Nathan Bransford, Author


Monday, December 8, 2008

Yeah, Wow

8 hours x 60 minutes = 480 minutes

/

267 entries

=

an entry every 1.7 minutes

+

Makers Mark

=

I can still do this.


UPDATE 9:23 PM:

My wife came through for me: homemade eggnog in a mason jar!!






86 comments:

A Paperback Writer said...

Nathan,
You've done this before with similar, insane results.
Surely you are not REALLY surprised?!

Nathan Bransford said...

Well, that all depends. The previous record for entries was around 650, so I was expecting in that ballpark. We're halfway there in 8 hours, which puts us on pace for somewhere around 2,000.

That would be surprising.

Josephine Damian said...

Might I suggest that future contests be more often but with MUCH shorter entry period? Say 24 hours? Just thinking of your sanity/sobriety....

Sophie W. said...

I can't imagine how insane judging all those entries is going to be. If you actually get 2,000 entries, I'd get another judge. At least one of you might emerge with your eyeballs intact.

CapitolClio said...

Maybe we should take up a collection so Nathan could buy a case of Maker's Mark?

Vieva said...

I fear for your sanity - but I love the contest! (entered!)

Lady Glamis said...

Nathan, you brought this on yourself, you know.

You have a lot of followers....

:)

Um, 2,000 entries. Wow. I wouldn't expect you to judge too quickly. I'm sure it will slow down. :)

Miriam S.Forster said...

I agree, wow. Makes me glad my entry was so short...

Well lots of good luck to you. (Maybe you should get another judge...)

Merc said...

Too bad the time machine prototype is MIA or I'd send it to you, Nathan, so you could have time to judge in a more sane fashion.

Wait, if I had a time machine, I'd actually have more novels written, or be rich...

Okay, must rethink this now. ;)

Good luck!

Lisa Dez said...

You're a popular guy. Sick, but popular.

Madame Lefty said...

They really like you!

Well, it's a bit flattering, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

Somewhere, Miss Snark and Killer Yap are doubled over in laughter...

Just_Me said...

*hands you more Makers Mark*

Nathan~
You'll survive this too. It's called a random number generator. You set it up to pick a number between 1 and 2000 and let it do the work. If you really don't like the entry, hit enter again and make the number generator try again....

Marilyn Peake said...

Nathan,

Wow, that is a huge number of entries. I admire your tenacity. By Friday, I think you will have added a new page to the “Yes, we can” chapter of our times...or maybe added a new chapter to the book...or a new book to the series. That’s a serious number of entries. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

Stephanie said...

Nathan,

Thank you for exposing yourself to this madness. Perhaps it will slow down in a bit, and you will be able to return to sanity.

We all know that this is something you do in "your free time" however limited that is.

The idea of a smaller window of opportunity is a good one. Heck, now that I've entered mine, you could cut it off anytime. Say, now. Or now. Or now.

Rock on!

Furious D said...

Good luck.

Both you and your liver are going to need it.

Jamie said...

This is crazy!! And very generous - thanks for the contest!

Anonymous said...

Nathan - you're Superman. And I'm in love with you...

Margaret Yang said...

This could be the Next Big Thing.

Writers have NanoWriMo, wherein they attempt to write an insane amount of words in November. Now agents have...let's call it NaPaJudWe (National Paragraph Judging Week--NaPa for short) wherein agents try to evaluate an insane amount of words in a week in December.

I could totally see it going national. Really! Hey, nobody thought NanoWriMo would get so big either.

BTW, I'm not entering. Good luck to all participants.

Shari said...

Yikes! But yes, you can do it because you totally rock.

Anonymous said...

The number of entries forecast only sounds formidable. People who work with words are used to eyeballing vast amounts of content.

Now, about the benefits of Maker's Mark...

Adaora A. said...

Wow...

But surely you must know that you have an enormous readership. You can't possibly be entirely shocked?!

We expect funny pictures of spicy food consumption to chronicle the journey.

Kathleen Peacock said...

You have to contend both with your own popularity and the fact that people have been spreading the news far and wide.

Maybe the mob will give you time off for good behavior or, you know, slide cheese slices under your door* so you don't starve while wading through thousands of entries.

Yes - that was a Microserfs reference.

Laura said...

Heh, Yeah, thank goodness mine was extremely short!

good luck, and try some really good red wine... antioxidants are better for you and your heart! :)

Elyssa Papa said...

Nathan, bourbon's on the way. But, wow, should we do an over or under for 2,000? I say over.

Polenth said...

Do we get graphs of hopelessness/happiness levels? Can't beat a few graphs.

Marina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marina said...

