I was on vacation at the time, so it’s taken me longer to get to my own score sheets and to my responses to the judges comments.
I was not a finalist, sadly. The bar was incredibly high this year. The highest possible score a person could get was 165 and to be a finalist, you needed an average score of over 156.
Yeah, you read the correctly. Over 156.
My average score was a 125. Boo.
The contest is pretty cool. The first round judges are all published. FIRST ROUND. ALL PUBLISHED. So the feedback is pretty great, even if you don’t get to the next level. It also allows for a lot more pages than other contests- a total of 55 pages, including a synopsis of no more than 6 pages- which means the judges get a much stronger feel for your world, your characters and your story.
My scores were pretty interesting.
As a refresher, First Lady and the Dead Presidents is technically women’s fiction. It has romantic elements but it is not a romance, per se. My heroine, McKinley, is forced to return home toOhio from her TV writing job in LA to deal with the death of her estranged father. She thinks that she can just fly in, bury him, and get out. But some insane sisters, a booby trapped will and a hunky bartender/electrician with dreamy eyes make an easy escape not an option. Can she get back to her life and, more to the point, does she even want to?
The story is not a strict romance. I want the focus to be more on the family story, as opposed to the romance, so I would classify this as women’s fiction as opposed to romance. The story is in first person and is a present tense novel. (I would like to point out that while one judge did not like the first person, not a single one mentioned the present tense.)
So, here we go: