Crapometer qualifiying quiz

I've been trying to think of ways to thin the herd for the crapometer, and I'd like to weed out people who just drop in for the fun stuff and haven't been around long enough to know Miss Snark is not ms-erable.

As I was perusing the Murderati site this morning, the light bulb went on. Well, ok it was the light in the fridge when KY went to fetch more coffee beans but still...

We need a qualifying quiz.

The quiz goes up a week ahead of the opening bell.
If you pass the quiz, you get a qualifiying number to enter in the crapometer if you want.

You can take the quiz and NOT submit work of course, I wouldn't want to deprive of the fun of a quiz.

NOW...we need questions!!!

Feel free to comment or email.

Have at it.


judy said...

What do you call someone who scrubs incessantly?

Anonymous said...

A long creative narrative is called:

a. a fiction novel

b. a novel

Anonymous said...

You should start querying agents when

a. you have an idea

b. you have three chapters finished

c. you have a draft of the whole book

d. you have a draft and several revisions of the whole book

Angelika said...

Isn’t the beauty of Crapometer that it is accessible to everyone? I understand that it generates an intimidating number of responses, but could there be another solution?

I never have participated in the Crapometer, but I think it offers a great service to writers who don’t have someone in their life honest enough to say “this is unreadable,” before they have sent their ms to an agent. It seems to me the qualifying quiz might eliminate the participants who need Miss Snark the most.

Would it help to have a category along the lines of: “Too bad to post, you’ll thank me later,” for the truly messy submissions? Perhaps you could even let your most trusted Snarklings have a go at those entries.

I’m being a nitwit, probably. I'm just tired of seeing all the cool things in life change.

Anonymous said...

How long should you wait before contacting an agent to follow up on a query letter?

How long should you wait before following up on a requested full manuscript?

Carrie said...

What is the difference between a query and a synopsis? And where exactly is Rabbitania?

Marie said...

Question: How do I like to be addressed?

This one is sure to weed some people out.

2readornot said...

Address this query to

A. Ms. Snark
B. To Whom It May Concern
C. Miss Snark
D. Dear Agent

Dana Y. T. Lin said...

Multiple choice questions are good -

Miss Snark's lover-boy-toy is:

a. Danny Ocean
b. Dr. Doug Ross
c. George Clooney
d. George Burnett
e. All of the above
f. Quentin Tarantino

Anonymous said...

When submitting work, you should:
A: Follow guidelines
B: Disregard guidelines

KY is:
A: a jelly
B: a friend

Helen Ginger said...

Since you should not query multiple agents at the same agency at the same time, in order to make sure your letter gets passed to an agent who represents your genre, you should address your query to:

a. Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms. Agent

b. To Whom It May Concern

c. Oh Great Exalted Book Buyer

d. Miss Snark, since all agents know her and your letter will be forwarded

e. Nun of the Above, the patron saint of nitwits

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
type, monkey, type said...

Pretend you wrote one of the famous stories below. In X words or less, describe the plot of the book as you would to an agent in a query letter.

{list a bunch of well known books, movies, or cultural stories everyone is sure to know]

Elektra said...

1. What color is Killer Yapp's tam?

2. A group of Snarklings is called what?

3. Miss Snark is
a) a pack rat
b) a minimalist
c) a collector of mail-order
china plates

4. What, if any, relation are you to George Clooney?

5. Tomorrow's winning lottery numbers are?

Michael said...

One should stop editing when...
1. Others say so.
2. The writer feels the work is at its bestest.
3. The writer thinks he/she has become brilliant.

Michael said...

One should stop editing when...
A) Other dickholes proclaim, "This is wicked good."
B) The writer feels the work is at its bestest.
C) The writer has run out of whiskey.

Anonymous said...

What are the two primary pieces of information that should be in a query?

a. A plot

b. Information about the other books you want the agent to represent.

c. Your publishing credits

d. Gripping prose that explains all the background of the world you've created.

e. A paragraph about why you decided to start writing.

(I'd add "an SASE" but it's a quiz for a blog.) I'll presume the regulars here know the answers. ;-)

ORION said...

1. Who is "princess of the pixies"?

2. (yes or no) Is miss snark a link on your blog?

3. When Galley Cat is used in a 500 word short story is it legal to break it into two words or separate it by punctuation?

Anonymous said...

When printing your sample chapters, you should use:

a. the default font for your word processing program

b. the font requested by the publisher/agent

c. the font that best expresses the mood of each scene

d. Courier 12pt or Times New Roman 12pt

Anonymous said...