Nathan,
Remember, sometimes insanity is a virtue, and it can spur good luck. Just look at what it did for Britney. Okay, bad example.

Ann Victor said...

LOL Nathan I did the calculations last night when TEN entries popped up in the short time I wrote my post! Poor you.

Rene S said...

It's madness. But thanks for suffering for our edification.

Sarah Jensen said...

All I can say is good luck. And you shouldn't even be reading these comments with all the paragraphs you have to read.
I'd do a shorter window of time next time, or say it cuts off at so many entries. Of course, since you write the rules, you could do that now.
Best of luck, there are some darn good entries. I'm enjoying them and wouldn't want to have to judge.

Other Lisa said...

I raise a shot of mescal in your honor (that's what I had to drink tonight).

Toni Kenyon said...

Your poor wife!! There won't be much time left for bathing and attending to personal hygiene.

Jill Wheeler said...

Well, maybe by this point most people who are going to enter have already done so. For your sake, I'm hoping that's the case.

R. Daley said...

Nathan,

There has to be a breakthrough first novel that is destined for the NY Times bestseller list in there. Your task is to identify it.

Good luck! BTW...I just bought stock in the Maker's Mark. I think you'll need quite a bit to see yourself through this endeavor :-)

Scott said...

Phew––an online contest. You don't know how rough these can be.

Thanks,

The Trees

BarbS. said...

Ohhhh, that 'nog looks yummy! Would Mrs. B care to share the recipe?

CC said...

You can do it Nathan!

Go, go, go!!

(Was I the only one that caught the "wife" reference with the eggnog? So, we sort of now know where you were even if it's not our business. That's a good woman, to put up with the rest of us.)

I plan on reading all the entries. I got a good start last night. Some of these are really quite impressive.

Anonymous said...

(Was I the only one that caught the "wife" reference with the eggnog?)

I caught it, too. Congratulations, Nathan!

Precie said...

1) You are the definition of insanity.

2) Congratulations on your apparent nuptials!!!! I thought someone had mentioned something during your absence about a wedding or honeymoon or something...but you know how how rumors spread. I hope all went beautifully and you're enjoying wedded bliss! (FYI--Running this contest is probably NOT a way to guarantee wedded bliss.)

3) I have to assume your wife knew of your condition (insanity) before marrying you. I wish her lots of luck during this contest too. :)

Justus M. Bowman said...

Stop being so durn popular!

Inmodify said...

I really liked this one:

Eliza K.

"In the city, Boss is a man of girth, worth, and expensive shoes. Hand-crafted leather. Hand-hammered steel toes. Hand-stitched soles. The hands of the people help him stand, as he once put it between wisps of smoke. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Boss open his mouth without smoke trailing out. He's a demon too, in his own way. Not like me, of course, but still. I've seen him steal as many souls with only words."

I get a sense of both characters and want to read more.

Kat Harris said...

Just remember what Clark Griswold's wife once said:

"It's the holidays and we're all in misery."

:-)

Welcome to the club.

Bryn Greenwood said...

Hopefully there's a whole vat of eggnog just off screen. My question is...isn't the judging just a matter of reading through the entries until something catches your eye. Oh, right. Still involves reading all the entries.

Crimogenic said...

Good luck, Nathan. I'm sure the eggnog will go a long way if you stretch it with some Bourbon.

Liz said...

All I can say, Nathan, is you're a good man. And thank you. Just reading over the entries and noticing which ones I liked and what they had in common gave me another insight on a necessary revision to my manuscript. So having this contest has already helped a new writer developing her craft. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I have those mason jars with handles. They are awesome!

Thomas Mason said...

Nathan,

Congrats on the wedding and I hope that you've got enough eye drops to get you through the judging!

I imagine by the time all is said and done you will have close to 2,500 entries!!

Ink said...

Does your wife do Nog deliveries? You know, to Canada?


My best, as always,
Bryan Russell

Ulysses said...

Congratulations on the joining of your houses. I've been married for 19 years and I still wouldn't trade the fair Penelope for the world.

... Not that anyone's made me the offer.

Seriously, we'd not think less of you if you brought in some help on this one. After you were featured on blogger's main page (or whatever it was), I began to notice a ton of new names in the comments. If that translates to a bump (or rather, a tower, a mountain) in the number of entries, then I fear for your remaining sanity.

Nobody likes a sleep-deprived, alcohol-fuelled, newly-married agent when they're overworked and cranky.

Stacey said...

This is going to be more fun than your stack of e-mails from when you were away. You're already at 573 comments and you have two more days, I think you'll beat your record!

Lula O said...

Ah, to be newly wed again..
In a few years you'll ask, "Remember when you used to make me eggnog?"
She'll nod, "Oh...ya."
Then she'll go to bed.

