Thursday, January 20, 2011

Word Count Writing Contest Epilogue

You may recall Boudreau's Birthday Bash Word Count Contest from last fall: the talented Jules Archer won a copy of Todd Heldt's first novel, Before You Were a Prophet.

I apologize for the delay, but I did actually send Jules her prize, she read it, has nice things to say about it ("... I really enjoyed it, and it will stick with me.... so much to ponder with well-written, flawed but interesting characters....") and was kind enough to provide this photographic evidence that she eats Lucky Charms*, owns other books, and has a (freakishly) uncluttered home:




Thanks again to Jules for the pictures, to Todd for writing such an engaging novel, and to all the competitors for inspiring my friend to write so much that he almost finished his own novel during the contest. (By almost finished his novel, I mean writing one, not reading one. He's read two, maybe three books already in his life, and not picture books!) He has since completed the first draft, made the gross corrections with the assistance of the copy-editor from hell, and recently tumbled headfirst into the abyss of rewriting the whole damn thing. (I miss him.)

Humbly, I remain,
B. Freret

* Or at least owns Lucky Charms.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Cool Color of 9,300 Degrees, Kelvin

Nine thousand, three hundred also happens to be the number of words Julia (Jules) Archer wrote during the Word Count Contest to take the win:

WINNER!

Actually, 9,371. Nine thousand words she wouldn't have had without the contest - I expect a shout-out in the preface, when it is published!

Congratulations to Julia and all the Honorable Mentions: Dustin Hodge, Jenny Preston, Chris Andrews, Rochelle Gregory, and Jo Prescott.



I'm honored to report that I've been given permission to read everyone's work, and I look forward to doing so.

Thank you all for participating! My friend still isn't "finished" with the first draft of his novel, but now he can switch to edit mode, and expects to knock that out in the next couple of days.

Respectfully, I am
B. Freret

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Time!

Place your pencils on your desks, and step away from the Scantrons - show me your hands! Better.

Boudreau's Birthday Bash Word Count Writing Contest is officially over.

If you have not complied with this rule:

You must email a single Word document containing all the words you've written, to me, before 12:00am EST 10/24/10. I will use Word to determine the total number of words in your document. I will then destroy the document, and the email, and if you'd like, my computer as well, unless you tell me in the body of the email that I may read the document, in which case I will likely read a page or two or the whole thing, weeping and gnashing my teeth (rending of clothing discretionary) at the beauty of your work, before destroying the document, and the email, and my computer.

Then you are wrong.

Results tomorrow!

Your Humble and Obedient Servant,
B. Freret

Friday, October 22, 2010

Final Day of Competition!

All good things must come to an end, and so does Boudreau's Birthday Bash Word Count Writing Contest. The final day is nigh (work that one into a sentence today, I dare you): competition ends at 11:59pm EST, Saturday. So send me your Word-compatible documents at or before midnight, Saturday, so I can identify and post the winner, and sing and perform a song in her/his honor. Oh, and get an address to ship the book(s).

So far as I can tell, everyone who is actually writing has, like, 8,000 words-ish so far, give or take. So the contest is still anybody's to win. Is that grammatically correct? Do I care?

Respectfully, I remain
B. Freret

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Week One Standings - UPDATED

Okay, as of late Saturday, the end of week one, here are the standings as reported to me (and, in the case of the last three listed, as I suspect until told otherwise):

Chris: 6,144
Julia: 5,508
Jenny: 3,500
Jo: 700
Dustin: Some number

Donna: No number
Rochelle: No number
Milton: No number

Remember, my friend is giving the prize to one of you - he isn't going to give it to himself*, even if he has the most words when the contest ends.

So, write. Then write some more. This is going to be close, and the prize is totally worth pushing yourself.

Respectfully, I am
B. Freret

* A touchy subject best left alone.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Winding Up Week One

As the first week of Boudreau's Birthday Bash Word Count Writing Contest winds down, this seems like a great opportunity to beg everyone to please send me their total word counts so far.

Please send me your total words so far? Please? In a comment to this post, perhaps? Whatever it takes.

I'll post them here in a blog entry, so we can all see who is in the lead for first place and Todd Heldt's wonderful novel, Before You Were a Prophet. My friend, the contest organizer, has no small amount of anxiety that no one can see where everyone stands. There will be a winner, and at least one book (two, if the previous record is broken) will be mailed to one of you.

So, would everyone please provide me with their total number of words so far, so I can post the standings as of the close of week one?

Your Humble and obed't Serv't,
B. Freret

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Boudreau's Birthday Bash Word Count Writing Contest Web Badge

We have one, courtesy of Art Director Ben:

"Boudreau's Pipe of Rhetorical Grandiosity"

Competitors can now spread the word about their participation on blogs, websites, and Facebook pages!

You can follow Ben on twitter @bentoons
Thanks, Ben!

