Crapometer Status

That's all for a while (today I mean)

some of you are getting comments zapped becuase you're suggesting doing nice things.
Avoid that at all costs. Miss Snark is doing this for her own selfish reasons. Anyone caught saying Miss Snark is "nice" or "good" will be consigned to the scullery with Grandmother Snark while she peels onions.

Meanwhile, if you want to see what other people are doing on THEIR weekends instead of staring into the computer screen, Bella Stander has some pics.


delilah said...

Okay, how about this:

Miss Snark is the Wicked Witch of the North who has flown in on her broomstick to tear poor little snarklings asunder for her own evil pleasure.

Do I get zapped for that? (Even though I crossed my fingers while I typed it?)

Katie said...

How about:

Miss Snark has been banned from forty-four restaurants within a two-mile radius of her office, because she insisted that she and Killer Yapp be given a central table from which they can pinch (or nip at; decide for yourself who does which) the behinds of hunky busboys as they passed.

And in place of a tip, they leave a note that says "there's no such thing as a fiction novel."

Cruel, cruel, cruel.

cm allison said...

Ah, but I am one of those few who are SO mean they can peel and dice onions and NOT shed tears, the onions weep instead! If it wasn't for the fact I love dogs, (cats! because they are my familiars) and horses there would be no redemption for me!

mysteryfan said...

Just a general observation from a Snarkling who has no desire to write fiction and no book to flog,

Miss Snark is a doggone saint to read all this crap and give constructive comments. We're nearly 200 entries in, and only a handful have shown basic writing competence, let alone a compelling story. See what I mean--has Miss Snark said anything half that mean? No. But I would. That's why I've restrained myself from commenting.

I wonder how much some of you READ.
A lot of the writing is so awkward that it seems as if the author has little exposure to good writing.

Hypergraphia said...

Yes, she is something to have to read (I mean, be willing to read) all of those hooks! And thanks to whomever posted what KY stands for....I was thinking KY jelly, but didn't want to announce my ignorance...like I just did...

Anonymous said...

"...a Snarkling who has no desire to write fiction and no book to flog..."

Look, you're either a snarkling OR a lurker who doesn't write. You can't be both, pal!

Writerious said...

The trouble, mysteryfan, is that reading and writing are two very different things, and use different parts of the brain. I see this in grade school kids (or heck, even my college students) who are fluent readers but can't put a coherent sentence together to save their lives.

There's also the fact that "writing" means both the simple act of putting words on paper, and composing something magnificent. People write every day when they compose a grocery list, type an email, blog, enter a chat room, etc. Because they do this everyday writing so easily, sometimes people form the impression that writing, as in creating a novel, must be as simple, thinking: Hey, anyone who passed third grade can write, right?

So even people who are well read may not write well. It takes a conscious effort to not only read, but to study what one is reading and translate that to the written word.

M. G. Tarquini said...

Hoo boy! When Miss Snark really gets her gin on, many descriptors come to mind. 'Nice' ain't one of 'em.

angie said...

"Miss Snark is a doggone saint to read all this crap and give constructive comments."

Not arguing with that, but there's a good reason why it's called the Crapometer...and why we're glad for every wtf?! as well as the bingo, bango, bongos. Learning...always learning.

BuffySquirrel said...

Hah, only getting their comments zapped? A fie upon such a measly punishment.

Xiqay said...

Some people thought you were doing this out of the goodness of your heart? How ridiculous. I thought it's because you're crazy. Really, I can recognize crazy. There's such in my family.

But the thought from this message post is that you might be evil. What? Are you storing up the more horrendous slush entries so you can whip them out at your next conference and eviscerate some poor slob by comparison?

Nah, you're just crazy. Face it. The gin has pushed you over the edge. (Or maybe Killer Yap, while out chasing squirrels, made you run over that same edge in your stilettos.)

Back to work, now! :-)

Anonymous said...

Miss Snark undertakes an enormously charitable endeavor, of great benefit to people she's never met, nor likely cares to. But all is not as it seems. The seeming generosity masks a deep secret of selfish motivation that will forever change the world's ecology, economy, balance of power, and even quantum physics. There's something big in it for her...big enough to sacrifice sleep, sanity and holiday R&R.

Now there's a hook.
bingo bango bongo

B.E. Sanderson said...

I thought as much. Good for you.

And thanks. I'm getting a lot out of your selfishness. =oD


Anonymous said...

I agree with 'mysteryfan'

I have scanned most all of the 185 entries. How many did I find compelling?


Before you gripe at me, this number is close to the 1-2% slushpile rule often tossed about.

Dave said...

I actually enjoy the breaks for eating dinner, writing christmas cards, greeting the three ex-wifes and the half-dozen illegitimate kids I have.
Plus, I like to sleep.
And I have to cook Christmas Eve dinner, too

Anonymous said...

