Saturday, April 07, 2012

Update #14: If you make it to the final round

We might ask each of the writers who are selected for the final round to answer these questions:


EACH ANSWER HAS TO BE 25 words or less.

Tell us about your book:

Why do you want to attend Backspace?

Are you afraid to eat lunch with a Shark?

West Side Story: Jets or Sharks?

If you could save the life of any one fictional character who would it be and why?
(thanks to blog reader FeakySnucker for this one)

Is there a book that makes you think "If I could write one thing like that, I’d die happy."
(stolen from a Jeff Somers blog post)

What's the most terrifying thing you've lived through?  
(thanks to blog reader NotAWarriorPrincess for this one)

When you're published, what will you do to Pay It Forward?  
(thanks to blog reader Charley for this one)


The second round is done. The third round has begun. The judges can be heard plaintively mewling in the wee hours of the morning. Discerning eavesdroppers have heard "but this is GOOD, how can we cut it?" accompanied by sobbing.

If you'd like to take a stab at guessing how many entries remain in round 3, the comment column is at your disposal.

64 comments:

Kay Camden said...

12

Jessa Russo (Stadtler) said...

17

Colin Smith said...

Assuming round 3 is the round before the Final Round... I think there are 20 left in round 3, and the judges are going to cut that down to a top 10 for the Final.

Charley said...

19 whole ones, plus the tattered shreds of 3 more that some judges are determined to tape together and sneak into the next round whether others like it or not.

Optimist test for writers: Are you already crafting answers, in case you make it to finalist? Or would that jinx your chances?

Lisa Gomley said...

13 lucky ones left

Jessa Russo (Stadtler) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Frisbie said...

Yesterday I checked for an update several times. This morning I got up and while setting the coffee to perk one of those “too early” thoughts bounce around in my head. I actually muttered to myself, “The third round is on, and I’m in it!” Invigorating coffee in hand I stepped to the back porch and shivered a bit at the unusual chilly weather. Reality took hold.

Jessa Russo (Stadtler) said...

I may have misunderstood something, so maybe someone can clarify it for me.

Were the 91 entrants in the last round notified that they had made it to the 91, or are you ONLY notifying the writers who make it into the FINAL round?

(Obviously, if those 91 entrants received emails, you can see which side of that fence I was on. Lol!)

Janet Reid said...

Jessa, no one knows the status of their entry.

Jessa Russo (Stadtler) said...

Thank you for clarifying. Or more likely ... answering a question you've probably already answered elsewhere. :-)

Liz Colter said...

The first time I commented on this blog I read contest updates #12 and #13 together, answered the audience participation question for #12 on post #13, had to delete it, reposted it on #12 and then realized it reference #13 – with a rather personal comment about Mr. Shark to boot, which Janet kindly overlooked. If all that hasn’t gotten me thrown out of the contest for pure stupidity, then I will guess 10 semi-finalists (for bonus points – I think there will be 3 finalists), and hope like hell I’m still somewhere in the running.

MittensMorgul said...

I guessed 27 last round, because I like that number, so I'll guess it again here. Even though I was hopelessly wrong last time...

And I'm 99.99999% sure I'm out of the running already (that .00001% Pollyanna part of my brain refuses to give up hope), but I'll probably write answers for the questions just for the heck of it. It's always fun to do that sort of thing, especially with the 25 word limit. It's a fun critical thinking exercise. And now everyone knows how big a nerd I really am.

LN said...

I'm guessing an even 10 remain in the third round.

Brent Stratford said...

I'm guessing 24. I just love that number.

I think it would be foolish to not start writing the responses now. That would be like trusting the first draft of your query letter. There is no way a frantically written response will be as good as you want; particularly if you are caught up in the euphoria of making it to the last round.

Jamie Wyman said...

Going with my lucky number: 18.

Mister Furkles said...

I'll guess 29. It's a little less than 1/3 of the number who made it to the second round. But really it's a prime not of the form 2**n - 1. And while 23 seems a little low, 37 is too high. Besides strong champagne can be 29 proof. But sadly most are less than 28 proof to get to a lower tax bracket.

BP said...

