So I'm still reeling here from the news almost a week ago that I finalled in the Genesis competition, but I wanted to share what the judges comments had been for my initial submission in the hopes that others could glean something for your novels.
By far, my lowest scores came in the setting and sensory data departments. The judge who scored me lower gave me a 1 in setting and a 3 in sensory detail.
Specifically, the score sheet says:
Does sensory detail (sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste) enhance each scene?
Does the setting support the story? Is the story well-grounded in the setting?
I had some sensory detail, like shoes crunching on gravel, a bell pealing against glass as someone entered a door, but I had no smell, no touch, and no taste...and I even had my characters things that absolutely succulent-smelling! Yikes! So I went back and added in sensory data to really draw the reader into the scene more.
As for my setting, lower-scoring-judge indicated that I needed more descriptions to help ground the reader. After looking at the entry, I realized I had precious little descriptions. My hero's apartment had a chair and kitchen counter. My heroine's had a scene at a desk. Who knows what the heck that looks like or where it's situated or anything.
So I added this all in and reread it. 10x better. Another little clue I picked up that enabled me to take my barely-15-almost-16 pages entry and add even more to it and still keep it within the 15-page guidelines was to do the 25 lines per page thing. It gave me at least another page's worth to add, which was nice when judges were telling me I needed more descriptions.
So there you go. My comments from the judges were extremely helpful. I hope everyone finds something they can improve when you get your scores back....and be nice and let everyone else know and benefit, too!