Heidi the Hick said...

Dude. Wow.

I just want to say that I really love it that YOUR WIFE! is there to supply you with necessary beverages. It was totally worth all those guest posts now that I know you were gone for a very good reason. Congratulations!

(She knows what you do for a living, right?)


Also the word verification is "inmated" which is somewhat appropriate and slightly scary.

Anonymous said...

Didn't know you were married. Is this recent?

abc said...

I love homemade egg nog! I love mason jars! Your wife is awesome.

Anonymous said...

Married? My hopes are dashed. Sigh . . .

Seriously, congrats! And as for the contest, well, that's what you get for being so popular and having such a cool blog.

Verification 'word' schotras - sounds vaguely german

Josephine Damian said...

Precie, that was me who busted Nathan on his wedding. It wasn't a rumor - he got hitched on 11/8.

His wife stood by him during the last contest so she knew what she was in for when she said, "I do."

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

For those of you NOT entering the contest -

Maybe now is a good time to peruse the right-hand side of the blog, where all the links are...just found a list of Top-10 lit mags that way...another link led to a blog entry about an audio cassette recording of "Atonement."

Or maybe somebody wants to step up to the plate and sort the contest entries by genre...too bad blogger doesn't have a function like that...search and sort...

NewGuyDave said...

I posted the contest on the yahoo group for the Online Writing Workshop for Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror.

It appears a few have already entered, but more are on the way.

Have fun!

Anonymous said...

You're over 600 entries in less than 24 hours. No one will think less of you if you cut it off today. You do need your beauty sleep.

Ryan Field said...

I abstained this time. But I love reading the entries.

Melanie Avila said...

Congratulations! Nothing like starting off your marriage with a contest that chains you to the computer. Good luck. :)

CC said...

I've noticed lots of entries this time have included what the time of day/night is in the first paragraph.

I don't think that happened last time -- not that there's anything wrong with that, just an observation.

Flemmily said...

It's okay! Makers Mark makes everything better.

Except driving.

Diana said...

There's that "wife" word again! Congrats!

Creative A said...

When I posted my entry, it was already creeping towards the 300...Maybe next time, you should break it up by genre?

I think it's great that you do this stuff.

Kristan said...

CUTE! I love Mason jars! Also: WIFE! :)

Avily Jerome said...

You can do it! Rah, rah, rah!!!

Thanks for the contest, and good luck with the judging!!!

And please don't do the random number generator, despite how much easier that would be... I'd like to get rejected based on my crappy writing, not on luck. :)

Marilyn Peake said...

Nathan,

Congratulations on your marriage! The eggnog looks yummy.

Eric said...

Hi Nathan,

Entered the contest. The way entries are stacking up now, I don't envy the work you have ahead of you--many thanks for doing this for us.


E

Zoe Winters said...

haha, well, you're clearly a masochist. Writers love to share their stuff, haha!

Makers Mark is my husband's favorite too.

Anonymous said...

I see everyone missed my "psychic reading"

...

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your wedding, Nathan!???
(???)
Welcome back!

December 3, 2008 1:46 PM


Just in case you did too, Nathan, Congrats again.

This time around I am not entering, just reading and listening, hopefully learning. Alway ups my game.

Anonymous said...

Nathan, you just might hit that 2,000. Poor guy! I think you'll finish up today with about 850 :)

Melody Ayres-Griffiths said...

Opening paragraphs should only be one sentence long =) (That would make it easier for you, anyway, if everyone followed that rule...)

Stephanie said...

Nathan,

I am now officially frightened. I knew about the slush pile. I knew about the odds of rising out of the slush pile.
After reading a good percentage of the entries, I finally understand how difficult it is for an agent or an editor to pick anything. After the first couple hundred, you start seeing some patterns and similarities. After the first few hundred, I became unable to distinguish good from bad. It was like going to a pot luck dinner and being forced to taste 1000 casseroles and salads. Some of them probably were very tasty, but my taste buds are dead and I can't tell.
I can only assume that you have a better ability to focus than I do. I hope the eggnog and Makers Mark helps as well.

Merry Monteleone said...

Okay, call me dense, I totally missed the wife reference, Nathan!

Congratulations to you both!!! I hope you had a wonderful wedding and a fabulous honeymoon.

I'm not going to make any comments about the strain of this contest on a new marriage - if I'm not mistaken you were engaged during the last few contests - so she knew what she was in for and she's likely a saint.

teennovelist said...

Congratulations on your marriage!

That said, thanks so much for holding this contest. Good luck reading all the entries....

:)

Anonymous said...