LMAO! It only took you a little over 100 words to get that out mysteryfan. Your comment didn't interest me in the slightest. Hope you can come up with more than that. Also, you get a bit redundant at the end. Heck, you were just rying to make a small point; the writing dissapoints you. Now condense a book. ;)

KingM said...

Just a general observation from a Snarkling who has no desire to write fiction and no book to flog...(snip)...I wonder how much some of you READ.

A lot of the writing is so awkward that it seems as if the author has little exposure to good writing.

With all due respect, you are falling into the trap that many would-be writers do. Because anyone can string together two sentences, they think that anyone can easily write good fiction.

As I wrote on Backspace when people were talking about the Crapometer, the stuff may be bad, but I'm willing to bet that a lot of the bad writing comes from younger and/or beginning writers. Most of these people will scratch the writing itch and move on, or get discouraged, or otherwise drop away. The ones who read a lot, write a lot, and are otherwise interesting and intelligent people will someday write good stuff. I recently found something I'd written way back when, during my naive early phase, and it was at least as bad as the stuff people are running up the flagpole at Snark Central.

Just like learning to play the piano, writing well is something that takes years of practice and a lot of blistered fingertips. The only difference is that most beginning pianists don't think they can play Carnegie Hall after a single lesson or two. That's more or less what we attempt as writers.

Zany Mom said...

Miss Snark has selfish reasons for hosting the Crap-O-Meter? Say it ain't so!!

Actually this has helped me more than I thought. Not only has it made me realize the problems with that first novel (which I submitted here), but I've also seen how I can flesh out novel #2, which was lacking a cohesive plot. And the icing on the cake was discovering a whole new hook for a book not yet written.


Thanks, Miss Snark!

::ZanyMom retrieves paring knife and heads to the scullery:: Good thing I like onions!

Tulie said...

"I wonder how much some of you READ."

You must hang out here for a reason, Mysteryfan. By all means, show us what you can do.

MichaelPH said...

I lost patience, how many winners have there been? 25? That's not a very high %. Those stilettos have bloodstains for sure...

Saying "I burnt food" when your mouth is full: ibyrtfu

Dave Kuzminski said...

If it wasn't for hacks like me, no one would know who was a good writer. ;)

McKoala said...

And we're still all having a good time.

Well, I am.

Anonymous said...

What mysteryfan said.

The illiteracy is overwhelming. I get mad when Miss Snark praises one of the illiterate submissions, and I feel the need to go bite something--or, preferably, someone. Grr, yip!


word ver: iiser. Or ma'am, in this case.

Anonymous said...

O hell, Snarkles! Please protect yourself from exhaustion.

And when you peer into the pond of gin and vermouth, captured by a round mouth of thin glass, and regard the small gems of light playing senselessly there, listen as you lift that microscopic world to lay fire upon the forests of your tongue. For there you may hear a small cry. 'Snarkles! Snarkles!' But alas, I have cried in vain. You will not look away.

Remember this Snarkles!

Laura K said...

HAH! I know the secret...Miss Snark is not nice at all, it's just that her family is even more dysfunctional than mine. This way she not only has an excuse to avoid holiday functions ("sorry, I made this commitment and I didn't realize it was going to take so long") and if she is FORCED to go, she can tell amusing stories of the crap that's gone through the crapometer. (The more gin, the more amusing the stories are.)

Zonk said...

With all due, and required, respect to Her Luminous Majesty, the Great and Noble Snark (may She never be Jumped), I must confess:

I don't trust the Crapometer.

What are its units of measurement? Its depth and capacity? And shouldn't one hope for a low score? For such a foul-sounding device, the quality of the writing should (it seems to me) be in inverse proportion to the score...

Further, what Perfumed, Coiffed and Stillettoed Agent would condescend to invite a deluge of queries that require measurement by such a faecalotron? Or desire to spend time wading through such a multitude of malodorous missives?

The whole thing skunks.


I wish the contestants good luck, and The Snarkosity a good carpet and drape cleaning company.

Auntie Penultimate said...

There are two things to look for: good writing, and good storytelling. Seems to me the hook is mostly about the good storytelling. It's more important than good writing, because good storytelling sells better. Both is best, of course, but not an easy combo to come by.

I think I know what Miss Snark gets out of this. She gets the hope that a little time investment now will produce a more interesting slush pile in the long term. Or maybe she just likes typing WTF over and over ;)

katiesandwich said...

Auntie Penulitmate:

Who doesn't like typing WTF over and over? :)

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Words fail me at this juncture! I'm learning and taking notes.

Jeez...I'm afraid to say thank you because my DH would rather play with his hunting knives than sharpen my paring knife. And my sinuses are bad enough without adding onion aromatics!