Those questions are masterpieces. Fine questions if I ever saw them. But who can choose between the Sharks and the Jets? You're kidding, right? That's like saying choose between chocolate and chocolate. I mean, I guess we all know the answer you're LOOKING FOR, but still! haha can't wait to see the awesome answers! This is brilliant.

Krysten Hill said...

Better question: When will the third round finalists receive the questions? How long do we have to draft up these answers??

Chro said...

11. Because you were going to go with 10 but someone just refuses to let one of the entries go.

Lanette said...

21. I'll start working on the questions Monday. I'm a realist, so I know the statistical probability is against me, but it's prudent to be prepared for anything.

The alliteration is completely accidental.

E. B. Pike said...

Exciting! I’m going to guess 20. That’s in the ballpark of the percentage cut last time…

And Charley, I’m not drafting a single answer yet. I totally think that would jinx it. Overconfidence always seems to come slap me in the face. ;)

Rick Anderson said...

"no one knows the status..." even us "bad' writers? *crossing fingers*

Rose Glitschka said...

First of all, I love the questions. Together they give a great overview of who the writer is and where they might gain their inspiration from.

As for my quess, I'll say 13. A nice lucky number.

Dana said...

Good set of questions - thanks to all of the judges and The Shark for devoting their time and energy to reading our work.

Out of curiosity, how many rounds will there be? How many finalists?

Happy Easter Everyone!

Janet Reid said...

Krysten, you'll notice that you have the questions NOW. There's no telling how many rounds are left or how much time the final N contestants will have.

One of my Rules for Writers: Be ready!

Crisply Spoken said...

In round 2, 91 was 22% of 410. Extending the math means round 3 includes 20 entries, and the final round will have 4 or 5.

Yes, I've answered the questions. I can't help it. It's how my mind works.

If this posts, it will be a miracle because Blogger believes I'm a robot, and won't let me prove I'm not.

Crisply Spoken said...

Whoa! Blogger let me in. It is a miracle.

MittensMorgul said...

Ok, so I answered the questions, for my own satisfaction. I'm a Girl Scout leader, and we teach the girls to always be prepared for anything. So now, if nothing else, I know how I'd answer those eight questions.

If a literary-minded person corners me on the street someday and demands to know if I'm a Shark or a Jet, I'd be ready with my answer so it wouldn't come down to a knife fight.

Scouts and Writers: Always prepared for anything.

Robin Weeks said...

Because my last answer was much too low, I'm sticking with it: 42. At some point (perhaps in the past), there will be 42 left. If only for a brief moment.

And since I'm sure everyone else is wondering it too, what are the odds that you'll be offering representation to more than one author in this contest? :D

Stephanie Garber said...

I'm guessing 23.

And I loved that the question, "If you could save the life of any one fictional character would would it be and why?" was on your list. Great question!

Judith Gonda said...

I'm guessing that 30 entries remain in round 3.

Thanks, Janet, for the opportunity and entertainment!

Good luck to all!

ProfeJMarie (Janet Rundquist) said...

I'm for answering questions that I may never have to answer because I like prompts that get my writing brain jump started again since it is currently in a vague muddle as I work with my current WIP.

Is there any chance that finalists in any round at all will know they made it to those rounds? Seems like it would be a great ego/confidence boost (for me, anyway) to know if I made any sort of cut. However, I can see it could be asking a bit too much... this whole contest is clearly a time-consuming one.

I whole-heartedly appreciate the time and the updates! Very fun.

A.J. said...

I am going to guess 25 made it to the next round since we are being told our answers will have to be 25 words or less.

Wait! The last time I made a guess, the correct answer was one less than double my number, so a little quick math tells me 49 is the correct answer!

Thanks for keeping us entertained with these updates. :)

Chro said...

Is it bad that I feel like I haven't lived through anything sufficiently terrifying?

RSMellette said...

I feel your pain - I'm about to go through that with submissions to the Dances With Films Festival. There's the joy of finding 3 new world premiere movies - and the heartache of only have two screening times available.

Janet Johnson said...

I'm going with lucky number 22.

And time to prepare is good! Just in case. :D

Janet Reid said...

only one commenter is too high. Everyone else is too low.

There are at least two more rounds after this.

Yes, my eyeballs are rolling around in my head.

LN said...

Guessing again... 46?

Lydia said...

And my eyeballs just loosened from their moorings. If anyone can read this, please pass the valium. Also, whiskey.