QUESTION:

What is that in the top right hand corner of your picture? Are those stars? I only ask because it has been so long since I've seen them in real life... lol. Once upon a time, I lived in Nowheresville, KY. We had stars though :)

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

Christmas tree lights.

Anonymous said...

Anon here... yeah, I'm clearly an idiot. Oops.

Professor Tarr said...

You know what's great about this - not merely the contest part - but seeing it through your eyes. I went through the list and I think it actually would not be that hard to weed them out. Being hyper-critical of my own work, I would cut me immediately to the NO CHANCE IN HECK list.

It is reveletory to realize how important it is to make those first impressions so meaningful. You can see in a lot of the offerings that there might be a compelling story there - MIGHT - but there are some where it is evident that there is ALREADY a compelling story there.

That really makes me look at my own novel - which I tend to think is absolutely freaking brilliant, but is hard to demo in a short query or first paragraph - in a different light. Perhaps if my queries continue to get slushpiled, and even if they don't - I need to step it up and look at it with those sort of eyes.

Just for fun, after going through all those and synthesizing those lessons, I theorized how to start my next work, a novella I call FINGERED...

"He absolutely freaked. The toilet flushed before he could really get a good look at it. But Emanuel Dexter Bradley was certain – well, almost certain – that it was a human finger he had seen swirling amidst his own refuse in the bottom of the bowl. What the freaking hell? He was too hung over to think much of it at first. It was a conditioned reflex he supposed – that of looking in the bowl and taking account of what was there. It was as automated and hard wired as the automated flusher itself. Now he was replaying the last few minutes over and over in his mind. Snapped to lucidity by what he had seen – or imagined that he had seen. By what he had felt or imagined that he had felt. And it scared the living shit out of him."

The novella that is growing from that has not half the resonance of my finished novel, but I bet a dime it would get more requests for fulls just because it hits you immediately.

That is a really valuable lesson, Nathan and I'm trying to figure out just what the heck to do with that knowledge based on what I have...

Nathan Bransford said...

Professor Tarr-

Not sure I agree! I'm not necessarily looking to be grabbed by the throat. I appreciate good writing and subtlety.

Professor Tarr said...

No, I understand what you're saying. And the opening has to fit the context and the tone of the remainder of the novel - but there are some very good examples in the paragraphs submitted that grab you from the gitgo in ways that I don't preesntly do. My work is very subtle and crafty in my novel - but it is slowly building as such.

An approach like I used in my tongue-in-cheek novella is entirely different, but it does grab attention and is reflective of the eschatalogical mystery story therein - such as it is.

But take for example some of my personal faves from the contest - the one with the cat dying and the old lady looking Walther Matthau - that pulls me in immediately! I want to read that book! Cracks me up, has intrigue and is quirky and fun. Same thing for the one with the girl not being a goal post. Probably ultimately not my kind of story, but I recognize the craft in it and have great respect for how it was done.

Those grab you immediately in a sort of visceral way that is very good, descriptive of character and voice and something I'm trying to reconcile with my own work. Even though I start right in the middle of my novel, I feel I am currently not aggressive enough early enough to show where the fun of the book will be. Why the reader should care to continue as it were.

I think the craft has to fit the context of the story. The toilet scene is not reflective of the lyricism of my other work, But I believe there must be a way I can sharpen my earlier parts to show that there will be twists and turns and not to trust narrative voices - even if they are in your head - which is a constant theme in my novel, THE MISSIONARY AND THE BRUTE.

Does that sort of make sense? The main thing I want to say is that there are a LOT of good examples in the contest that help all of us rethink how we write - early especially.

Professor Tarr said...

"My wound is geography"

Four words... Elegant, cleverly evocative. Granted, Conroy had to sustain that lyricism throughout the novel, and he did, but that was immediately compelling.

In the contest, there is one piece that is a simple description of a place and it uses the phrase ashen stain in concert with blues and whites and blemishes of imagery that is very very simple and really doesn't say too much, but draws one in with its eloquent voice. I don't know if the novel is one I'd buy, but I'd love to hear someone read it...

There is something special there.

Ultimately, given the options of having billions of words at our disposal every day, we make near-immediate choices based on taste, subject, theme and characters we can relate to - but if we don't get past that first paragraph, we may miss it. To have that paragraph seem to be emblematic of the work that follows is a gift and a lot of folks here have that in wonderfully diverse ways.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to be annoying here and say it (and I'm not trying to start an argument or anything), but some of the first paragraphs are awefully long, like say a few backspaces turned three paragraphs into one. Writers, you are a crafty bunch.

Newbee said...

So Nathan, here's a question... What if you pick someone and they don't know which item they want as a prize? Will you help them choose the one that might benefit them the most with the stage they are at in their writing?

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