August 19, 2010 1 Comment
I’m currently working as a coordinator in a writer contest. This means I am often scanning and adding data to a large spreadsheet; all kinds of text, numbers and email links. I also have lots of folders in my email account, suddenly full of emails with numerous attached files received and sent.
I’m duplicating a lot of tasks – resending lots of emails and files – probably because one of the cyberspace big brothers has noticed increased activity on a rather quiet email account. Could it be spam? A virus? Some automated porno files from a country no one can find on a globe? (The e-world is very ethereal and there are lots of auto-code police on the job!)
Nope, no porno pics or text, no requests for large sums of money, just me, trying to get a bunch of files created by wanna-be romance authors to a lot of category judges, who will read them. Judges then fill out and complete automated score sheets and filter the whole process back through me. It’s a challenge – but I’m just doing a small part, one category, not the whole contest. I’m only dealing with 20 entries and 60 score sheets from contest judges. It’s really too much to explain – unless you’re a writer who enters contests and even then you don’t get the bigger picture until you’ve entered many contests, or been a judge, or coordinated, or… I’ve done it for seven years now…
I’m explaining things, many times, to different people. I’m shuffling all kinds of data and text from file to post, changing formats, filling electronic forms.
For me, it’s fun! I’m also reading pages upon pages of stories, only the beginnings, sometimes with an attached synopsis.
This is where the bonus is for me. The payback for the weeks of volunteer work.
I love reading stories others are trying to create and hearing new voices in my head through words on a page – is awesome! I’m deep enough into what was my hobby – where it is now a passion. Decades of delight in story, combined with thousands of hours researching my craft, and millions of words typed on a page, have made me a psychic judge for wanna-be novelists. Some will thrive with my advice and others will crumble into a ditch.
I can see/feel/read where these authors are on their journey. I can advise where the author could enhance the story by a dedication to certain areas of the craft of storytelling, or the mechanics of writing. Then I can close the file and move on to the next story.
Every story matters, what it becomes depends on the dedication of the author.