Nathan Bransford, Author


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

SEFPC Update #2


wow.

Thank you very very much for everyone who has entered the Surprisingly Essential First Page Challenge! There are many a Surprisingly Essential entry (around 400 between Blogger and Myspace), and the thread will be open for entries until tomorrow at 5:00 PM Pacific. Please continue to enter in the original contest thread and only in the original contest thread. Some people have missed the mark. I know the original post is getting so large that some people (especially those who are on dialup) are having some trouble entering. If you absolutely cannot make it work, you can e-mail me your entries and I'll post for you. But for the sake of my inbox, please try everything short of summoning the entire Geek Squad of America to your house before you take that last resort!

In other news, I hope Holly will be speaking to me by the end of the week! Have you checked out her blog? Promised her cat toys and ski encouragement? I hope so! I seriously cannot thank Holly enough for agreeing to help out. This is quite a task.

And in other news, I hate to mar what has otherwise been an extremely fun contest that I am still very excited about (despite the morale meter dipping), but I think I need to address this, so here goes. Some people have expressed concern that their entries are being critiqued on other blogs, and that this isn't something they signed on for. I'm sympathetic to these concerns -- while this is a public forum and people can see their entries, they might not have known that others would be critiquing their efforts, and ultimately I'd just like everyone to feel good about participating. Yes, being critiqued is something that happens when you're a writer, but this contest is just supposed to be fun. It's not like anyone is getting paid for this.

So I proposed what I feel like is a very fair compromise: I asked people who were critiquing to please refrain from critiques for the moment, but since I know there are many people who would love to hear feedback, I'd be happy to mention their blog on tonight's update to send people their way if people want critiques. That way, the people who want critiques can get critiques, and the people who don't want critiques don't have to be critiqued. Everyone wins! Even the monkeys, and they never win.

Unfortunately, while one critiquer was extremely gracious about bowing out (I really can't thank her enough, she was very kind about it), another has disagreed, and UPDATE: Chro has agreed to pull unsolicited critiques and critique all comers! I wish him luck! Check out his blog if you want feedaback! But other than those who have agreed with the compromise, the critiquers aren't excerpting material, and besides offering a compromise, my hands are somewhat tied here. People are going to do what they're going to do, apparently. So I apologize to those who are uncomfortable with what's happening, but I hope it won't mar their enjoyment of the contest. I tried!

Ultimately, I hope we can move on from this -- I hesitate to say there's a lesson in this (there isn't!), but from here on out I'm going to be deleting further comments that relate to this issue (I'm serious about this). Let's just all enjoy the contest and let's all just get along, and really: we need to remember that Spencer is the real problem here.

Thanks again to everyone who entered! Keep on entering (I didn't plan on sleeping tomorrow night anyway... or the next day), and I'm seriously amazed and impressed by all the talent out there. You guys are awesome.






86 comments:

AmandaKMorgan said...

Man. Spencer always messes everything up. ;-)

Jordyn said...

Yay for the winning monkeys!!

And also... I WANT TO BE CRITIQUED!! Please. Anyone. I think I'm entry #117 on the original post.

Allen B. Ogey said...

I'm another who would like as much feedback as possible - critique away.

Nathan - thanks for your contest and level headedness in trying to please most of the people most of the time, but I really must question your judgement in one critical area.

Single malt scotch would be a much better choice over bourbon for when your morale meter sinks to that level.

Nathan Bransford said...

Allen-

I do love some Laphroaig when I'm feeling luxurious, but ultimately, I'm a man of the people, and when you're feeling humble, bourbon it is.

Polenth said...

There's a positive side to lack of sleep. In that little bit of time before you go mad, you'll be very creative.

Nadine said...

Ugh, Spencer. I hate how I see the EXTREMELY posed pictures of him and Heidi everywhere.

As for the contest, I'm excited! Less than 24 hours to go!

Adaora A. said...

Holly's blog is pretty sweet, and now with your constant plugging it will get the traffic it deserves.


You'd better bribe her with an endless stream of cosmo's and a greeting card with all her favorite words (mentioned on her blog). I am sure that will completely butter her up.

I never knew people were expressing concern but I understand why. Some people (as I think you said in a blog post early last year perhaps), that people have a nasty side to them that comes out on the internet. Annonymity lets the inner bitch out completely.

Quit saying sorry Nathan, you're affording us all a great opportunity to get a critique from someone in the buisness, and not to mention how available you are on 'our' blog. Talk about above and beyond the call of duty.

