want you referring to yourself in the third person.
Karin from Pinwheels and Poppies is looking for something that stands out. "I want to be wowed with your wordsmithiness, awed by your ability to evoke an emotional response, and dazzled by your natural charm and wit," she says. "Oh, and sexy talk. Mama likes the sexy talk." That is all.
Then we have Roni, The Mommy-In-Law. She, as you might have guessed, is a mom and a lawyer. She reads legal briefs all day. So, you better wow her. "If they bore me," she says. "They're doomed." You have three sentences to grab her attention. Thats it. "After that," she says "My eyes glaze over. Also, if you can't find the time to proofread your own stuff, why should I waste my time reading it?"
Last but not least is this week's guest judge, Laurie from the wildly popular page among writers, Conversate is not a word and other abuses of the English language. She's not a Grammar Nazi. She's a librarian. "Many times I find that bloggers get carried away in writing long pieces; however, they are usually not interesting enough to keep my attention past the one page mark. I feel that many bloggers need to learn the art of being concise." And that's all she had to say.
As for the DKL tip of the week: I was concerned with this assignment last year. I thought our post was too long. We couldn't decide what to cut out. I think it's hard to decide when you're working with someone else and you don't want to hurt each other's feelings. It sounds like a little leeway may be given this week, due to the topic. But if you finish your post and read it and think it's too long, it probably is. Cut one paragraph each.
As for all of the Grammar Nazis, all I can says is: take your time. Read your posts out loud. Have your significant other read it. Then have someone who could care less read it. It works.
Until next week, may the odds, the judges, and the votes, be ever in your favor.
**My thanks to April from Wildflowers and Whimsy, who contributed a lot to the first part of this post.
at 10:39 PM