Respectfully, I remain,
B. Freret

Monday, October 11, 2010

During Day Two

Jules is getting it done, with 3,542 words down on day one. Yes, that is a one day total. She wants to be like my friend when she grows up, a machine, and that is the way to do it. Now just do that every day, and you'll be untouchable! Really. No one will want near you. Shower somewhere in there, won't you? With soap.

Jenny's first day total of 2,165 words, if I remember correctly, has broken her total word count from last year for the entire two weeks, so kudos to her on this milestone. You'll note at her blog that she's shooting for 42K, no doubt to beat my remarkably good looking (and modest) friend's total from last year of 41 and change.

(Nicely posted to your blogs, you two. You both get cookies for following directions. Ahem.)

Jo has released, via Facebook, that she has 700-ish words thus far. But we all understand that poets are different- they have this thing about choosing the right words. And she is Canadian, so depending on the exchange rate, that is something like 900 words, American.

Everyone else? I don't know. Stay tuned.


About the author of the prize book(s), did I mention that Todd is a Pushcart nominee?


Humbly, I am
B. Freret

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Go!

Boudreau's Birthday Bash Word Count Writing Contest is on!

To recap the rules:
  • You may contribute to an existing project for the contest, but only the words you write during the contest period will count for the contest. If you finish a project, you may begin a second project.
  • The contest HAS COMMENCED, effective 12:01am EST 10/10/10, and will conclude at 11:59pm EST on 10/23/10.
  • You must post a running total word count daily at your blog / web site, so the other competitors can see where everyone stands.
  • You must email a single Word document containing all the words you've written, to me, before 12:00am EST 10/24/10. I will use Word to determine the total number of words in your document. I will then destroy the document, and the email, and if you'd like, my computer as well, unless you tell me in the body of the email that I may read the document, in which case I will likely read a page or two or the whole thing, weeping and gnashing my teeth (rending of clothing discretionary) at the beauty of your work, before destroying the document, and the email, and my computer.
  • You must wish me a happy birthday. It is today.
In addition to my friend, the lineup includes:

  • Jules
  • Rochelle
  • Donna
  • Milton
  • Chris
  • Emily
  • Jenny
  • Dustin (like Milton, no website, so we have to work something out to publish their daily totals in a way that everyone can easily access), and
  • Jo
I am honored and humbled to be associated with these people, and I know that great things will happen as a result of this process.

Respectfully,
B. Freret

Friday, October 08, 2010

One More Day to Join

You have one more day to commit to Boudreau's Birthday Bash Word Count Writing Contest. It is a fact that people who train for anything (alcoholism and morbid obesity, even), accomplish more in groups. (This is a fact that I am not going to bother looking up.) It is also a fact that we are an amazingly resilient species (humans), and can push ourselves to do fantastic things for two weeks, without breaking anything or suffering any permanent (negative) consequences.

So here is the call: do yourself the favor of finding out what you can do. Push yourself harder than you would have otherwise, and see what happens. Don't think, just write. And for goodness sakes, don't edit, or diagram backstory, make character notebooks, create a fictional language, sketch characters, use the word "dystopian" (ever), or eat paste or chase butterflies or whatever the hell else people do to avoid writing.

Just write.

A lot.

As Charles De Mar said in Better Off Dead (1985), "Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn."

To the academics who have signed up, I have nothing to say for you: textbooks and dissertations and conference papers (oh my)? Yeah, I got nothing- chances are (?) you wouldn't be doing a lot of backstory, character notebooks, fictional languages, or sketches anyway. I think. So hey, eat paste, if that is what you do. Hit the Elmer's Buffet, if that gets you where you'd like to be in two weeks.

When my friend the writer did this last year, he was changed forever. For the better. So this is really all about sharing the love. The love, and finishing the first draft of his novel.


New Additions:
  • Dustin (like Milton, no website, so we'll work something out on publishing their daily totals), and
  • Jo
I'll post a final list of entrants, when the list is final.

Respectfully, I remain,
B. Freret

Monday, October 04, 2010

New Contestants; Trash Talk

The competitor list for Boudreau's Birthday Word Count Challenge was looking lopsidedly academic: more professors with smartypants projects were signing on than fiction writers. That seems to be balancing out some with the addition of


and the trash talk has commenced, but you'll have to friend me on Facebook (if you haven't already) to witness that. Go check it out, I'll wait. It is between academics, which is really adorable. They're so cute when they try to talk smack!**

Of course, an academic cannot win the contest - they're unduly burdened with things like quality over quantity, and for this challenge, quantity is queen.

Speaking of quality, I previously gave incorrect links for two competitors: here are the correct links to their blogs:


Humbly, I am
B. Freret

* Technically, Anna said "no."
** If Van Winkle signs up, and he won't, this will have to be revised. He can persuasively throw down the smack talk.

Word Count Contest Update

So far, the following superstars have stepped up to the plate, forks in hand, because I wasn't talking about that kind of plate:


Yes, I know - one of these things is not like the others.

There is room for more. Please see the rules, below, and go for it. What have you got to lose?