What trumps all?

Anonymous said...

Be sure to include with your submission:

a. Quotes about how much they love the book from your family members and friends;

b. A reading fee;

c. A photo of yourself;

d. Sample art work for your book's cover; or

e. An SASE

Anonymous said...

When querying an agent be sure to include the following:

1. A three page synopsis double spaced.
2. The first 50 pages
3. A sample of your writing
4. All of the above
5. None of the above

Brady Westwater said...

Tture or false questions, mulitple choice questions, five words or less answer questions - or full sentence answer questions?

You need to make certain this does not become a Crapomter ordeal of its own.

Sherry Decker said...

You have:
1. Only one adverb on the first page.
2. Two adverbs.
3. Three adverbs.
4. Go away.

Anonymous said...

An ideal manuscript submission is:

a. approximately 100,000 words

b. approximately 200,000 words

c. a stack of pages tall enough to use as a stepladder

Dave Kuzminski said...

e. None of the above because it's not a book until it's published. Until then, it's a manuscript. ;)

Anonymous said...

On this blog, Miss Snark will accept:

a. email queries
b. email queries plus the first five pages of your manuscript
c. no queries for your work
d. your email address so she may contact you about where to send your query letter

overdog said...

KY is:

a) King Yipper, Miss Snark's great dane.

b) the great state of Kentucky.

c) a famous literary poodle.

Anonymous said...

The proper way to address your query is:

a. Dear Ms. Snark

b. Dear Agent

c. Dear Mr. Snark Agent

d. Dear Miss Snark

cudd said...

Things that came to me fairly quickly are how people addressed you incorrectly, how people confused a description with a synopsis, and how people didn't understand a series of events doesn't equal a plot.

Jodi Meadows said...

How do you spell Miss Snark's name?


When you query Miss Snark, you should write:
a) Dear Miss Snark,
b) Dear Ms. Snark,
c) Dear Mrs. Clooney,
d) Dear Killer Yap,
e) You fool, you should not query Miss Snark because she doesn't accept queries from the blog.

archer said...

Check the best email opening:

[ ] Please tell your readers about the following contest. Entrance fee is $102.00. We accept PayPal.

[ ] Crapometer submission guideline? I don't NEED no stinking Crapometer submission guideline.

[ ] Attached is the complete MS of my science fiction novel novel.

[ ] My name is George Clooney and you are my most agitating heart's darling.

Mary Robinette Kowal said...

To double-space your manuscript means to:

a. place two spaces between each word.

b. have a blank line between each line of text.

c. adjust the kerning to 200%.

Ray Goldensundrop said...

What should a writer do on the first page?

a. Weep pitifully
b. Have a dream
c. Kill someone
d. Spray coffee

You might be a writer if:

a. You have a shredded dic
b. You have a shredded bic
c. You have a shredded pic
d. You have a shredded tic

ilona said...

1) The owner of this blog should be addressed as

a) Ms. Snark

b) Her Majesty

c) Sir

d) To Whom It May Concern

e) Poodalicious

f) None of the above

2) If a tree falls in the woods, while a gaggle of poodles simultaneously yowl at a black cat, what is the correct way to query Miss Snark regarding representation for your fiction novel?

a) Email

b) Snail Mail

c) Via Blogger Survey

d) What's a fiction novel?

e) I am not a nitwit

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking the questions should be what would an agent be looking for to even consider a query? Perhaps:

1. Have you completed your MS?

2. What is the word count to the nearest 1000 words?

3. What is the genre?

4. Why did you write this story?

The last question is really subjective, but my thought is an agent would want to see if the author has a passion for his or her story and is invested in it as he or she hopes the readers will be.

Now I have a question--I didn't send anything into this crapometer session because I do have an agent who is shopping my book, even though I could have benefited from your comments and/or scathing retort. It was due to my concern I could have negatively affected my agent's efforts. Am I all wet or did I do the right thing?

the green ray said...

The way to query Miss Snark is:
1)follow the email instructions on the right
2)send an email to Miss Snark
3)post a detailed comment about your book in the comments section
4)none of the above

whitemouse said...

