Chatty Cathy, Contests, and Critique (Oh, My!)

It took a while, but I finally got a Chatty Cathy doll.

Now, you’re probably thinking that a girl named Cathy would of course have a Chatty Cathy. You’d be wrong. You’re probably also thinking that I moved on past that whole Chatty Cathy deficit in my life. Wrong again. There has always been a Chatty Cathy hole in my life.

But no more! Now, Chatty Cathy sits (technically, CC can’t sit. She can only stand.) on my desk, keeping me company as I type away. And if I pull the little string behind her head, she says clever things, like “I’m hungry!” or “I love you.”

Sigh. I love you, too, Chatty Cathy. And maybe it’s my imagination, but I think my writing’s improved. Especially the dialogue. So a big thank you to my friend, Donna at Donna’s Book Pub. She sent CC my way as a thank you for being a judge for the Saturday Writers chapter of the Missouri Writer’s Guild Flash Fiction contest.

I love flash, and reading the entries was as much fun as pulling Chatty Cathy’s string. Judging the entries was not as much fun, because of course, there were more than a few winning writers and it was difficult to choose the top flash pieces.

Still, I’d judge again (and not just because I may get another swell perk out of the deal). Judging those flash entries made me think critically about the elements of flash, what worked in a piece and why another piece of flash didn’t quite work as well. And thoughtful critique makes Cathy a better writer.

So if you’re asked to be a judge for a writing contest, sey yes! It’s not just about giving something back; it’s also about improving critique skills and ultimately, your own writing. And now, let’s pull the string and see what Chatty Cathy has to say to brilliantly wrap up this post:

“I’m sleepy.”

Um, I guess even the coolest doll ever can have an off day. (I still love you, Chatty Cathy.)

19 thoughts on “Chatty Cathy, Contests, and Critique (Oh, My!)

  1. LOL, I'm hearing those CC phrases in my head. I seem to remember the voice was meant to sound sweet but there was something just a shade away from whiny in that voice to me! As for the BEST doll, my vote would go to the Baby Dear doll! Little arms and legs that were slightly bowed in ('like real life babies') and a scrunchy-looking face like many a newborn. My mom bought one for me when she was preggers with my sister; taught me how to hold a baby correctly, bathe a baby, diaper a baby, carry a baby around- all under the guise of preparing me for the new little sister. If you ask me, it was to brainwash me into believing that I was MOm Jr. and could take care of the baby myself so Mom Sr. had a little more free time!!!Oh, did you win your bid in the Writers4Japan auction?

  2. I just hope Cathy-on-a-Stick isn't jealous. Maybe there needs to be a Chatty Cathy-on-a-Stick? :)I find, too, that when I judge contests, my own writing improves – critiquing others helps me critique, and hopefully improve, my own writing.

  3. What a wonderful thank-you from Donna!! That is so appropriate! And I didn't know you were one of, or the only, judge for that contest. Very cool!

  4. Awwww, Cathy. She looks adorable. Before I sent her I had to pull her string to make sure she worked. My favorite saying was "Tell me a story."And thanks again for judging.donna

  5. You mean the doll wasn't named for you?! I know — the doll is waaaay older than you. And so am I, so my favorite was the Ginny doll. She couldn't talk but she had cool little clothes.

  6. CC sounds like a great mascot to have on your desk! :)Being a judge sounds interesting, particularly for flash fiction. I'm teaching ff to teens right now and it's such a fun and great way to tell a story.Hope you and CC have a great weekend!

  7. Thanks, Karen! A teacher used one of my flash stories in a HS class (it was a ghost story)…not sure what she was teaching. But I hope it was something positive. :-)I'm CC lucky, all right! Hmmm…judging was fun…I guess there were a couple dozen entries. But yes, it's hard, too, because I wanted everybody to win.

  8. What's funny, Cher'ley, is that I was not much of a doll kid. But when there's a doll out there with your actual name…well, it seemed like the ultimate doll. And boy, did I want one!

  9. I love your Chatty Cathy, Cathy C.! I have dolls, too, that I made of my book characters who keep me company when I'm at my desk. They warm my heart and make me smile! Thanks for sharing your Chatty Cathy with us!

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