I’m tough. I’m sassy. I think I’m pretty bad ass.
So how in the heck did I become the Paula Abdul of judges? The delusional, toss my hands up in the air in an act of raising the roof, who, even though the contestant clearly sucks, can STILL find something awesome to praise? When did this happen?
I’m not a Paula! I’m not. I mean it. Don’t look at me like that.
Yet, when D.S. shared with me some statistics she put together based on each of our individual acceptances of the submissions we’ve received to date, I was shocked. The amount of YES’s compared to the NO’s is slightly higher than 50%. Now, I’m not going to tell you which of us is the Simon (not me, apparently) or the Randy (not me either). Let’s just say, Both D.S. and Kacey are pretty tough cookies to crack.
Me, on the other hand, I’m apparently a very loving, fluffy, happy go lucky gal. Dang it!
That is not the type of reputation I strive for—just ask my children. They’d definitely tell you I’m anything but fluffy, and my husband would probably back them up, too.
So what the heck is happening here?
I think, in life, I can be pretty tough, pretty forthright. But when it comes to someone’s craft in which they put their whole heart and soul into, I worry about being as blunt and honest as I probably should. I know, I know. I’m a frickin’ critic. It’s my job. But still.
I’m willing to take a chance. I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt.
Another reason I think I’m more open to saying yes, send additional chapters, is that I try to look at the piece as a whole. The concept of our blog is can you hook us with your first five pages? Sometimes the opening paragraph doesn’t capture me right off the bat (just so you know, an awesome opening line or paragraph will have me drooling), but sometimes it’s the ending of those first pages that have me thinking I’d like to see more. I’m open. I can't help it if I'm curious.
But here’s the problem: this blog is about giving reviews to the best of the best. THE BEST. Not the pretty darn good or even the very well written. We’re looking for THE BEST. And we have a lot of submissions to read. Obviously, I can’t possibly read chapters and chapters of submissions that are simply “just good.” I can’t. I’ll never get anything else done. My own writing career will wither and die if I do.
D.S. and Kacey already have an understanding of that concept. They get it. They know that even though a submission is good, it just might not be good enough. So even though their statistics of YES’s are lower than their NO’s, their standards are high. And in actuality, that’s a pretty good thing.
If you earn a review from us, you can bet your bottom dollar it means something.
Think about it . . . who of the American Idol judges did you most relate too? I bet the judge you liked the very best was Simon and that’s because he told you it just the way it was. He didn’t beat around the bush. If he liked what he heard, you knew it. If he hated it, BOY did you know about that, too.
Nobody liked Paula. I didn’t even like her (except for a good laugh every now and again at her expense, of course). She was such a dunce. Was she on drugs? An alcoholic? Does anyone know? (Just to clarify, I’m not on drugs nor do I drink. I just want you to know when I read your work I’m perfectly sober. Too bad for you. Maybe a sip-sip would increase my acceptance rate to 70%. Sorry. Guess we’ll never know).
Now don’t get me wrong here. D.S. and Kacey are brilliant critics. They may be tough, but I trust their judgment completely and so should you. If you receive their feedback and you’re quick to want to justify yourself and toss their advice aside, please take a moment and think again. They are smart and they are usually right on. They may be tough cookies, but they are brilliantly tough cookies. (Just so you know, they are my critique partners and when they say something doesn’t work in my writing, I go and fix it. That’s how much I trust and value them).
But that doesn’t make me dumb and delusional or a soft cookie either, I want to clarify that too. I’ve said NO to quite a few submissions. And, from now on, unless something really, really speaks to me (the writing is crisp and clean, no spelling or grammar errors, and the plot is sublime) I’m going to have to start becoming more Simon-like. I’m going to be tougher. I am. I mean it.
So, if you think you have what it takes to hook two out of three Hook’ers with your writing, give it a go. Check out our Contact US page for further instructions. But I’m telling you now, it’s not going to be easy to please us.
Because Paula has left the building.
The Reluctant Hook’er