If Miss Snark's guidelines read as follows:
Send a query and a one-page synopsis.
Then which of the following is the best submission for you, as an author, to make?

a) A query letter and a one-page, double-spaced synopsis

b) A query letter and a one-page, single-spaced synopsis

c) A query letter, five sample pages and a one-page, single-spaced synopsis

d) A query letter, the first chapter of the novel and a one-page, single-spaced synopsis

e) A query letter, the first chapter of the novel, and a synopsis that can be longer than one page provided that it adequately represents the book's entire plot

You recently queried Miss Snark and have just received a rejection letter. On the bottom of the rejection letter is a hand-written note that reads:
I loved your characters and dialogue, but your plot is weak and the physical descriptions were flat. Feel free to query me again for future projects.
In this scenario, which of the following is it acceptable for you to do? You may choose more than one answer.

a) Send her a note thanking her and query the next agent

b) Ignore her and query the next agent

c) Send her a note thanking her and ask for clarification of her comments so that you can make your next novel more to her liking

d) Use her comments to improve the novel you submitted and resubmit it to her

e) Use her comments to improve your next novel and submit it to her

(I'm sure every second Snarkling is going to suggest this one, but anyhoo)
When querying Miss Snark, which of the following is an acceptable form of address? You may choose more than one.

a) Dear Miss Snark,

b) Dear Ms. Snark,

c) Dear Snark,

d) Dear Agent,

e) To Whom It May Concern:

M E Hunt said...

You can submit your work to the Crapometer if the salutation on the query indicates knowledge of the agent/editors name and title.

a. Dear Ms Snark

b. Dear Miss Snark

c. Dear Agent/Editor

d. Yo, Snarky

E. Ann Bardawill said...

Have you ever been a member of the comma-ist party, or a grammar nazi youth?

Writerious said...

The "I have a modicum of a clue about what's going on with this blog" question set:

Miss Snark is:
a. an unpublished author pretending to be a literary agent in order take out her aggressions on other hapless unpublished authors.
b. an ill-informed bloviator and a floundering twit who spends all day on the internet.
c. an editor at a small press.
d. a literary agent who donates time out of her frentically busy day to assist hapless unpublished authors, so don't forget to say "thank you" once in a while.

Miss Snark's beverage of choice is:
a. Milk of Magnesia
b. Italian sodas
c. dry martini, shaken, not stirred
d. fresh-brewed green tea
e. gin, gin, and only gin

Killer Yapp, Miss Snark's faithful non-human animal companion, is a:
a. Doberman.
b. African Gray Parrot.
c. Maine Coon Cat.
d. Boston Terrier.
e. Poodle.

Killer Yapp wears:
a. nothing; he goes au naturel.
b. a spiked collar.
c. his breakfast.
d. an adorable sweater.
e. army boots.
f. a pink beret.

If you want to query Miss Snark,
a. email her at uranitwit@wtf.comma
b. leave a comment on any post asking for her address and email; she'll gladly post it.
c. post your entire novel in the comments of any post.
d. dont.

Anonymous said...

How about the first line of the query and/or the first line of the work?

Inez said...


1. Miss Snark loves The Bridge
of Madison County

2. Miss Snark supports the Sobol Award.

3. Miss Snark's favorite libation is
Ketel One.

Jane Doe said...

What is the proper way for snarklings to address the proud owner of Killer Yap?

desert snarkling said...

The proper way to query Miss Snark is:

a. A well-written, succinct letter
b. A detailed outline and the first three chapters
c. With a properly large bribe
d. Miss Snark doesn't take queries

M@ said...

Miss Snark takes queries, preferably by e-mail.

a. true

b. false

Bunneh said...

1. How much should you agree to pay your agent?

2. Fill in the blanks: __________ trumps ___________, every time.
a. Networking, scented query letters
b. Good writing, everything else
c. Chutzpah, hard work

3. What does SASE mean?
a. Stupid Arrogance Sells, Every time
b. Sleazy Agents Suck Eggs
c. Self Addressed Stamped Envelope
d. Snarklings Adore Snark's Eloquence

tlh said...

Editors are:

A. A necessary evil.
B. Not allouwed near MY novel! I dont' knead a editor -- only crapp writers do.
C. Helpful folks who want my book to succeed too and generally edit with that in mind.

Agents are:

A. Unnecessary evils. *I'll* make it the old-fashioned way -- through the slush pile in a few years. Per manuscript.
B. Vultures and scam artists. At least, my last three agents were and now I'm certain ALL agents must be.
C. Professionals who make money only when my book sells.

I take criticism:

A. Well. It stings, sure, but I swallow my pride and try to evaluate each comment fairly before deciding if I should incorporate it into my work.
B. Well. After all, what do those wannabes know? They just don't understand the greatness of my work. And I'll be certain to defend that greatness in exhaustive and, if necessary, vicious detail in any comment trail related to my work.
C. ...criticism? You want to... NOOO!!! No one must SEE my horrible crap!!! (Unless... you think it's good?)

