When I was thinking what I would blog about today, I tried to remember some of the things I see in contests and comment on. Since I judge at least four contests a year, (not always the same genre) I see a lot of different writing styles. It's my way of getting even for all the crappy scores I've received.
Just kidding - about the getting even, not the less-than-genius scores I've received. In my case, I usually got at least one judge who thought I was the next Evanovich and one who advised me to keep my day job. I've been told it was because I had a strong voice - a politically correct way of saying some love me, some would rather see me back in a nurse's uniform.
So, I try to really be tolerant when I judge an entry. There's a way of pointing out an error and giving a suggestion on how to fix it without shattering the person's self esteem in the process. Sometimes, the only good thing I could say about the writing is that they handled POV well, but at least, it's something positive. In today's economy, people are entering fewer contests, so I try to give them the best bang for their buck
But there's one thing I never let go unnoticed when I see it in an entry.
Nothing gets my blood boiling faster when I'm watching TV or reading a story than having a person with access to the public putting out their political and/or religious views like it was bible (pun intended.) I don't care if you're a Democrat, a Republican or like me, somewhere in between, or if you practice Buddhism or Catholicism. I gave up my time and money to be entertained - so entertain me. If I wanted politics, I'd watch one of the news channels.
Stereo-typing is something else I see sometimes in contests - another no no. I try to remind the writer as gently as I can how many people their words may offend on so many difference levels. And in my opinion, (it's my post, you have to listen. Your opinions will come in the comments.) if even one person refuses to buy your book because of something you wrote, that's one too many. And what we may not realize is that there are readers as well as other writers who buy a lot of books out there reading our Facebook entries and Tweets. I can think of one really big name author, a favorite of mine, who will no longer get the price of her next novel out of me because of exactly what I'm talking about. A certain recording artist also got nixed from my "have to have" list. I know I'm only one person, but I have to think if it made me mad, chances are it affected a few others the same way.
So, every one of us needs to be more aware of making sure there is nothing in our stories that could offend anyone. I use a lot of "Bubbas" as villains. Usually, they're comic relief. I think I'm okay with that because nobody really thinks he's a "Bubba", or as Jeff Foxworthy says - "You're a redneck IF...."
Enough serious stuff. It's time to add a little humor to the subject. I confess to receiving these over the Internet and have no idea whom to credit.
To be politically correct, remember:
She isn't a BABE or a CHICK. She's a breasted American.
She isn't EASY. She's horizontally accessible.
She's not a DUMB BLOND - She's a light-haired detour off the Information Superhighway.
And my personal favorite:
That's not his Line of Demarcation hanging out of the back of his pants. It's rear cleavage.
Come on, people, you know you're smiling. Now comment on being politically correct in general or any good ones to add to my list.