I hope you aren't suffering from insomnia afterwards. Perhaps we should all pitch in and buy Nathan a 1000 thread count matress. He'll be out like a light.

Diana said...

Wow, Nathan. Your Morale-o-meter really took a hit today. But at least there's still some orange left, right?

Anonymous said...

Hello -- is it possible that there is a point where there are a max number of comments? For some reason, this graphic doesn't show on the contest loop.

Thanks!

Gina

Other Lisa said...

Wow. Best of luck to all of the contestants. And Nathan, I don't have any bourbon, so I raise my glass of Spanish red in a toast.

~grace~ said...

no Nathan, you are awesome.

and if there are any extra monkeys around, could you send them my way? I need them to type things for me...


oh, and as to the max number of comments question...didn't the Snark Queen have like 500+ on her "I'm quitting" post?

Nathan Bransford said...

We had 600+ comments on the First Paragraph Challenge when I was crazy enough to allow multiple entries, so I think we'll be ok. Of course, if there's a maximum word count on a Blogger thread we may be in trouble.

Adaora A. said...

Make sure they are drunk Grace!

Nathan I don't know if you are familiar with the blueboards (verla kay), but one member had trouble entering. Her entry didn't come up. Equally though, people entering after her had no trouble. Perhaps it is an internet thing. Maybe if people are forced to live with dial-up (thanks to spouse, or parents), they should go to the library and bum off of their internet?


Yes it is quarter after 2 am here, I was tired but blogging woke me up.

Brigid said...

When I first saw that people were doing their own commenting, that was my gut reaction too: "Hey! I didn't sign on to be paraded around the internet!"

But...really, I did. I mean, it's the internet. If you can get here, you know what that means for your privacy and your good intentions. People can say whatever they want, and by putting a piece of my work out there, I have to be aware that critiques (and worse) can happen -- for good and for bad.

So Nathan, don't beat yourself up about it. You can't control it, and people signing on for a contest on the internet know what they're in for. Thank you for all your efforts with the contest.

I mean, we're all writers, right? What do you think's going to happen when that baby is in print?

Anonymous said...

The thing that concerns me the most with any internet posting of a work that hasn't been published yet, is not the crtiques it might get, but the potential for idea theft or borrowing that it opens you up to.

I wouldn't want to give my novel's premise away on the Internet if the book wasn't close to publication. Who wants to spend a year or more working on something and then find out that someone else has used the main concept before you got it published? So for a first page, I didn't mind entering becuase the novel's premise wasn't disclosed in the first page...but if it were a synopsis contest, or query pitch...no freakin' way. Don't want to be paranoid, but also don't want to be overly loose with ideas.

Angela said...

I would welcome any critiques. I was number 350 – LIAR –YA.

I’d also like to respond to the comments made by anonymous who worried about idea theft. I attended a workshop with two well-known YA authors. They shared outlines, synopsis, query letters etc…for works under contract and works they haven’t started to sub yet. They even tossed around a bunch of ideas for books they’d like to write.

When someone asked if they worried about someone ‘stealing’ their idea, they responded, “Not at all. It’s not the idea; it’s the writing.”

I wasn’t sure about that at first. But at Rutgers some of the agents spoke about manuscripts they couldn’t acquire even though they loved the idea. One agent said, “There is a book I’d love to sell. It’s so original, but the writing just didn’t pull it off.” He mentioned that the writer has tried to revise without success.

It made me realize the need to work on my writing, my voice. Make my manuscripts original -make it more aboutt the writing, not just the 'idea'.

beth said...

I'm all for being critiqued. Don't know what entry # I am, but I'm fairly early on. The title is THE READ THREAD (typo...should be "red" not "read"). If you click on my name, I've got the first chapter of another of my books for critique...ANY feedback is always more than welcome! Critiquers may have to email their sites or something so we know where they are...?

Mary said...

Holly has a wonderful blog! It’s one I’ll keep on visiting.

Good luck to you both!

Aimless Writer said...

What? You mean we post something on an open blog and its not there for a gazillion million peeps to see? Wow, who would have thunk it? Its like this internet thing has a life of its own.
Anyone want to critique me, have at it! I'd sell out da family for a good critique!

ink wench said...

Yikes! Morale is crashing fast. Get Nathan some bourbon ASAP!

inherwritemind1 said...

There are many a Surprisingly Essential entry (around 400 between Blogger and Myspace)

You've been Snarked!

What's your beverage of choice?

