Friday, May 23, 2008

A Novel Contest

The following conversation takes place in the comments section of the Stupendously Nice Agent’s Blog, who’s graciously offered up his time to host yet another contest for the benefit of his readers.

The Coolest Writer Ever: Wow! You are the nicest guy ever and I love your blog. You are at the tip top of my must query agents list....

(Insert self described brilliance that is my entry)

Newbie Learning: What a great opportunity. I’ll try my hand at this. Best of luck to all of the entrants.

(Insert carefully written entry here)

Joe Writer: Cool, thanks for hosting!

(Insert entry here)

Been There Done That: Great contest. So far, I like Joe Writer’s entry best, but Newbie’s shows a lot of promise... can’t wait to read all the entries.

(Insert awesome entry here)

Over 150 entries with various degrees of proficiency follow. Some with lovely notes of gratitude, others with comments and kudos to other entrants.

The Coolest Writer Ever: Stupendously Nice Agent Guy, Not to complain or anything, but many of these entrants have not adhered to the rules of this contest... and some of the anonymous ones are posting second and third entries – I can tell because I’m brilliant and their writing style is obvious. I think you should disqualify the ones not playing fair... notice that I played fair, I did, I did...

(The Coolest Writer Ever) now posting as Anonymouse: Yeah! I agree with The Coolest up there! We put a lot of time and energy into following the rules. You should delete all the people who didn’t! If you’re not going to run a fair contest it doesn’t bode well for your reputation as a professional.

Stupendously Nice Agent: Okay, let’s all settle down. This is really just a fun blog exercise.

Many more entries mount and the final count ends at about a bazillion... give or take, discounting the anonymous sniping in comments, as other anonymice have followed suit as trolls are apt to do when they smell blood in the blog queue.

The Major Cool Finalists for the Awesomely Fabulous Contest are announced

Comments add up with various blog followers and contestants alike, voting for their favorites and generally thanking the host with bloggy jokes and kudos for all... and then...

(The Coolest Writer Ever) still posting as Anonymouse: Well, forgive me for being the lone voice of reason, but half of these finalists didn’t follow the rules. One used cliché imagery and another couldn’t master proper English. I saw many entries that were far better written than these... take for instance, The Coolest Writer Ever’s – now hers was well done. I think this contest is crap.

Joe Writer: Hey, Anon, take it easy. It was just a contest and no one twisted your arm to play. Personally, I want to thank Stupendously Nice Agent for taking the time to host.

(The Coolest Writer Ever) still Anon: Joe Writer, nobody asked you and you’re just a suck up anyway! So there!

Anonymous (this one a miscellaneous troll who just likes the drama): I AGREE WITH THE FIRST ANONYMOUS!!! “It was just a contest...” – It might’ve been just a contest, but the prize was world domination! You can’t flaunt that under our desperate attention seeking noses and not expect a little argument when the contest wasn’t fair!

(sulks back into corner and sends off another two thousand form queries in the hopes of selling his major masterpiece that hasn’t yet been written but some ‘professional’ out there must certainly realize his brilliance...)

Stupendously Nice Agent: Sorry for the trouble all. I was just trying to be nice, but I’m getting a little tired of putting in thousands of hours of spare time only to be denigrated by people I’m trying to help. I think that’s it for the contests.

Disclaimer and Explanation: This little parody is in response to Precie’s Novelty contest. To add insult to injury, I went over her word count – so, Ha!

I hope the Stupendously Awesome Agent whose blog contest I used as inspiration does not take offense. The truth is, I think the agents who take their time to blog and discuss the ins and outs of their end of the business are more awesome than words can say. There has never been a better time to learn the craft of writing, and it’s because they are taking time out of their very busy schedules to put information out there that we never would have had prior to hitting publication before.

For those of you anonymice stopping by to read this – it may not matter to you, but you’re ruining it for everyone else. I don’t know if you believe in karma, my friend, but you do reap what you sow... and even if you don’t believe that, use enough common sense to realize that you can’t learn anything when you think you’re always right.

That concludes my parody for today... Hope you all enjoyed it.


moonrat said...

how about anonyrats?

awesome job :)

Merry Monteleone said...

Hey Moonie,

Now rats are a different story altogether :-)

I draw a distinction between anon professionals, like you and Miss Snark, who conduct your online presence with the same integrity you'd show using your name...

But I think you already know that.

Thanks for stopping and I'm glad you liked it!

Mary Witzl said...

Ooh, I know which contest you're talking about and I haven't even peeked at your links!

I looked, I was sorely tempted, I looked again and read a little and strongly considered -- then I backed away, overwhelmed. I feel like the country mouse gazing in awe at the glittering china and crystal on the table, the tasty cheese and mouth-watering savory sauces. No way am I going to get a bite of that with the competition so fierce. Besides, a cat will probably appear and send me squealing off...

Sigh. I'm in an Eeyore mood again. Why are there so many talented writers out there? Why can't more of them just write crap?

Travis Erwin said...

Nicely written post.

One jack ass in the crowd can ruin it for everyone else. And you are right, Karma has a sharp set of teeth. Let's hope she uses them.

Merry Monteleone said...

Oh, Mary,

Don't be in Eeyore mood! Seriously, you are one of the good ones! Besides, I think the best way to look at it is that other writers who are brilliant can teach you more about language. I don't think we're really in a competition with other writers so much as with ourselves... our success or failure lies primarily in our own ability to persevere and grow. (Check back with me on this little diatribe if I'm STILL not published in another ten years... I might've gotten cynical by then)

I think you should put it out there anyway - these contests don't really judge who has merit to publish - there are too many other variable at play - I think they're just a great way to get a better feel for your own writing and what works, both for you and others.