Corn Dog said...

1) How do you address the Snark on this site?
2) She drinks what from a what?
3) Who's her dog?
4) Who's her honey?
5) What is the name of the 4 legger that makes comments occasionally?
6) Did you enter the last crapometer?
7) Were you selected?
8) Have you ever committed anything other than a misdemeanor? Please explain in the space provided.
(oops, wrong questionnaire)

Kirsten said...

Addressing Miss Snark by any other appellation:

a. Shows you're not intimated by her. Go for it.
b. Is a calculated risk. Best to review the archives to see what flies and what doesn't before you hit "send."
c. Is fine as long as the address you choose makes sense to you.
d. Is fine as long as you justify your choice in your query.
e. Why worry about it? "Miss Snark" is a pseudonym, after all. She can't be expected to fuss if you happen to muff it.

Anonymous said...

We could go all Monte Python? "What's the terminal velocity of a barn swallow?"

Anonymous said...

Who is Bat Segundo?

a. a literary podcaster
b. a cagefighter
c. soup ingredients

Jeb said...

Great idea! (not that I've ever been organized enough to try for the C-M)

The proper form of address for Miss Snark is:

a. Your Snarkiness

b. Miss Hair-on-Fire

c. Ms. Snark

d. None of the Above

Anonymous said...

True or Falsetto? Miss Snark is married to George Clooney.

Katrina Stonoff said...

When sending a query to Miss Snark, how should an author address her?

a) Dear Miss Snark:
b) Dear Ms. Snark:
c) To Her Most Esteemed Snarkiness:
d) HELLO?! I am not a nitwit!

Kafaleni said...

question 1. Are you a nitwit?

If they can't figure out the correct answer to that one, then you can dismiss them at the opening gate.

Yasamin said...

Not following agency submission instructions is:
A. Showing them how cool you are for defying the rules!

B. Definitely going to get your submission read immediately for being different.

C. Shows how much you pay attention.

D. Just Plain inconsiderate and will get your submission canned before being read.

wassup said...

Writers are:

a. Nuts

b. Certifiably nuts

c. Neurotic as hell

d. Riddled with angst and paranoia

e. Every stinking one of the above

Feisty said...

The first rule of writing is:

1. Drink a lot of gin.
2. Make everyone you know read and blurb your opus.
3. Put down other writers.
4. Extol all your virtues.
5. Learn to name drop.
6. Insult an agent whenever possible.
7. Break all the rules, what the hell. It worked for me.
8. Kiss up to all literary types.
9. Get a day job.
10.Get your ass in the chair and write something good.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bunneh said...

Jeb: You forgot one.

e. The Future Mrs. George Clooney

Anonymous said...

Just ask them if they spend their free time writing or reading Miss Snark's blog.

Chumplet said...

Miss Snark's alter ego gives favourable regard to queries that contain:
a)a well-written, one page query
b)five sample pages
c)a twenty-dollar bill
d)Clooney's private cell phone number
e)all of the above

Virginia Miss said...

Other commenters have already suggested most of my ideas. (Rabbitania, serial scrubbers, a group of snarklings, what trumps all, KY.) Here's one I didn't see yet:

For which expression has Miss Snark applied for a patent?

Anonymous said...

in the early weeks of the blog, Her Snarkiness mentioned living with a guy. True or False?

If true, why was he never mentioned again?
a. He got dumped so full attention could be given for stalking the Cloonster;
b. He was a figment of her vivid imagination;
c. Something unspeakably bad happened in the relationship and he was tossed into the briar patch, never to be mentioned again;
d. Killer Yap nipped his leg and he gave the Snarkster an ultimatum: "Either KY goes or I do!" and we know which one was shown the door.

Elektra said...

Mary Robinette, what's 'kerning'? It sounds like something you wouldn't want your mother to find out about.

Police Officer: Ma'am, we've caught your daughter, and I'm afraid she's been...kerning.

Mother: NO! Not kerning! Anything but that!

Police Officer: I'm afraid so. As you know, this is a serious offense against--well, frankly, all that is good and decent in this world. We're going to have to lock her up. In solitary confinement. Forever.

Miss Snark said...



NitWitness said...

Why not just require a query of XXX words or less, with a maximum of 25 hopefuls submitting by a deadline? Announce the start date of acceptance 2 days before it begins.