Cat Schield said...

Sir, you are a glutton for punishment. I did the math. At over 400 entries, you have the equivalent of 2 books worth of first pages. I hope you stocked your liquour cabinet.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

See Nathan read.

See Nathan read.

See Nathan read.

See Nathan drink.

Go, Nathan, Go!

Jessica said...

I've just posted my first page on the other thread, my first ever Nathan Bransford contest entry!

I had been dissatisfied with the opening sequence and this contest gave me the firm kick in the rear to get going on the revision of that scene. I pondered and rewrote and rewrote some more and am quite satisfied that my new opening fits better with the rest of the book.

At the risk of sounding incredibly cheesy, regardless of the contest outcome, I feel that I've won in that I now have a stronger opening.

Kelly Maher said...

Thanks for this opportunity, Nathan! Contests/exercises like this allow me to play around with ideas I may not pursue otherwise. Oh, and for the critiquers out there, feel free to have at my entry, "Luck of the Draw". I forgot to note that in the entry itself :D

Stew said...

There's a huge Absolute Write turnout. YOu should stop by our thread in Novels, Nathan.

You know, when you have time. :evil laugh:

Mark D. said...

I hate to sound so computer illiterate, but can someone tell me how to delete a comment?

Thanks

Taylor said...

Wow. getting close to 500 entries now. I admit this is pretty exciting to watch.

Also, anyone feel free to critique my entry, VALDEN'S HEIR. I am not afraid (Somebody hold me!).

Vinnie Sorce said...

I'd love a critique as well. Search for the text "Jimmy Vincent" and you'll find me!

Amy said...

Nathan, if you're going to delete entries about critiquing, how do we let people know we're going to offer our opinions on *only those who want critiqued*?

Larisa said...

Spencer. I knew it!

Did you know he has a PR company and lists himself as a client?

Just breathe and ask yourself: what would Lauren do?

WWLD?

Jordan said...

This is ridiculously exciting. How is it possible that the entire internet writing community turns out and causes so much pain for a single man?

Ah yes, that's right. He's an agent.

:D

Good luck Nathan! Keep your chin up.

cat said...

I'm all about the feedback. For God's sake, feel free with the feedback! I can take it.

Probably.

As for this comment from Angela, posted in response to anonymous:
When someone asked if they worried about someone 'stealing' their idea, they responded, "Not at all. It's not the idea; it's the writing."

Bra-VO. A novel can have the coolest concept, like, EVER-- but without the voice to carry it off? Eh. Sad little concept.

Tiffany Aller said...

Extremely fair way to deal with critiques by other bloggers, Nathan. Personally, I'm of the opinion that if I put myself out there, I am doing so expressly for feedback...but I can definitely understand how some other folks might not be so appreciative of what may be construed as unsolicited critiques.

Man, Nathan - have you started drinking yet? Your poor eyes. We should take up a collection to get you reading glasses after this!

Nona said...

Who wants to spend a year or more working on something and then find out that someone else has used the main concept before you got it published?

My thinking exactly. In screenwriting it's called the "logline" and it happens. That's why I opted for the prompt. Maybe next time.

Sophie W. said...

Yesterday I played with numbers. I drew random samples of the entries, counted up the words, and multiplied them by the number of entries (about 350 at the time). There were about 175,000 words in all.

I think we should have a moment of silence for Nathan's poor fried brain cells.

Jennifer Walker said...

I would LOVE a critique! I'm Flying Leaps, I think #158 by someone's count.

benwah said...

Reading these first pages has been interesting sampling of what people are churning out. I'm amazed at the number of people who write in the first person (not that there's anything wrong with that by any stretch). So much YA, so much fantasy--I didn't know it was out there. Simply reading the entries has been quite educational. Thanks, Nathan.

Scott said...

My only problem with the critiques is that somebody might critique my entry and i won't know about it, so I'll miss out on some helpful comments.

Critique me. Please. But let me know so your critique will do me some good.

Anonymous said...

:::bangs head on desk and curses dialup:::

There's so many posts on the entry thread my dialup just gives up and doesn't even load them all. Which means, the box to enter a comment (or first page) doesn't show up.

:::stalks off growling:::

Sam Hranac said...

May I begin the betting? I'll say Nathan is looking at reading 300,000 words to judge this thing before it is over.

Linda said...

HOLY COW!!!!

501 posts.

Nathan, need to borrow my bifocals? And, I'm a pharmacist, if you need something beyond booze to get you through all these...words... holler.

