Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I should be writing, I know. I'm still behind, only got 2000 words done today, which is better than nothing but still leaves me at a disadvantage if I want to stick to my original goal of finishing the manuscript by Sunday.
Anyhoo, over at Nathan Bransford's Blog, he's holding his annual paragraph comp. I know I'm forever complaining about rule-breakers, those people in this industry (and every other aspect of life I guess) who either disregard or think they can work around plainly stated rules (ok, sometimes they're more like strongly worded suggestions). I often see agents posts bemoaning the fact that if these people would just stick to their submission guidelines, it'd make their lives a lot easier and probably not so cynical about dealing with us unpublished authors.
Which brings me back to Nathan Bransford's paragraph comp. What is a paragraph, that is the question. It seems fairly straightforward. A paragraph is not three hundred odd words. Its might pass in at a hundred on the outer rims of believability. Its probably more around fifty. In Bransford's comp rules, he didn't specify a word count, which is fair enough. But he did say "a paragraph that is overly long may lose points in the judge's eyes. Use your own discretion. Please remember that the paragraph needs to be a paragraph, not multiple paragraphs masquerading as one paragraph."
So why, why, why have people posted pages and pages of work (more importantly, why do I torture myself by being so stupefied by it)? Do they think the rules don't apply to them? Do they think their work is so fantastic that Bransford will call them up and beg them for their manuscript even though they couldn't follow simple instructions in a single paragraph competition. Do they not realize they're more likely painting themselves as one of those problem writers who doesn't take critique or direction well and would probably be a royal pain in the butt to work with?
No matter how many times I see something like this, it still blows me away.

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