We are taught these days not to judge others and that is good. So on, Monday night, it seemed rather strange to be given the title 'Judge' and asked to judge other writers work. Myself, the winner of last years Fiction Slam, Stacy Sampson, and Gavin Extence, author or 'The Universe Versus Alex Woods', were judges in the Fiction Slam. The event was held at Bank St Arts Centre and was part of the Off The Shelf festival.
The first round was relativily easy. All the contestants pitched their novel and everyone in the room got to vote for six authors. The top six authors selected then had to read from their work, and the judges were asked to pass comment, indicating the positives and the negatives and to give a score out of ten.
This part was really hard. It somehow didn't seem right to be judging someone else's work, especially in front of a room full of people. And yet this is the real world. I look back at some of the swingeing comments I recieved when I had my work critiqued and how I was cut to the quick. Did I learn from the experience? Did it make me tougher? Am I glad it happende? Yes, yes and yes.
I think all three of us tried to be gentle and honest. I hope this came across.