Tuesday, March 30, 2010

even YOU can surf the slush!

Has anyone else played with PagetoFame? INTERN discovered it this morning via this Writer Beware post about electronic slush piles.

Basically, it's a game where writers submit the first page of their manuscript, which readers then rate on a scale from "Lousy" to "Heavenly". If a page gets enough "Heavenly" ratings, the author is allowed to submit their first chapter for the next round. If the first chapter does well, the author submits the first 50 pages. In the final round, a handful of authors are allowed to submit their complete manuscript, which are then "reviewed" by a literary agent (though what this review entails is unclear).

While INTERN is dubious about the "Fame" part of PagetoFame, clicking through a bunch of first pages (you choose the genre) is weirdly addictive. To INTERN, it felt just like kicking back on the red couch at Big Fancy Publishing Office, or sitting up straight at her Venny McP workstation, sifting through a pile of slush. If anyone out there is curious about what it's like to surf the slush, PagetoFame is it.

INTERN is somewhat tempted to experiment with this thing, but first she'll have to crank out a bunch of bogus first pages. Will report later!

19 comments:

  1. This is cool Intern. Do you think its worth putting our actual pages up there?

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  2. Gosh, it IS strangely addictive.

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  3. Well, even though I have some painful experience from working at the Oddvill Press, you have tempted me into this pit of iniquity. Okay, more like a "slushpile of pain", but that doesn't quite have the right assonance quotient.

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  4. Wow this is awesome. The first story I got was written in 2nd person. The second one had EIGHT ADVERBS in one paragraph. EIGHT!

    Whenever I feel like my writing is terrible and no one will ever want to buy it, I'm going to this website to cheer myself up.

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  5. I can't look! I just know I'll get sucked in!
    :)
    G.

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  6. Wow this is amazing - great, another thing to procrastinate with!!

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  8. Haha I was on PagetoFame one time, and let me tell you, I wasn't handing out many Heavenly ratings. But it was a lot of fun!

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  9. Ahh the ways in which we writers will squirm, twist, shove and wiggle our way past our brethren in order to fertilize the egg/find the agent (terrible metaphor but quite apt).

    More about the current value of a writers work at Authors, Publishers and the Status Quo

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  10. I made my latest, greatest, most difficult leap in writing skills from reading a whole bunch of purportedly completed manuscripts in progress from unsolicited manuscript deposits here and there. Nothing like deep immersion in the chores of Interns and toils of screening editors to get a handle on that one quintessential essence that had eluded me for the last couple of years.

    By and large all the manuscripts had two common deficits, unsettled narrative voice and failed or spoiled audience rapport, which are actually reciprocal sides of similar issues, resonance and empathy deficiencies.

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  11. I paid to play. Now off to play with other people's hopes and dreams.

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  12. FantasticFiction: Like many things, it's only worth doing if you're curious and think it's fun—PagetoFame doesn't seem like a magical shortcut to literary stardom, and INTERN is not sure what level of actual feedback writers get.

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  13. Rik: You paid to enter your writing in PagetoFame? How did it go?

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  14. I didn't sign up, but I did the guest review. One out of the three pages I was presented with was actually not bad. But the others were just terrible.

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  15. INTERN: The payment was fairly painless, once the novocaine hit my wallet's clasp.

    I was iffy about paying, but then I thought of it as advertising - a small step on the way to building platforms and name recognitions and stuff. Heck: $4.99 (half price offer - it's now gone up to $9.99) is not a lot compared to most advertising budgets.

    Don't know how it's going yet - they refuse to reveal my page's ratings to me for the first 3 days, just in case I'm trying to game the system or something. Rating other people's pages is great fun, though many of the opening pages read very similarly after a while. I've given 1 page (out of the 20 rated so far) the 5*, but most pages are in the 2-3* range.

    I'm doing it for the fun, not the fame. Heck, a packet of 20 ciggies costs close to $US10 in England these days ...

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  16. Just posted my first page. Hell, for five bucks I'll roll the dice and see what happens.

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  17. 1) Is it bad that I was laughing out loud reading those?

    2) However bad it is, it's worse that the one I laughed at the hardest had a high ranking. I thought giving the second-lowest ranking was generous. Who's judging these things?

    WV: fanio. Hilarious.

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  18. Legend has it the red couch started out at L.B.and Co. in Boston. Made it's way to the basement of the unitarian's world headquarters (it probably wandered away from Skinner House Books) where it was slept on by an uncountable number of unshaven yogurt slurping tofu eating hemp wearing young granola heads (now working as corporate lawyers on the west coast). Later the couch relocated from Beacon Hill to a third floor walk up in Allston (via red line). All happened back in 1979 shortly after the Pope's visit. That was the last I'd heard of the couch. Glad to know it has hit the big time in NYC at the BFPO.

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  19. I gotta admit it, I paid and posted. To me, it's like the entry fee in a writing contest. I wanted to see how many and what kind of ratings I received.

    I've also been reading and rating. I like slush when my job doesn't depend on it. Also, reading and rating one page is MUCH easier than the 8000 word chapters that get posted in my online writing group.

    My rating criteria was pretty simple. Would I turn the page? If so, I let some pretty egregious editing get past me to see if they would make it to the five page mark.

    I think it is a cool idea and hope it makes it.

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