Hello, lovely #SonOfAPitch participants! I’m so incredibly happy and proud to be included as a judge in this contest. Writing competitions have helped me so much. I’ve gotten more than one contract offer through pitch parties like #PitMad, and the amount of advice, confidence, and support I’ve gotten in other contests like #PitchWars and #Pit2Pub, not to mention the invaluable critique partners I’ve met in the feeds, have made it possible for me to be where I am today. The opportunity to pay it forward a little bit has more significance for me than I have the skill to describe, but perhaps with help from these lovely online writing communities, I’ll gain that skill someday 🙂
That being said, being a judge is just as difficult for me as judges and mentors in other contests have always said, in all those tweets I’ve hung upon and over-analyzed trying to discern whether they referred to my manuscript. It’s so cool to read all your entries, to have a small window into your brilliant and imaginative stories. And it’s doubly cool to see how the critiques some of you got in the first round have helped to sharpen and refine your pitches and beginnings. The ability to gracefully and skillfully accept and apply critique advice is a huge part of the craft of writing…and one of the hardest parts.
It’s SO cool to read your entries that, even though I’ve just gotten started, I can already tell that I’m going to have trouble choosing which entries to vote for…since I already have more than five on my list.
The wonderful Katie Teller has said that participants may try to sway the judges. Since I need some swaying, I thought I’d give you an idea of how to do that in my case.
Now, I’m not going to say that I don’t like interacting with y’all on the feed, because that’s one of my favorite parts of this contest. I’ve talked to some really nice, smart, interesting, and funny people, and the kindness you’ve shown me has been doubly nice, because of some stuff that’s gone down in my life this last week. I would like to think that people would want to talk to me whether I was a judge or not, though 🙂 And, of course, I can’t just vote for people because they’re nice, because I don’t have enough votes to vote for all of you.
Similarly, even though I really hope you all like my writing enough to follow my blog and/or buy my book, it’d be pretty damned cheesy for me to vote for people just because they did. Gah. Even just thinking about doing that gave me the shudders.
So, what would help me make my decision is if you would tell me about the diversity in the manuscript you submitted. If there isn’t any (and it’s not a deal-breaker for me if there’s not – diversity is important to me, but plenty of my favorite books aren’t particularly diverse), then tell me about a diverse character you’ve written about in another manuscript, or plan on writing about someday. Alternatively, you can tell me about your own experiences as a diverse person, or about your favorite diverse character in someone else’s novel.
Now, to be clear: to me at least, diversity isn’t just racial, ethnic, or cultural, (although I do really enjoy those types). It can also be socioeconomic, religious, sexual identity, or neurodiversity (that last one you’ll know, if you’ve read many of my other blog posts, is the type that I’m most familiar with). The literary world is replete with books expressing the points of view of middle- or upper-class, straight, neurotypical white people (even a lot of books with diversity seem to be told from this point of view), and I think we’re finally starting to appreciate the immense value in seeing the world from other viewpoints, not just in nonfiction, literary fiction, and “issues” books, but in genre fiction of all types. I love novels that are just great stories that happen to be told from a diverse viewpoint.
I just want to get people thinking about this issue if they aren’t already. Seeing your thoughts on this subject could definitely sway my opinion when I’m teetering with indecision between two manuscripts. And, besides that, if I could ever claim the honor of having spurred someone to explore and write from a diverse viewpoint, or of giving someone encouragement to write about a character that shares their own diverse viewpoint (even though the writer may feel, like I do, that their own diverse viewpoint is pretty darned unpopular)…well, I’d be frigging happy as heck about that.
You can tweet your thoughts on this subject to me directly (I’m @Lidsrodney), with or without the #SonOfAPitch hashtag; or, if your thoughts don’t fit in 140 characters, you can leave a comment on this post. If you don’t want to post your thoughts publically, you can DM me on Twitter or email me (you can find my email on the “about” page on this blog).
Thank you all for participating, for reading, and for all your wonderful stories and thoughts. And good luck to each and every one of you in your writing careers.