It was a busy week, but I was able to get the 4H Creative Writing projects in just under the wire. Don't let anyone tell you judging is easy, especially in an area that can be so subjective. If I was a sports judge, I suppose I'd rather be in track and field rather than figure skating, for instance.

What makes it harder is that there are three categories: beginner, intermediate, and why the heck wasn't I that good in high school? You can't judge them by the same standards; it would be like failing a fourth grader because he couldn't do advanced trigonometry, which is maybe a bad example because I never could do advanced trigonometry. I don't even know what it is. I'm still trying to figure out what x equals.

My problem is that I tend to go too easy, out of empathy for how I might have reacted to a harsh comment at that age. (Hint: I had very low self esteem.) But in trying to balance that, I worry about being too hard on the writers. They need to know if they have weak areas to be worked on, but they don't need me turning into that jerk chef on those cooking shows. So I try to be--I don't know--gentle, but guiding. All this stressing myself out is also why I struggle to do book reviews.

In any case, I've never seen a single 4H entry that didn't show potential for great works to come. That's exactly the kind of thing the world needs: imagination, industry, interest, and literacy. Which comes awfully close to the 4H motto of head, hands, heart, and health.

ozma914: mustache Firefly (mustache)
( Jul. 2nd, 2017 09:45 am)

I'm taking a little break from the internet for a week or so (well, to an extent), because I've got 4H entries to judge. To many people I suppose that means judging animals, but 4H also has a creative writing challenge; it turns out they needed an experienced, knowledgeable, creative writer to judge the entries. But they couldn't find one, so for the last few years they've used me.

These are young writers in different categories, ranging from elementary to high school. Some of them are much better than I was at their age ... and some are as good as I am now, which is fine except I have decades of experience over them. It's nice to know there are still young people who take writing seriously!

ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( Jul. 8th, 2014 08:48 am)

While spending two hours waiting for the car to be serviced yesterday, I continued working not on my writing, but on the writing of others -- 4H writing project entries. I'm the judge! What were they thinking?

 

I'm continually amazed at what incipient talent there is among the teens of America. I read some stuff that was as good as what I wrote as a teen -- which wasn't too bad -- and some stuff that was much better. I had to toughen myself up a lot, though ... it's so hard not to just slap "Grand champion" on all of them! Those that weren't great enough to get a blue ribbon right now are headed for greatness later, if they keep at it. Like I need the competition!
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