Thanks for doing this. You will climb to the next level in your next life. Peace...

Nathan Bransford said...

Thanks Linda, but these eyes are 20/20. At least right now they are.

Jennifer Walker said...

For anyone willing to do a critique but doesn't want to navigate that mess of a thread, I've posted my first page on my blog. jenniferlwalker.blogspot.com

Adaora A. said...

Best get them checked by Linda after the contest is over Nathan!

Are you and Holly reading them off of your computer screens? Yeesh!

Nathan Bransford said...

adaora-

I'd have to kill a whole forest to print the entries out.

Jennifer Walker said...

ACK after getting some feedback, I almost don't want you (Nathan) to read it! I wanted to query you with this some day! ACK...when I do, be impressed by how open I was to feedback and improved on it, ok??

Snuggles!

Diana said...

My Print Preview says 874 pages. Yikes! That's about 23 CDs if you make it into an audiobook.

A Hopeless Writer said...

I think it was on Absolute Write that you said you do these contests to give an idea of what you get on a daily basis. So many of these first pages are great - I don't know how agents choose which writers to take on.
*sigh*

It just lessens my confidence that I will ever get picked up by an agent, or published.
*sigh*

Tom Burchfield said...

I'm in, looks like around #524. Feel free to critique. I thirst and hunger for recognition!

Thanks, Nathan! We probably all owe you a bourbon!

Adaora A. said...

That's true Nathan. Everytime I look more people have entered. I wouldn't be suprised if it exceeds last years tally!

On another note, Party Francis has cancer and her book THE LIARS DIARY came out yesterday.She's a debut author (like myself and others hope to be), and unable to promote her own book. click my link for details, and visit her website (linked in my blog), for info on her book. Thanks!

Jennifer Walker said...

adaora a, I put her on my amazon wish list! If no one gets it for me by payday, I'm going to. It sounds great! Thanks for the comment about my first page on my blog!

janegodzilla said...

Wow, you blew right past "having second thoughts" there, didn't you? It's a good thing there's still a lot of orange left on that graph, because otherwise I'd start to worry. This is shaping up to be quite the contest!

ros said...

I'd love to know what other people think of mine. But I'm a little confused as to how I'll find out. Is there a list of links somewhere that shows people who are giving critiques?

Mine's somewhere around #475, no title but it's the one about Daniel at the shrine, if anyone would care to give some feedback.

shalanna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Adaora A. said...

@jennifer- Your very welcome! I'm pleased you've added P.F to your list. I have plans to buy the book come pay day at work. I happen to be broke as a joke right now lol! Damn uni and excessive dress/skirt buying.

Nathan Bransford said...

shalanna-

Please feel free to post that again without the second paragraph.

Hugh Ceratto said...

I wouldn't mind have my critique either. Thanks!

Adaora A. said...

Why is everyone stressing and doing silly things they wouldn't normally do? This contest is a favour (yes that's Canadian spelling Nathan just try and stop me)!

Just take a deep breath and enjoy it. Don't get too hot and bothered over it all.

Yikes! (Favorite word these days, alongside 'dodgy')

PS: I love how when you type in the wrong security code it gets progressively thicker and clearer as if to stress stupidity. "YOU NUMBNUT...DON'T GET IT TWISTED."

Sam Hranac said...

Did your security code thing make you type in NUMBNUT, too? I thought it was just me.

Eric said...

I'm certainly open to any crits. Although now I've lost track as to who is doing them.

Cheers, Nathan

Eric- Tweed & Scissors

Anonymous said...

Aloha writers--wow, 564 entries so far--go Nathan!

This is a tad off topic, but this has been really irking me and I wanted to see if anyone knows the answer:

Word count issue: when my MS word file of my ms is open, it gives the word count as 89,000 words. If the file is closed, however, and I right-click and look at the properties of the clsoed file--it gives the word count as only 76,000. What's up with that disparity? Which is correct? Should I take the average? Anyone else encounter this?

Without trusting the word count in the program, what's a good way to estimate using number of pages if you're going with standard 12 pt Courier font, 1" margins, double-spaced?

Thanks for any input.

Adaora A. said...

Sam it did!

Wasn't just you.


(Tweezing eyebrows as I type this)

Heidi the Hick said...

YOU'RE calling US awesome??????

I'm speechless.

Anonymous said...

If anyone still wants to critique entries, would you critique mine please? I think it's number 91, but I'm not sure. It's called Sincerely, Me, by Emily Rose. Thanks! :)

Adaora A. said...

