First off, some things about the contest.
I had ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE entries. You guys seriously overwhelmed me. I expected maybe twenty. So thank you for that response, and for all the little notes included with the entries. I did not have time to respond, but I read them all and they made me wag, each and every one. You are all awesome and don’t let anyone tell you different.
There were some interesting entries. Implicit in the contest is that the way a first draft works is that I just keep adding words. Either some people missed this or didn’t read the current word count, because I got some guesses that were LOWER than the 255,000 I said the count was at the beginning of the contest. On the other extreme, some people have a VERY flattering opinion of my typing speed, guessing that I would type out fifty, sixty, and in one case, over a hundred thousand new words in a week (if only…). Either that or they were guessing, astutely, that my estimate of when the story would be over was not quite right (I have been known to keep adding scenes).
In this case, however, I was pretty accurately guessing. And as it turned out, the over/under I mentioned on Twitter a couple weeks ago–260,000–turned out to be darned close to the final. In fact, three people guessed that number specifically.
But that wasn’t the closest guess. Nine of you came within a thousand words of the final (including the abovementioned three) and the winner was a startlingly close 162 words off.
The final word count of the draft is 259,338 words, and the winning guess was 259,500 words (which would have won even if I had included the 200-word table of contents) from Orvayn (who writes some pretty hot stuff too!). Congrats, mister wolf! I will be in touch about getting your prize to you.
Thanks again to everyone for participating! I am very excited to be finished with the draft of the next TWO Dev and Lee books, and now I have to go back and make OOP3 into a book you guys will all want to read… but for a day or so I will just relax and enjoy the weird feeling of not having that story to write anymore.
*starts editing a different story now…*