Your Humble and obed't Serv't,
B. Freret

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Boudreau's Birthday Bash Word Count Writing Contest

The title is a bit misleading, I'm afraid, because it isn't really my writing contest, but a friend of mine (who, unlike me, is a writer) has asked me to do this for him. Apparently he doesn't own or use a computer, and I am nothing if not accommodating. (It is, however, my birthday. Hence the title.)

So, here is the deal.

This is a word count contest: (s)he who writes the most words during the duration of the contest toward one single project shall be the winner. There will be a prize.

There are rules:

  • If, like my friend, you are nearing completion of a manuscript, you may work on it for the contest, but only the words you write during the contest period will count for the contest. If you finish, as my friend intends to, you may begin a second project.
  • The contest will commence at 12:01am EST 10/10/10, and conclude at 11:59pm EST on 10/23/10. My abacus suggests this is very nearly two weeks.
  • You must email me at bfreret@hotmail.com no later than 10/9/10 if you wish to participate.
  • You must post a running total word count daily at your blog / web site, so the other competitors can see where everyone stands.
  • You must email a single Word document containing all the words you've written, to me, before 12:00am EST 10/24/10. I will use Word to determine the total number of words in your document. I will then destroy the document, and the email, and if you'd like, my computer as well, unless you tell me in the body of the email that I may read the document, in which case I will likely read a page or two or the whole thing, weeping and gnashing my teeth (rending of clothing discretionary) at the beauty of your work, before destroying the document, and the email, and my computer.
  • There will be a prize. My friend who made up this contest is ineligible for the prize, which works out well for you, because he is an inhuman machine when it comes to generating gratuitous verbosity.
  • You must wish me a happy birthday. It is 10/10/10.

The prize is a new copy of Todd Heldt's novel, Before You Were a Prophet. (Todd Heldt is eligible for the contest, but not the prize.) I own a copy. I have read it. I think you should, too. (I am not sending you my copy, I will not part with it, so stop asking.)


In the stupendously unlikely event that the winner beats my friend's two week record of 41,301 words, then a bonus prize will be given in addition to Before You Were a Prophet. The bonus prize is Todd Heldt's recent collection of poems, Card Tricks for the Starving. I own a copy. I have read it. I think you should, too. (I am not parting with my copy, but let's be realistic, nobody is going to write more than 41,301 words, anyway, so I'm probably not going to have to buy a second copy to give to you.)



Right now, these are not signed copies, but if the winner would like, I will forge Todd's signature, along with a nice note about that time you shared together in Milan, inside the book(s).

If you have any questions, please email me. I will post the participants with links to their sites, and will post regular progress reports and questions / answers, here.

Humbly, I remain,
B. Freret

Me, reading my copy.

Friday, October 01, 2010

He Said "Dongle"

This was just forwarded to me by a like-minded acquaintance. By reproducing it here, I am not condoning my acquaintance's use of the word "dongle" in a business letter.

***
Jeff Radke
Vice President of Sales
Sweetwater Music

Mr. Radke, my experience with Sweetwater Sales Engineer Eddie Tighe was extraordinary.

I dropped out of music from about 1990 - 2002, and a lot changed in gear sales during that time. You know, like the internet.

Since starting back in 2002, I've bought (and sold) a lot of gear (for a hobbyist, anyway), and have never had an experience like this one with Eddie. It was closer to what it used to feel like in the 80s, dealing with my local mom and pop shop. Except they were insufferable assholes. So really, it was more like what a mom and pop experience should have been.

I signed up for the Peavey Ampkit Link 'keep me updated on when this comes out' list at Peavey.com. My contact information must have been forwarded to Sweetwater, because Eddie contacted me shortly thereafter. He quickly answered some questions as best he could on what amps were included in the free and paid versions of the Ampkit app, and got back to me when he had more information. Every couple of weeks checked in with me, always friendly, never annoying or pushy. I really felt like he knew what he was doing, cared about my interest in this one $30 item, and was enjoying his job.

Sadly, how often is any of that the case, in any field?

I've known for a while that what I just experienced is Sweetwater's 'hook' - but I never thought it could be helpful to me. I mean, if you need to order a $10 Chinese cable, how good do you need to feel about that? Or even in this case, a $30 dongle? (I've always wanted to be able to say 'dongle' in correspondence.) But you know what? I'm thrilled with the purchase experience. Who couldn't use a little more kind, intelligent human interaction in their day?

I got what I wanted, at a great price, and felt good about the purchase. The purchase. Not just the item or the price, but the process of buying it, too. (I can tell you the last time I got warm fuzzies walking out of Guitar Center: NEVER.) So in my experience, Sweetwater is a win all around. Because of Eddie Tighe.

Thank you,
Name Withheld*

***

Though not a musician, I, too, have had similar dealings with Guitar Center - I once received a curious advert from them that baffles me to this day. I wrote about it here.

Well, with warm fuzzies in hand**, I remain

Humbly,
B. Freret


* Not his real name.
** I hope this is not a crude expression.