So true Heidi. And he wonders why he is baraded with queries and questioning emails (people want to pretend he's actually a potential agent for a little while longer).

Chris said...

If anyone is interested in critiquing my first page, I have posted a revised version on my new blog.
Chris

http://cnoel70.blogspot.com/

Michele Lee said...

Ack! someone is critiquing them? Where? Where? I wanna see!! (And yes, include me)

julcree said...

um, yeah... there are, like, over 600 entries...

I can't get the page to load past yesterday around 11 am.
Next time, let's do something much shorter. Like "Best use of a semicolon."

Other Lisa said...

Ding, ding, ding! Over 600 comments below! Even subtracting the comments that aren't entries, I'm guessing there will be around 625 entries by 5 PM.

Bonnie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jordyn said...

Oh hi, I just decided to post critiques on my blog too (postponing hours worth of homework). I'm just going to go down this comment thread and find the people who agreed to be critted and go by that.

http://thepaperairplane.webs.com/blog.htm

Ok. I'm diving in now. Wish me luck, but not as much luck as Senor Bransford there.

Bonnie said...

Thank you for running this, Nathan.
My opening is now much better than I ever thought it would be.

I posted mine at http://bonniers.livejournal.com/134625.html. Critiques welcome if anybody feels like wandering over that way.

hannah said...

I'd love a crit of mine, Jordyn. :) #80, "These Humans All Suck." Thanks for helping us out!

Nadine said...

Ditto for me. I'm #8, Love Undelivered.

Thanks Jordyn!

Laurie Ashton said...

If anyone wants to critique mine, have at 'er. It's at http://lmashton.com/2008/01/basement_of_the_universe_the_f.html
with thanks in advance. :)

Laurie Ashton said...

Uh, *cough* the URL didn't show up correctly, and I can't edit the post, so here's a second try at that...

http://lmashton.com/2008/01/basement_of_the_universe_the_f.html

Thanks. :)

Laurie Ashton said...

Um, really sorry about that. Apparently, the link is too long and rejects the end of it. I'd love it if I could delete at least the middle comment. *sigh*

If anyone wants to critique my first 500 words, please feel free. It's
The Basement of the Universe.

madison said...

jordyn, i'll take one - #17, this brief freedom. thanks!

and suddenly, i'm really paranoid that i misspelled 'brief' on the contest entry. i just typed breif. uh oh.

Bonnie said...

Laurie, do you see a little gray blob on the left-hand bottom of your post? It's actually a garbage can and if you click on it, you should be able to delete the bad post.

Laurie Ashton said...

Bonnie, I don't have that. It's probably because I'm not a blogger.com person and therefore don't get the cool kids toys. :)

Kami said...

I'm willing to look at entries and critique them. I personally love feedback and I'm always looking for more, and I'd like to give back to the writing community that's helped me so much. Having said that, I'm on dial-up, so if you want your entry critiqued it would be much easier for me if you emailed me your entry. I'm Kami--kamila at easystreet dot net. If you'd like a public lashing, er, I mean, public critique let me know and I'll post my comments on my blog, http://kzmillers.blogspot.com

If you'd like your entry in whole or part included in the post I can do that (please specify what I can and can't do in your email.) Advantage--others may read your entry and agree/disagree with my opinion, possibly generating more comments. Disadvantage--um, I'm sure there are folks who don't want their entry posted in even more places, I guess.

I hope I don't live to regret this. :P

About the idea stealing thing--if someone can steal your whole idea from reading the first page, that's either some impressive black magic telepathy going on (in which case, why not steal ideas from Jay Lake?) or there's way too much of the plot revealed in that first page. Don't worry. Your deathless prose is fairly safe from theft in this contest. Besides, there's now a public record of this being your work, and we'll back you up on it!

Ulysses said...

I'd appreciate any comments on my opening.

I'd like to get better. (Sheesh. . . sounds like I'm suffering from mental problems. But then, I call myself a writer and I guess that goes with the territory).

Merry Monteleone said...

anon 1:06,

You can estimate word count at 250 words a page.

TG Franklin said...

Feel free to critique my entry. I don't know the number. It starts with "The universe vomited." and I'll post it on my blog.

Good Luck, Everyone! Lots of great entries.

TG

AstonWest said...

I have no idea what number entry mine was, but have posted it at my blog, if anyone wants to critique it.

http://astonwest.blogspot.com

Related Posts with Thumbnails