When I wrote, People Behaving Badly back in 2015, I was happy and quite proud of the way it turned out. I thought the 13 stories comprising the book were some of my best writing, so much so, that I decided to do something I’d never done before. I entered it in the 2015 Royal Palm Literary Awards competition (Florida Writers Association)
It was only the second book I’d ever written, so I didn’t have any expectations of winning anything or even making the first cut. I knew that the competition was judged by other writers, so I thought it might be a good experience to see what they think of my work.
I was in total shock when they informed me that the first two judges gave it high enough ratings to place my book in the semi-finals.
Unfortunately, my high didn’t last long because the final judge really disliked it.
I don’t remember word for word what the judge wrote, but I do remember that he or she found the stories to be dull, boring, stale and predictable. The writing was proficient, but the judge would have setup the stories differently or at the very least ended them differently. He or she even claimed that one of the stories was a regurgitation of the Alfred Hitchcock movie, Rear Window.
The final shot to the heart was the judge’s response to the final question.
Would you like to read more work from this author?
The reply was – Overall, the writing has a competent but dated and predictable feel which does not lead this judge to want to read more of the author’s work.
Wow. I was pretty devastated after reading the judge’s final comment.
Over the following days and weeks, I seriously questioned whether I should continue writing …was I just wasting my time? In the end with encouragement of my wife and friends, I decided to carry on and I made it my mission to improve my writing skills with each new book I released.
My next book was, A Very Furry Christmas which made it all the way to the 2016 Royal Palm Literary Awards competition finals. I didn’t win a trophy, but it was a proud moment when I attended that years banquet.
Three years later, People Behaving Badly has sold hundreds of copies. It has 14 (4 & 5 star) reviews on Amazon with an overall rating of 4.7/5.0 stars and 18 reviews/ratings on Goodreads with an overall score of 4.4/5.0 stars.
Not bad for a ‘dated and predictable’ bunch of stories.
There’s a moral in here somewhere, but I’ll leave it up to the reader to figure that out. 🙂