8.21.2006

Crapometer!-UPDATED

Well, we're closing in on the Crapometer. Last seen riding the roller coaster at Coney Island screaming "I was robbed! I was robbed" (shortly after seeing the results of this ) NYPD has dispatched the canine unit and the beach patrol to track it down, leash it and stuff it on the F train back to the 212.

Now comes the question: What do you want the crapometer to crunch?

Cover letters?
First pages?
Synopsis?
Something else?

There was an abundance of entries last time. Reality has intervened and there is going to be a limit on how many will get read and posted. Rather than just telling you, I'm asking for your ideas on how to make it open to people across 24 time zones fairly and how to choose or limit the entries.

Have at it!

Email is fine,
comment column is fine.
Skywriting at Coney Island, also fine.



UPDATE: i've got it figured out. Your comments were very helpful. More to come

Comments on this are now closed

74 comments:

Kafaleni said...

First pages, please, oh Snarkilicious one!

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

First 1000 words. Considering that my first page starts halfway down the page, I'd want something more. First 1000 words or to the end of the nearest sentence before 1000 words. That's my vote. yup. it is.

Gotta cookie? I need a cookie.

Phil said...

Definitely synopsis please! That's the most difficult thing to get right.

If you could post the announcement early in the (American) day then we peeps across the Atlantic would still be awake and blogging.

Green said...

Well, since we cannot have all of the above, I'll vote for cover letters!

Anonymous said...

Ah, Miss Snark, I'm all aflutter. First pages, please. Maybe a twenty four hour limit on a Sunday would help to keep your eyes uncrossed.

spongey437 said...

I would prefere it cover either synopses or cover letters - either would be fine.

Not sure how to make it fair as I know you will get a slew of these when you open it up.

srchamberlain said...

If it really is the writing that counts (and Miss Snark assures us that it is so), then first pages are the only choice.

Anonymous said...

I vote for the first three paragraphs. Because let's face it, that's all anyone needs to read to figure out whether they want to keep reading....

And that way the submissions will be shorter, so more people will get their chance.

srchamberlain said...

Oh, and as for choosing submissions, maybe it's better to take the best ones: those that would get past point 6 on TNH's infamous Slushkiller list. Anyone who's even been paying half-hearted attention here would probably know how to get past "Author has a moderate neurochemical disorder and can't tell when he or she has changed the subject. This greatly facilitates composition, but is hard on comprehension." Well, maybe.

delilah said...

I'm with Sha'el.

Cheryl Mills said...

Advance notice of date and time should give all global snarklings a chance. I have no idea about time zones, but I do know if I had to get up at 3am to send in my submission or forever be doomed to cluelessness, I'd set the clock.

I vote for synopsis, if only because EE is posting a stream of beginnings.

So how many are you gonna do? 50?

KLCtheBookWorm said...

I think I'm going to vote for first 1000 words too.

One submission per person in the set 24-hour submission day sounds fair.

Elektra said...

Cover letters, if you please--they seem most essential. If the entire MS is doomed, then a first page synopsis won't help much. A synopsis is generally only sent after you've piqued the agent's interest, and so receive more leeway. The query, on the other hand, gets scrutinized mercilessly, and the entire thing can be commented on.

Anonymous said...

First pages.

Jennifer Brinn said...

One way to limit it is to let those who have yet to have any material Crapometered go first. Then any available slots to go.

I'd be willing to take a shot at anything. If you are looking to keep it down, I'd say first page/first 250 words.

Bernita said...

First pages.

Carrie said...

First pages please.

sainthusker said...

Since the actual writing is the ultimate judge I vote for first pages. I like Sha'el suggestion but 1000 may be too much given your popularity. What about 500 or if you must 300. Please at least 300.

Elektra said...

Perhaps a raffle sort of thing? A 24 hour window for everyone to send in their submission, and then you choose 50 numbers at random--whoever submitted in that order (like 5th if your number is five) gets COM'ed

Red Dorrian said...

First pages.

mark said...

EE is posting a stream of beginnings, but also not commenting on them, generally speaking.

I vote for pages. First 500 seems like a nice compromise between our possibly languid openings and Miss Snark's sanity.

As for fairness to all submissions, it seems like the best thing to do would be for Miss Snark to simply ignore the ones she has nothing to say about either way.

word verf: pmnfisk: what Cincinnati Reds fans were heard muttering after Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.

Anonymous said...

First PAGE--not PAGES. 1000 words is much more than I would read, personally, if the first 250 sucked.

Waylander said...

First page, first 500 words, whatever you think you can handle.

Anonymous said...

First 300 words.

Jessica said...

I vote for first pages, Miss Snark. Thanks!

Nate said...

I'd be excited to submit any of those choices if I could find my way post my one stumbling block: how the heck do I post a comment? They always vanish when I try. MS, do you preview them and decide which go up? Perhaps I must use a keyword in order for your auto-deleter to allow my post? Here, I'll cover my bases: KY, dog, snark, gin, stiletto, yanno, Clooney.