Miss Audrey said...

I first came to this blog site about this time last year. I didn't enter the crap o meter that was offered at the time because I was concerned that Miss Snark would eat me for lunch. I didn't trust that she would judge work kindly. I was so wrong. She has earned both my respect and my trust. My hat is off to her. She may be cut and dry, but she is compassionate, no matter what she says. If I have to go peel onions then someone better give me a mask to wear and some tissues. I use paper onions myself...

dustywriter said...

We ought to be careful. Remember what happened to the Baker?

Perhaps Miss Snark *is* a Boojum.

In the midst of the words he had started to say/In the midst of his laughter and glee/He had softly and suddenly vanished away/For the snark *was* a Boojum, you see.

MWT said...

An ability to read well is completely not related to an ability to write well. People who are attempting to write will often completely forget what it's like to be the average reader browsing in a bookstore, for example. The average reader, meanwhile, isn't consciously analyzing things like word choice, structure, or flow while they read; it either works for them or it doesn't.

On an unrelated note ... someone somewhere mentioned enjoying the 30 minutes a day they're taking to read this crapometer marathon. I'm in awe of their reading speed, as it's taken me more like 6 hours (including the comments and the writing of comments). I'm very glad I'm not in Miss Snark's shoes. :)

Anonymous said...

Kind of like:

So the Snark found the verdict, although, as it owned/It was spent with the toils of the day:/
When she wrote the word "BINGO!" the snarklings all groaned/And some of them fainted away.

nitwitness said...

I'm disappointed, Miss Snark. :(

Babs would have read ALL the hooks the first day, accepted everyone as a client that afternoon and deposited all the entrants reading fee money by evening.

Anonymous said...

Some of the writers who've turned in less-than-stellar hooks may just be having trouble with the hook form. I know I do, and I'm lucky enough to actually make a living off my writing. Writing novels or stories or essays well doesn't mean you can naturally write sales-type copy. It's entirely its own beast.

Anonymous said...

By the way mysteryfan, while I tell you that you get redundant etc..., and I feel it's incredibly hard to do this stuff, I have to confess that I agree with you on some level. Although, I've liked at least ten that I can think of.

Hoyt Peterson said...

Ode To Miss Snark; Thank you.

Her soft blue eyes, cry in the rain
Dispair feels sorrow, bitter pain
Tenderness, and a heart of gold
A sight surely to have and to hold

Snarkling hearts pound w/ea. WTF
Miserly loves company some no luck
Focus and rewrite the vision we see
Blessed those whose pages she reads

Some wonder, her motives are true
Like us, she enjoys this too.
As each hook is bored clean thru
Focus are many, bingos are few

Christmas list short void of looney.

Her one and only wish, is Gin and George Clooney.

Jodi Meadows said...

Mysteryfan and anonymous who agrees-

Writing and reading are not the same thing. Ursula LaGuine says (paraphrased) that writing is the act of saying what cannot be said in words. So, you see the challenge.

Similarly, writing a 250-word hook is not the same as writing a 100k-word novel. They take different skills and different brain muscles.

Trying to condense a 100k-word novel into 250 words of hook isn't as easy as one might think.

While I agree that many of the hooks need a great deal of work, these are not necessarily hopeless cases. That's why Miss Snark--and many other agents--always asks for the first X-number of pages with the query letter.

pj said...

My clue gun moment:

Miss Snark and I have vastly different ideas about what would make a good story, let alone a good hook.

I respect her, and I'm sure she is a terrific agent. But she and I would not be a good match and that's a good thing to know. Kind of like getting dolled up for George Cloony when Johnny Depp is more my cup of tea.

Zap! Bingo!

Anonymous said...

The following was a comment taken from #86. And it sounds like a damn good hook to me and the author wasn't even trying.

Anonymous said...
Yeah, boy howdy! ATTENTION Wal-Mart shoppers, we got dick here... (was wondering if we'd leave lesbian bushland.) Since her hub is a dud, fuck this boss 'till he's beggin' for mercy and screamin' for more. Corner office, here she comes.

Haste yee back ;-O

(now I'll have to go to confession. A bottle of absinthe, couple of magic mushrooms and I'll GIT-R-DONE!)

Anonymous said...

Je suis d'accord avec writerious - it sure takes a conscious effort to drag myself out from under a warm quilt at 4.30 to scribble magnificently, before spending the remaining 100 hours in the day translating....

Hypergraphia said...

So, I can't recall all those who commented about "reading" vs. "writing" but wasn't it Stephen King who said "If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write."
While they may not be the same thing (reading well and writing well), you can hardly do one without the other. I believe a most crucial part of writing stems from the ability and desire to read, read, read. tools of the trade so to speak. JMHO