Hi Travis,

It is always the one or two bad apples, isn't it? He mentioned at one point in that thread that perhaps there shouldn't be a prize, and what a shame that would be for the winners...

Come on, karma! Mwa-ha-ha...

jjdebenedictis said...

Very cool post, and I totally agree--Nathan is a stupendously nice and awesome human being, and it's so irritating to see people make comments about his professionalism after he's been perfectly generous.

Snivelling I can sorta understand, but not that lack of gratitude.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi JJ,

I agree with you, totally. And every consecutive contest seems to get a bit worse with the anon snipers. I don't know if you read pubrants much, but she's had a nasty troll over there for a few months now. It's really annoying because it turns the whole comments section into flaming, and the comments section used to be half the fun of agent blogs - so many of the writers will normally give out great links and information, and that's how I've found most of my favorite bloggers.

It is what it is, I guess. Nathan's great to take up so much of his time hosting contests like this. I just hope he doesn't get discouraged by all the rabble rousers.

Ello said...

Good job! Why is it that there always some idiots ready to ruin it for everyone else?

And by the way, I hope you will help promote the event I am having on WEdnesday. It would mean alot to me!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Mary today. Blegh. I did not enter the...ah, unnamed agent's contest....for similar reasons.

And I think you should be completely, horribly mortified to have exceeded the word count on Precie's contest - my GOD woman can't you read the RULES?

(TOTALLY a joke, Merry. Completely. Sorry, my humor meter is out of batteries - I need a spa day....*grin*)

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Ello,

I will definitely promote for that - it looks excellent... I'm going to post an announcement here, probably tomorrow or tuesday and leave it front and center til your event... and I'll drop links in a few places that might miss my blog but really enjoy the event...

Hi Aerin,

I think your sense of humor is fabulous. There's been more than one contest that I've stayed out of because I wasn't in the mood... or did't feel like the drama ;-)

Stephen Parrish said...

Nathan appears to have become the most popular blogging agent since the retirement of Miss Snark. The more visible you are, the better target you become for people who want to shoot arrows.

Of all his readers, a handful disagreed with his methods and one questioned his professionalism. I think that's a remarkably good result. Imagine a political candidate with equivalent popular appeal.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Stephen,

Now there's an interesting way to look at it. And that's true, too, most readers just love him.. It's hard not to, he's so nice.

It's the few that ruin it for everyone, though... just like the agents who've stopped responding to e-queries unless they're interested... a few of them have stated publicly it's because too many unprofessional writers have responded to rejections with flaming hate email.

Josephine Damian said...

Merry: I think Nathan should limit future contests to just one day - and not allow any anonymous comments - that way there'd be no cheating by submitting more than one entry, and it would cut down on the sniping.

I only entered cause Stuart got all wussy about posting foul language - so I just posted mine more to poke fun at him - I have a snowball's chance in hell in Nathan liking anything I write.

Any news on your end? Did you send out that short story you were working on? The stalker guy?

Stephen Parrish said...

just like the agents who've stopped responding to e-queries

Great example. I've been on the receiving end (if that makes any sense) of no-reply rejections. Probably everyone reading this blog has too. On one hand I think the agent should reply; I deserve an answer to my carefully prepared query. On the other hand I fully appreciate what agents have to put up with.

But I didn't make the agent become an agent. I didn't twist David Gernert's arm. I didn't grab Nathan Bransford by the hair and force him to blog and run contests.

(You see how I slipped mention of Nathan's hair into this comment?)

When you step up and declare, "I'm a literary agent," you implicitly accept everything that goes along with being a literary agent. Including retaliatory responses from disgruntled wannabes. It's part of the job.

And if you step up and declare, "I'm a literary agent who blogs," you invite wingnuts to question your professionalism and hairdo.

Sorry to hijack your blog with my diatribe. You're a peach. Go Cubs!

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Josie,

Much the same as you, I posted for fun - my writing and Nathan's taste don't run the same, so I never expect to win entering his contests... still, it's usually a lot of fun to pick through entries and this time it was a good exercise in limiting word count.

I revised, again, after the last post on that short and then put it to the side. I came to the realization that my ms needed a revision before I continued with the querying process, so that's what's been taking my time. I'm doing the re-read this weekend and then I'm letting it cool for a week while I do a bit more research on agents. I plan to read through the short then and start submissions on that at the same time.

You're going to be on bloggy hiatus, but I'll drop you an email if I make any headway while you're away. Thanks for asking.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Stephen,

That was, in no way, a blog hijacking! Feel free to vent here, anytime.

It is frustrating and there are a number of agents that won't respond simply because they don't want to take the time, I'm sure. But at least some of them came to the conclusion that, 'hey, this part of my job doesn't make me any income so why am I doing it when x percent of writers will send me back flaming email'... I don't necessarily think it's great that these agents don't respond, especially to email because you always have to wonder whether or not they received it... but still, the knuckleheads annoy me because I think things could be a lot more pleasant for everyone if they'd all just decide to be something other than aspiring writers.

See, there, I ranted back... my blog is perfect for venting, isn't it?

Oh, and the Cubs? Have you been watching? Can you get games where you are? I am loving Geovany Soto! Seriously, he is soooo awesome. Great offensively, though not the best defensive catcher ever, he's still awesome... and I'm going to the game on Thursday, hopefully I won't need a winter coat.

Go Cubs!

Demon Hunter said...

One idiot certainly tried but didn't ruin it. Nathan is great! :*) And offers such greta information and insight.