Several weeks ago, I received an invitation to participate as a panel judge in a one-page critique “challenge” for the CPRW (Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers). Delighted, I accepted and prepared myself.
So this past Saturday morning, when I showed up for my assignment, I got quite the mental workout. When I’ve critiqued other writers’ works in the past, I had the benefit of reading it myself. But this exercise involved intense, active listening.
As a moderator read the first page of an anonymous author’s work, the panel gave feedback. All without the benefit of a title, or clue about who submitted the work.
I admit, I was nervous going into this adventure, and it proved even harder than I anticipated. But I learned so much listening and concentrating on these novel beginnings. It reminded me that at heart, all writers are storytellers first, whatever the genre. I also learned romance writing has many faces; some stories scared me, some made me laugh, and a couple of them left me scratching my head in confusion.
Thank you to CPRW for the experience! I enjoyed the seven story beginnings I had the honor to judge. Perhaps, more importantly, all of them made me want to read more for myself. And as writers (and readers), we can’t ask for much more.