Thursday, October 15, 2009


This afternoon my attention was drawn to a competition taking place on a website which I have forgotten the details of but will link to once I remember. The competition was for Best First Paragraph (of a Novel). Here are some of my favourite excerpts. I know I'm being mean and that it's not very nice to take the Michael out of aspiring writers, but if you put your word-turds on the Internet like these people did then you bring it on yourself.

"Alexander Fitzhugh, the twelfth Earl of Stapleton, lay sprawled naked and panting on the large pink bed, his massive, well-formed body covered in a fine sheen of sweat."
"His massive, well-formed body" is a weird phrase. Also, why is his bed pink? That's not very manly.

"I think my parents knew I was different before they knew what different meant. I definitely knew I was different. I’d play with other kids at the park, and instinctively knew I was looking at a different world then they were. I presented enough weirdness’s to catch people’s attention. I heard adults whisper the word “prodigy” so often I stop noticing."
"My main character will be every bit as special as I wish I was."

"There was a gentle breeze winding through the Craybol Forest as the sun rose from behind the high tree limbs that shaded the village of Ashton. Quinton Snowfeather couldn’t help but smile at the way the brisk autumn wind felt as it swirled around him."
Craybol and Ashton sound like two adventuring prawns.

"He had, on occasion, seen other Snow Fairies, with their bright bursts of wild, tumbledown hair and bubbly, carefree demeanor."
Perfect next sentence: "A vomitous burp erupted from his pink, seashell mouth."

"The kingdom of Davina disappeared even before the dragons, fading away while unicorns still sought out fair maidens."
Davina sounds like the feminine form of 'Dave' - poorly thought out name for a kingdom.

"As soon as Arturo stepped into the restroom, the three men at the urinals zipped and scattered. Stephen leaned heavily on the open door, holding it for their quick exit, while Arturo circled the room. Hands pocketed deep in his coat, the vampire stopped before the mirror and unashamedly assessed himself. Stephen rolled his eyes, but then caught Arturo’s in the mirror, a deep brown warmth he’d come to depend on."
VAMPIRE PUBLIC BATHROOM SEX TIME! All they need now is George Michael. Vampire George Michael. (Also, I thought vampires didn't have reflections? Guess I was wrong.)

"Axel sat next to his dead father. He watched the red balloon that held the old man's soul bob lazily across the ceiling when his stepmother entered the bedroom. She betrayed no emotion as she drew the blanket over his father's face. The red balloon touched her once on the cheek, as if to kiss her, and she swatted it away [ ... ] when the paramedics came, Alex took his father's soul in the red balloon, and carried it with him down the stairs and out the front door."
It would be nice if the story revolved around the balloon gradually going down, or if Alex were to accidentally sit on it on the bus.

"Maida buried her face in the white horse’s abundant mane and cried, the tears tracing rivulets down the bright blue sacred spirals painted on his shining coat [ ... ] an unseemly sob escaped her, much like the one that day that seemed so far in the past, but which really was less than a fortnight."
It feels like it was just yesterday I decided to be a writer, but it must be at least three months ago now. I had breakfast early this morning, but really it was more like ten.

"Zooey was in two minds about proffering her purple, polka-dotted piggybank to the altar of sacrifice. But when she saw her brother wearing a snazzy turban, which conjured up images of Prince Aladdin, her curiosity was piqued. Making a split-second decision, she pressed the porcelain porcine into the palm of his outstretched hand."
Zooey plainly pined to press Prince Aladdin's perfectly pointed penis to her pure posterior passage.

"They didn’t call my brother Caleb because he looked like a dog. Ironically, it was actually a family name from my father’s side. My real father, the one the government had killed after the aliens left."
Dog may not be relevant? Or maybe dog is alien? I don't know, I'm confused.

"When I heard the story of my birth [ ... ] I wondered if such a violent entrance into the world would foreshadow my future. I didn't realize the real question was did it foreshadow my past?"
I guess the real real question is whether or not something can foreshadow the past.

"Professor Strunkenwhite's Big Idea came to him at the precise moment he realised he'd run out of toilet paper."
Your character is on the toilet. How risqué.

"Sebastian had lived almost all of his life in a wicker cage hanging from the ceiling of a witch's cottage [ ... ] when it rained, he got wet, and when the wind blew his cage swung uncontrollably. (from The Boy Who Lived in a Cage,1st chapter of Princess Lucky and the Chicken-Legged Cottage, unpublished, unrepresented.)"
Good title! Fitting title! How is this possibly unpublished and unrepresented.

"If Wylie ever stared at me with his smoldering sapphire eyes, if he ever embraced me with his toned, strong arms, if he ever kissed me with his pink, full lips, I'd die. Not because I'd be so happy, but because I'd be so scared. Not because he's a bad person, but because I am. I'd die--fall right there, out of his cuddle and straight into Hell."
...Wylie is a vampire, isn't he.