Reject the ones per the standard practice, which will help them to work on those skills. If necessary, let everyone know that X spots remain by another deadline.

Once the total of 25 are accepted, email acceptance with another deadline for them to submit whatever size MS you choose and close the submission.

If they can't make that deadline, too bad. Their not serious enough.

NitWitness said...

Oh, and please correct my spelling for 'their' (they're).

I am truly a nitwitness.

WitLiz Today said...

"Hi Ho the Dairy Oh": (Sing)

A quiz won't work. Repeat. They'll just goggle answers 'til they find the right one.

Ideally, prequalify them through writing, 25 words or less.

WitLiz Yada Word Count (30)

She's ooooouuuutttttt!!!!

Seriously, why narrow the entries down to those writers that follow Miss Snark's blog faithfully?

This should be open to all writers, even if they only heard about it five minutes to close time.

A writer is a writer. Stand on your own two feet and let your writing speak for you. If it's good, Miss Snark or her colleagues will find you! If it's good, the COM won't make one bit of difference whether you get representation.

This is a learning exercise. I can't tell you the number of times I sat on my ass observing my friends get up close and personal with great pianists like Alicia de Larrocha, or Mischa Dichter in Master Classes. But I still learned. In fact, my friends commented afterwards, that they were so nervous they didn't remember a word that was said to them.

If you need to cut down the size of the entries, then no harm and no foul to raise the standard of quality by asking for a tiny sample of writing.

Just my two cents worth.

xiqay said...

I agree with Angelika.

I thought the random choice worked well. I like the opt-out, "too bad to post, you'll thank me later" line, too.

(Although the quiz is fun, too)

Dee said...

oh dear, I'm in trouble, I don't remember the color of KY's tam...

btw, what about new people to the group, do they never get to submit to merciless flogging?

Ryan Field said...

1. What's the exact definition of the slush pile?

2. And, at the end of the day, when you see light at the end of the tunnel and you're about to scream like a banshee, when is it ever appropriate to use a cliche?

rick said...

Personally, I think the only thing the quiz does is increase your workload. My solution:

1. Ask a trusted minion to help you out.

2. Shorten the timeframe for submissions. If someone is serious and has a near-ready mss, they can be ready in six hours. This will weed out some of the submissions that really weren't ready for your time and energy.

3. Lay out your requirements. Your ball; your game.

4. Have the minion scan the entries. Any violation is cause for rejection without reading any further, that is, Miss Snark not addressed properly, length, jibber-jabber at the beginning of the submission that is not in keeping with a query, queries obviously longer than one page, etc.

5. Start at the top of the list that have passed through the minion and do the first one hundred, provided that one hundred survive.

6. Don't announce the exact start and end until the day before you plan to do it.

Harsh, yeah, but if the intention is to humor us and provide a service, the better the input (queries) the better the output (your reactions). There are some very funny people here, but I learn more from a good example than a loaded piece of crap.

My two cents.


randomsome1 said...

How many pails of gin, on average, will it take Miss Snark to make it through the entries for the crapometer?

In relation to what she goes through for the slush pile every week, this is:
a) more
b) less
c) she's had too many pails and doesn't quite remember

What gets Miss Snark's attention from the get-go?
a) a twenty attached to the query letter
b) a query letter attached to a case of high-shelf gin
c) George Clooney, naked
d) option c, with gin
e) starting your well-written piece with violence and mayhem

Now explain why your answer for the last question is the best one.

(No, I'm not good at taking myself seriously. Why do you ask?)

Sue said...

Actually KNOWING people who asked me if Miss Snark would read their work (as in "read for representation") AFTER I described the nature of this blog, I think a qualifying quiz is a fantastic idea, and, NO, I don't believe any of these NITWITS would google for answers.

And therein lies the solution to your problem, Miss Snark. You do not need Snarkling advice, you need to weed out NITWITS, so what you want is an "Are You a Nitwit?" Quiz. And you know better than any of us just what constitutes a nitwit, so design away, nitwits in mind.

flannerycat said...

Okay, if there must be a quiz, why not design it to weed out nitwits, but not newcomers? True, I'm not the one devoting hours and hours (and hours) of crit time to the Crapometer. But as a reader, I like the cross-pollination that happens when regulars, lurkers and newbies submit. I'm with Witliz on this--I don't care if they just showed up; it's the writing that interests me. Didn't we read somewhere that good writing trumps...what was it again? And if the writing's lousy, the snarking's still educational.
Thank you to everyone whose questions had me chortling so much my husband finally said, "You're having too much fun over there."