P.S. I just must know: it is pronounced CRAP-o-meter or crap-OMM-eter? :)

Jellybean said...

First page.

You are going to get completely bombarded. There is no way to keep it fair. Set some tough limits, and tough nuts to those who don't get picked. Otherwise you are going to be stuck critiquing 2,879 submissions.

Anonymous said...

First page/500 words.

Kerlee said...

First page, or first three paragraphs. 24 hours should be enough--maybe.

December Quinn said...

First pages. It's the thing I worry about most.

I'd agree with the "anyone who's never participated before" idea, but I don't know if you keep track of that. I think most of us could be trusted with the honor system, really.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see first page, since my query gets tons of bites but no hooks when I send pages.

As for all timezones being equal, just announce it at Midnight, GMT. That's when all the good stuff happens!

Anonymous said...

As to making it fair...24 times zones, 4 from each zone...that would be 96...then random pick the last 4 to make an even 100.

everbloom said...

Synopsis please. Could we have a 24 hour warning, and then 48 hours to submit, one submition per person?

E. Ann Bardawill said...

First pages!

Rachel said...

I'm with the first 500 words or first page camp, but to be honest, I'd be really happy with any of the three choices since I've not yet had the opportunity to go through the Crapometer.

I have been to the blog once or twice in the past, but over the past week I've become a dedicated Snarkling, including reading each and every one of the archived posts. Whew! I'm so glad I got done in time for the Crapometer, and now I'm gonna be obsessing about what to submit. That's a good thing though. I will always be obsessing about something, I'd rather it be the Crapometer than 'will Veronica and Logan find true love this season'. Yanno.

Lauren said...

First page or 250-300 words, whichever comes first.

The way to choose fairly is to open it up for 24 hours (48 would work too). Then take the number of submissions divided by the number you are willing to do (let's say, for sake of argument, you get 500 submissions and are willing to do 50). Choose every fifth one.

Maya said...

First 300 words. Any more than that would be onerous and cut down on the number of entries read.

Kristal Shaff said...

First page would be great

Rachel said...

Oh, and I agree with the idea to let people who've never been through the Crapometer go first. Although I realize there's no way to regulate that. Sigh. But since I've never been, I'd LOVE to get the chance this time.

Anonymous said...

How about the ten BEST first pages, the ten WORST first pages, and a critique telling us why?

ORION said...

The first 300 words and allow Miss Snark to self select so it is a learning experience for all. I would also get up at 3 am to post.
Agent Kristin has already posted some darn good query letters and I agree...
It's the writing stupid!!! (to paraphrase Bill Clinton)

Anonymous said...

First page

blncbqpc said...

1st page or 1st 500 words (2 pages) max. thank you!

Dixie said...

First pages please. Somewhere between 500 - 1000 words would be great but first 500 would be good.

I'd say either (a) Snark's choice or (b) Random selection (So much of life is random, isn't it?)

24 hours would be generous but now that we have fair warning the Crapometer is on the way 12 would be fair too.

Jessica said...

First pages, please. The combination Crapometer and Snarkovision will be a memorable lesson. (Shouting from Coney Island, here....)

BuffySquirrel said...

First pages, please :D. I know EE is doing those, but he's making his minions do all the work.

I don't think there is any way to make it fair. And hey, life's not fair anyway.

How about using sneakemail to limit the entries? Post a sneak addy, wait until you have so many entries, then delete that addy. No more entries sent to that addy will then be received. Although that sounds almost like more work than just picking some at random.

Pismo Clam said...

Yet another vote for page one.

Did anybody give that pixie a cookie?

kitty said...

FIRST PAGES, s’il vous plaĆ®t.

Kimber An said...

I think I'll just be a spectator to this one. It's less painful to learn from the mistakes of others.

Anonymous said...

What to cover
first choice synopses. These are the devil to write. And EE is covering both queries and first pages (150 words) now (although his minions comment on the first pages. He rarely disects those.)

How to be fair--I don't care as long as you do mine!!

Maximum word length-1000 words. (Your suggested limit for a synopsis.)


second choice first pages (up to 250 words). Since EE doesn't actually comment on these, your words would be very appreciated. And it would be less reading for you than the synopses (ever-thoughtful snarkling says).

how to be fair-pretty much the same answer. But in a more practical vein-open the hotlines for a full 48 hours. Require title and genre listing (not included in the word count). And then choose (any way you want). Try to spread them out across genres.

And thank you for considering that you'd do this again and for your patience, humor and snarkiness.

mkcbunny said...

First page.

Two days' notice would be nice.

Would it work to have two separate start/deadline periods? For example, first window begins at 2 p.m. EST and stops when you reach the 200 mark. Wait a day, then set another window beginning at 2 a.m. EST, ending when you have another 200. Total 400 [or whatever total your gin pail can handle].

Submissions don't count if they come in early. Entrants can't submit more than once.

Bill Peschel said...