"The April dawn was suffused with an eerie emptiness. Tea-stained shadows became thinner as small slivers of sunlight broke through the morning. Butterflies of excitement began to bedevil me as I watched the seafaring crowd approach the ship."
As I read the bizarre metaphors, whippets of terror begin to dig at the fertile soil of my soul.

"Da’uw arrived at the water Mu’ud just before nightfall."
I wonder kind of novel you're writing? They should rename the genre Fa'antasy.

"His face was the most beautiful face I’ve ever seen. His eyes were as blue as the Caribbean that stood out from behind light golden blond hair. The moon’s silvery rays touched his light skin which seemed to glow. He wore a white, long sleeve, button down shirt, which hung open showing off his lean muscular body. There are no words to describe his perfection. I stared at him with widened eyes."
...he's a vampire, isn't he.

"King Hypatios of Neapolis wept quietly, alone on the vastness of Ares’ Altar, with his son Makedon, the crown prince clutched close to his breast. The subtle scent of anguish and disappointment pervaded the air. The king’s black cloak rippled in the gentle wind swooping down from the mountaintops and across the rough coastal plain that was framed by rocky hills to the west and the Nestos River Valley on the eastern edge."
King Hypatios' refusal to entertain the idea of patios at sea level was to prove his ultimate undoing. (I love this paragraph, it's so fa'antasy.)

"Surrounded on four sides, one of his long braids clasped from each direction, Boyron’s heart threatened to smash his ribcage into pulp. He dug his toes into the dirt, grounded by his clinging family."
No complaints here. Boyron is an awesome name. Even if he does have 4 braids, each one of which has a family member hanging onto it.

"Eldridge’s heart constricted. From the crude wooden bed, frail hands begged him closer. The scrape of the small stool he sat upon as he moved closer sliced upon his already flagging nerves. His mother clutched the sleeve of his dull gray servant garment, eyes aged by illness held his as death spoke words that changed the living forever. “The Count, he is your Dah.”"
"Luke...I am your Dah."

"The first time I saw the monster he was peeing in my azaleas. I watched the long stringy hair on his buttocks flail to and fro as he shuddered and groaned with relief. I burst over towards the porch railing and he turned wide eyed and hands hidden. "Dammit, Jerry! Do that in your own yard!" He grunted and scampered off with my rose bushes glistening in his wake."
Full of inconsistencies! How did you know his name was Jerry, if it was the first time you met him? Also, are you sure that peeing was what he was doing? Pretty sure I don't shudder and groan with relief when I pee. And just how long was the hair on his buttocks?

"Temperate winds flow beneath my equine like form, on floods of curling ar I float. How divine and full I stretch my wings, rushing to unknown horizons ever out of reach. This was not the first occasion I would fall to freedom."
"...but it was the first occasion I would do it under the influence of LSD."

"I have red hair that is very wavy that goes to the middle of my back. My eyes are blue. To look at me I look very normal. No one would ever suspect just how different I am. And although I have been raised knowing the truth, it’s still hard to believe sometimes that I am not so normal. It is yet to be determined how abnormal I am but the odds do seem to be stacked against me. You see I am somewhat of a mythical anomaly. My father was a vampire. If this doesn’t sound strange enough, my mother was a succubus."


IT IS ALLY said...

I'm leaving myself a comment because even though this post was long and not really that amusing unless you are me, 'word-turds' is a beautiful phrase. WELL DONE ME.

Esmerelda said...

I read it to the very end. I'm shocked at the number of vampires. And crap...loads and loads of crap.

btw, my word verification is "nounaced" as in: I aced that noun.

Anonymous said...

So now you have your writing ideas. Just take one of these paragraphs and make an excellent short story from the crap beginning. If you can turn these around, you'll prove yourself an excellent writer.

It's likely impossible, eh. Never mind.

Word turds-bahahahaha!

Tooting Squared said...

Quinton Snowfeather is, surely the perfect hero's name! In my mind he wears a trenchcoat and monocle.

This was just fabulous! I have snorted my lunch more than is healthy.

(Word-turds. Fnar fnar!)

a cat of impossible colour said...

SO BAD. It is like watching the audition rounds for American Idol.

Christina said...

I loved this post, mostly because of your comments on the god-awful clankery that is "writing". The "...he's a vampire, isn't he?" made me laugh out loud after a rather long, crappy work day.

I think, in all fairness. to rid the world of such hideous prose, you need to replace it with something better. Like...oh, let's just pick something out of the air... a nanowrimo novel?

Go on, you'd love it :)

wament: what the main character of a fa'antasy novel does when they are monologuing (read whining), especially if they have a speech impediment.

IT IS ALLY said...

Esmerelda - there is SO MUCH crap. It is easy to forget how much crap there is. On the plus side, it boosts my confidence, and should boost yours. And it is amusing. also am glad you defined your wv!

Lety - I will try. Maybe the vampire one? EWWW

Tooting - may I call you Tooting? it sounds a bit rude - thank you for commenting! And also, am glad you appreciate word turds.

Andrea - ew, yes.

Christina - I am NaNoing! But with short stories, because I just have to be different.

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