VirgilY wrote:The rating category that mystifies me is, "How publishable is this entry for its target audience?"
I lean toward that meaning publishable in a FaithWriters anthology. Although, as stated, the category does not say that. I am satisfied that explains why some submissions do not fare well.
Any clarification would be helpful.
Virgil, that's not actually the case. We consider how publishable the piece is for it's target audience generally (which, at FaithWriters, should be either Christian readers, Seekers or just wholesome content generally. This is based on the rules about entries not needing to quote chapter and verse, but must reflect a Christian view). Most material fits into that category for the Challenge.
Fresh angles and creativity will usually lead to a publishable entry.
I haven't had time to read this whole thread, but again, creativity ranks high (provided it doesn't go so far out of the box that everyone is left wondering what the author was inhaling when they wrote it). When the judges read every entry, every single week, believe me, the creative ones leap out at them in a big way.
Also, and this is a BIG thing (not directed at anyone specifically), watch your endings. One of the most common problems is a flat ending. Sometimes the entry goes a sentence or paragraph too far. Sometimes it doesn't go far enough. I've lost track of the number of times judges have written things like: "This was so good ... and then THUD." You have no idea how disappointing it is when that happens.
To all those who are feeling a little discouraged, I do understand. I've said so many times that the Challenge can be a double edged sword. It cuts both ways. People who press on and keep honing their skills do usually end up improving and doing better.
I smiled when Phee posted her comment. She stands out in my mind as someone who had a big breakthrough very quickly. She received a ratings feedback critique with lots of input from me on that particular entry, and the next week she placed (possibly 1st) with her next entry.
As for comments on Challenge entries, it is so hard to get the balance. This has been a complaint since the start of the Challenge, and there really isn't anything we can do about it at FaithWriters. Even the kindest critique has been known to be taken the wrong way, and that ends up hurting the critiquer as much as the critiquee.
The problem is that people aren't all wanting to get critique. They just aren't ready for it. But for the person leaving feedback, they don't know who wants it and who doesn't.
I've always suggested leaving a comment at the bottom of your entry saying that red ink would be appreciated (or mention that when throwing a brick). That way, people leaving feedback will feel confident to be honest.
We get cycles of feedback here. People get fed up of the very watered down pats on the back (because they see the same sort of thing mentioned on every entry, regardless of ability, which ends up undervaluing the feedback completely). When they start saying they want meatier feedback, and people start leaving it, people seem to be happy with it for a little while, until someone has a major reaction against it. Then everyone pulls back (understandably ... we aren't masochists or sadists). And so the cycle continues, on and on and on. (I've been here from the start and have lost track of how often this has happened.)
So don't be discouraged if your entry doesn't seem to be getting recognition. If you can afford $13.50 (AU) invest in a ratings feedback report. If not, my best advice is to read lots and lots and lots of Challenge entries. Take time with each one and really evaluate why it does or doesn't work (in your opinion). When you take the time to do that, with lots and lots and lots of entries and articles at FaithWriters, it helps hone skills. We glean from one another.
Someone was a bit upset a little while ago because they weren't doing all that well in the Challenge. I cringed at the time because I knew they had ranked in the EC for that week (which hadn't been announced at that time). The problem I immediately thought was that they would think we'd given them a pity prize, but that wasn't the case (and they placed the week after that as well--again, very much on their entry's merits).