I agree -- as a Crapometer contestant -- that those who didn't get to play the first time should get a shot.

I don't think there's a fair way to give people around the world a shot, so the raffle might be the best way to go. 24 hours, announced in advance, then pick at random however many you feel you can take.

If you like, post some more without comment to let the rest of us dogs bark.

smartass said...

Cover letter? First page? Those are simple compared to the damn synopsis! Cover letter: Dear ---, I have a 75,000 word suspense novel and I'd love you to read it and represent it. First chapter and synopsis are enclosed. I've been published (here) and (here) and (here). A self addressed stamped envelope is also enclosed. I look forward to hearing from you. First page: (well if you haven't figured that part out, you're in deep sh*t. I vote for SYNOPSIS!!

M. G. Tarquini said...

First 150 words.

Because we're supposed to hook 'em right away. Put out the call on a Sunday, or a Saturday. 7 in the morning, or 7 in the evening, whichever is convenient for you. Give it a four hour window. Then people on the either side of the globe are likely to be checking blogs.

But - first 150 words. Save your eyes. And your sanity.

Talia Mana said...

I vote for something that is relevant for both fiction and non fiction.

I think the first page is less useful for NF

I vote for the synopsis

Tami said...

Since I've never participated, I'd love to this time around. I vote for first page(s) or whatever u can handle!

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Forget that "let newbies go first" stuff! Princesses, squirrels, goats, disaffected youth, Greek goddesses and other assorted snarklings should have precedence!

Ok, so maybe not. But I had to say it. I haven't really provoked anyone today. Just thought I'd give it a good shot.

Anonymous said...

First 1000 words. And to make it fair have grandmother Snark read the first sentence of each and only pick the ones that grab her interest.

Anonymous said...

First 300 words. Have everyone choose a # between 1-20 or so and put at top of page. Then like a draft-board officer you could pull a # (or even 2)from a hat--those are the winners.

Oh bother, my verification is poop!

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see first pages. Also think it is reasonable for you to pick the ones that will best provide an example - rather than feeling like you need to address every post you get.

I appreciate your fairness, but also would like to respect your time.

-c- said...

I suggested before you read first pages as if you were actually reading your slush, and stop right where you would stop, and explain why. I don't know if that would be helpful to others, or too stingy, but it sure would be helpful to me. It would probably go a lot faster, too.

whitemouse said...

I'm going to say query (cover) letter, but it sure looks like I've been outvoted already.

As to fairness, several people have suggested methods that sound good to me. They seem to be variations on: take all-comers and then randomly choose one less than the number that would cause you to set your hair on fire.

I really liked the idea of taking a set number from every hour that the contest is open, to give a fair shot to those living in time zones wildly different from New York's.

Sonarbabe said...

I say the first pages (250 words)

24 hours

The Practical Vampire Slayer said...

First pages, please.

Anonymous said...

First pages. Evil editor posts them, and asks his minions to continue the scene, but I would like to see some added snarky comments to first pages.

Termagant 2 said...

First page, please. To paraphrase one of B Clinton's minions: "It's the WRITING, stupid!"

T2, Crapometer Virgin

(PS, it's gotta be Crap-OMM-etter, please say that's how it's pronounced or I'll look like a bigger prat than I already do)

Talia Mana said...

i think... pick the worst and the best to put on the website for comment/evaluation. we only need to see 10 of each to get the idea of what works and what doesn't

doing all of them would definitely be too much. it was hard enough reading 80+ poems...

angie said...

First page, por favor! I also like the idea of advance notice of when the submission window opens. Oh, and thanks for doing this. The first crapometer is legendary - and was before I found this blog!

writtenwyrdd said...

First pages please! This will be my first opportunity to be crap-o-metered!

Dana Y. T. Lin said...

I vote for first sentence.

*RUNS*

No, seriously, first 300 words or so.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see something with the first 200 or 500 words, but with more advanced writers. I want to see how to get from good to better--the finer nuance of craft which is so often forgotten on the web. There is so much out there for the beginner, we don't need more.

I would like to see the more advanced samples deconstructed, make it more of an intermediate/advanced writing discussion. Please.

Thanks.

Jean said...

I'd suggest either a one-page synopsis or the first 500-1000 words (how many does it typically take for you to know for sure you do or don't want to read more?).

To be as fair as possible across 24 time zones, consider announcing in advance a start time for accepting entries as well as the number to be accepted in 212 (Eastern Time Zone) time -- perhaps midnight on a given day -- and delete all entries received before that time and after the number is reached. That way, people across the world will know when the Crapometer opens and can plan accordinging to prepare entries -- no matter what their personal time.

Thank you for doing this.

Anonymous said...

The snot nosed writer would like to see the first pages.

He thinks 5 to ten should do it. I bet you think less.

Eika said...

I don't think you'll get too overworked if you only take 1 entry per person, for 24 hours. And I'd like the first page- or close enough- please. Good writing trumps all, so we should try our hand at keeping you happy with THAT.