Robin Connelly said...

38

Robin Weeks said...

Over 42, under 49? *does math* 45?

Sheila JG said...

If I skimmed correctly, it's between 42 and 49.

I'll guess 45.

Sheila JG said...

Robin - you beat me to it! Same math and everything.

Robin Weeks said...

LOL. It was easier since I was the one to guess 42. Just had to look for the one higher than mine. :)

E. B. Pike said...

Uh-oh. Am I breaking one of Janet's Rules for Writers by trying not to jinx myself!? *bites lip* *taps pen on steno pad*

Gah! OK...

I'm drafting answers right now!

Jamie Wyman said...

Guessing 48. Yes, I love the number 8. I collect Magic 8 Balls. It's a thing.

The BOCO Review Blog said...

Hey, when you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way . . .

I guess 15. An odd number in case votes are required. That makes no sense, but it's my guess and I'm sticking to it.

Terri

MittensMorgul said...

Okay, if 42 is too low, and 49 is too high, I'll guess 47 (since it still ends in a 7). Go Lucky *number that ends randomly with a* 7!

Judith Gonda said...

I'm going with Mittens and guessing 47.

Byproduct of contest: greater empathy for agents. It took me several readings to find highest low estimate and highest estimate because everyone put their estimate in a different spot in their comments. And there are only 47 comments to go through...reading queries/contest entries and the like must be maddening when format guidelines are violated. Thanks Janet (aka Yoda) for your patience in educating us all in the ways of the Force.

Bill Plante said...

48

Janet Reid said...

oops, TWO of you were too high. I missed the 42. It's less than 42.

I told ya my eyeballs were rolling around in my head.

Annie C said...

41

ProfeJMarie (Janet Rundquist) said...

I'll go prime: 31

A.J. said...

I believe that now means the correct answer is between 30 and 42.

On this Easter Sunday morning, I will guess 33 people made it to the next round.

Jamie Wyman said...

38!!

(My Magic 8 Ball says I should concentrate harder, but I'm jacked up on Cadbury cream and the marshmallowy flesh of Peeps. Concentration is not likely.)

Janet Johnson said...

I'm with AJ: 33

Brandi M. Lynch said...

39.

Lanette said...

35

Lisa Gomley said...

Happy Easter to all! I am hoping Janet that you are at least giving your eyeballs a break for Easter.

I am guessing 36 entries left

Janet Reid said...

Jamie Wyman and Robin Connelly got it right: 38.

Here's the part that makes it EXTRA fun: the number changes!

People have had to withdraw as they've signed with agents (I TOLD YOU these were good entries!) We had 410 entries to start. Right now we're down to 406. That has affected the number of entries making the first, second and now third cuts.

Tormenting writers! What's more fun than that! NOTHING!

Jamie Wyman said...

\o/ Woo! I won something! :-D

Wry Wryter said...

This is about the funniest bunch of posts ever. Reality check folks...you are good with words...at numbers you suck.

Robin Weeks said...

LOL. Darn it, Wry, we're writers, not mathematicians. :)

Papillon crew said...

As someone with no stake in this game, I'd like to make a suggestion regarding this question:

"What's the most terrifying thing you've lived through?"

I'm sure this is intended to draw out stories that will thrill and excite, that will make us turn to our neighbour and say, "You're not going to believe what happened to Papillon!" But the way it is phrased is very pointed: what is the most terrifying thing you've lived through? The most terrifying. For some people, that is going to be a shit-scary memory. That is going to be a death and fear and humiliation memory.

I know you aren't trying to draw that out. You’re looking for stories about stopping one dark evening to pet a stray cat, then discovering it was actually a giant rat. Not the other stories. And while I very much doubt anyone is going to offer up a vignette of true horror and devastation, no one should be forced to sort through their most frightening and sickening experiences to wring out something appropriate for this contest.

So, since I'm being an ass about the whole thing, how about:

“Tell us about a thrillingly terrifying experience you had.”

You keep the idea of something scary, but you add in the implication that this is something kind of fun that turned out well in the end. Like sitting in the passenger seat of a Yugo, careening down the wrong side of the road in Indonesia at sixty miles per hour, with an eighteen wheeler coming straight at you. Frightening at the time, easy to laugh about later.