December Quinn said...

What is Miss Snark's first name?

Kim said...

If a tree falls in the forest and lands on a nitwit, does anyone care?

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I guess a quiz is one way of weeding people out, but I don't think you need to worry too much about being "fair". It's your blog - you can do what you like! Wouldn't it be a lot simpler to let anyone who wants to submit to the Crapometer, then just delete all the entries where they've addressed you as Mr Shark or where they're so completely clueless that a crit wouldn't serve any useful purpose? Then everyone wins: it's much more useful to us as readers to see the "nearly there" submissions, and you don't feel obliged to waste your time on crap that is beyond redemption.

Anonymous said...

"What is Miss Snark's first name?"


December Quinn said...

Seriously, why narrow the entries down to those writers that follow Miss Snark's blog faithfully?

This should be open to all writers, even if they only heard about it five minutes to close time.

Why not narrow it down to faithful readers? Because Miss Snark isn't a charity, that;s why, and if she'd like to narrow i down to people who've paid enough attention to make it less frustrating for her she has every right to do that.

Some of us have been for, every day, sometimes several times a day, for a long time. We've read and laughed and commented and supported Miss Snark for over a year or two years or whatever. Why shouldn't there be some acknowledgement of that loyalty? Why should she go through all the bother of doing the crapometer for a bunch of fly-by-nights who will likely never come back (like, I'm sure, a good 1/3 at least of those who subbed last time.)

Bottom line--it's her blog, and she can do the Crapometer--or not--as she bloody well pleases.

Elektra said...

Sha'el, I read in my very reliable Reader's Digest that there's in a word in Greek (I think it was Greek, anyway) that means "to gradually steal everything you like from another person's house by means of borrowing and never giving back."

Now that's a word that could come in handy.

Anonymous said...

Would it help to have a category along the lines of: “Too bad to post, you’ll thank me later,” for the truly messy submissions? Perhaps you could even let your most trusted Snarklings have a go at those entries.

The problem with this is that the entry still has to be read & evaluated to determine if, in fact, it is crap or not. Which leaves Miss Snark back at square one, which is what the whole weeding out process is supposed to eliminate.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elektra said...

It may very well have not been Greek. My memory is unfortunately rather sieve-like. But it was something. And that was the definition.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Could MS post only short (50 word or less) synopses of work, maybe 25 at a time, and let readers choose just 10 or 20 percent of those for inclusion in the crapometer? I'm thinking the ability to boil down a plot into 50 words might reflect accurately on ability to pen a decent tale. The percentage would be the percentage of planned reviews to anticipated submissions. Just a thought.... It would be work tracking votes for the top 5 or 10 in each batch of synopses, but it might not be too bad (suggests someone with no earthly idea of how that would track!).

Shalanna Collins said...

This is SUCH a great thread. I need that word that means "to steal by means of borrowing," and I like just about ALL the questions. But I'd add one:

1. Have you ever been arrested? For kerning?

I mean, all job applications have a variation on this. Some of them ask if you've been convicted of a felony. That might be a good one to add.

A likely method that'd work well is to have people submit a three-sentence synopsis of the novel's storyline. Or have them give the three-sentence blurb on the back of the book. If it says it's about the Eternal Human Condition, or it's about the injustices of life, then you'll know you don't want to read it because that's not what it's ABOUT . . . or is it? If they say "it starts with a ship blowing up and ends with a UFO landing and an invasion of Earth," then at least you know they know how to blow stuff up on page one.

A writing sample could be telling. Or it could be showing. (rimshot) Although all showing is also telling.

Anonymous said...

I agree with "witliz," that if you want good writing, you shouldn't exclude anyone for stupid reasons. So you ought not to penalize your brand new fans, but you definitely have a right to require that they understand your entry rules, the minimal quality of work required. Reading back topics on this website is a difficult task, particularly if one attempts to do it in chronological order. Searching isn't easy, so your new readers might have trouble.

And "sue" was right in suggesting that you want a Nitwit-excluder, a way of disqualifying fools.

But frankly, I think that you did it best this last time around (the only one I have seen being a relative newcomer myself) by making a random selection from total entries.

I found it hard work reading 100, so you must have been totally exhaused from the event. Pick a smaller number.

My two cents.

SamB said...

Although I like the idea of excluding nitwits, some nitwits are only nitwitty on the business part of the business and can actually write. Also, (and there is a German word for this) it is fun to see Miss Snark have at one of those nitwits. So, see better writing versus see more blood. Hmmm.