Friday, January 25, 2013

How Not to Write a Novel

MISHA GERICKE IS HOLDING her first 'Word Master Challenge’ blogfest and I am all over this one. I totally know how not to start a novel, any of my half-dozen or so actual attempts could be held up as an example. But instead of using one of them I decided for some original prose instead.

Without further adieu:

To say the winters in Minnesota are cold is to say that the summers in the Sahara are hot. Hot like the heat from a oven turned to broil – except the cold version of that. That’s what winters in Minnesota are like: Sahara summer cold.

Of course, Beatrice Jenkins doesn’t live in Minnesota, or the Sahara. She just wished she did, then disposing of the body jammed into her trunk would be easier.

Not that she knew how snow would make it easier to get rid of a body, but it felt like it would help. And in the desert, well, it’s a desert, nobody even goes there. Except for people who live there already, and those people are pretty weird.

Wait, where is the Sahara? Beatrice thought for a few moments. Is that the one in California? If the one in California isn’t the Sahara then nevermind. Because she meant one in America. She doubted she could get her unemployment checks if she lived in a foreign desert.

Thinking of all that cold in Minnesota made her want some coffee, which made her want some smokes. Definitely not moving to Minnesota, she’d be back to three packs a day within month.

There was a light touch on her arm. Lenny, the man that got her into this mess, was staring at her.

“Don’t do that,” he said, tapping the side of his nose with his finger. “I don’t like the smell of mentholated cigarettes.”

She looked down, sure enough, she held a lit cigarette. Didn’t recall lighting one up. “I’m not overly fond of the smell of rotting corpses either,” she said, “but I’ve learned to live with it.”

He looked out the window and let out a deep breath. “It might be you in the trunk next time.”

I worked hard on that one. The rules said it had to be 300 words or less… that’s 300 words ON THE NOSE! I should get bonus points for that. If words are missing then that’s on purpose, it’s supposed to be bad.

Actually, I started out trying to make it as corny as I could and in the end I kinda liked it. I’m not sure what that says about my taste in prose.

AND DON'T FORGET Andrew Leon’s short story competition where the prize for winning is the greatest chocolate on the planet earth. The talent that is lining up for this one is pretty daunting, but hey, you can always accuse the judges of unethical behavior if you lose… that’s my plan anyway.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Dude, that is a winner! That is truly awful and amateur. And no way you could've just posted one of your own. You're too good.

Brinda said...

I like it in a Farley Brothers kind of way. haha!

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

That reads like one of Briane Pagel's blog entries.

Jo said...

Appalling is a word that comes to mind. Funny though.

Misha Gericke said...

Hehehe you definitely had me laughing. Especially "Sahara Cold".

That said, your opening seems to show promise as a premise, but I won't hold that against you. ;-)

Will be back again to judge compared to the other entries. Thanks for entering!

M Pax said...

I actually really like it, too. I think you should keep going.

mshatch said...

I actually kinda liked it, too.

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

Um...maybe I'm just a bad critiquer but this isn't a bad beginning...

I don't think you'll win. It's too good.

Andrew Leon said...

I'm confused. This is supposed to be an example of bad writing, right? I think you entered the wrong contest.

I actually meant to do this one but completely forgot in trying to finish Spinner. I had the opening all worked out:
It was a dark and stormy night, I found out as I woke up in the middle of a dream. A dream about a dark and stormy night.

Something like that, anyway.

The Golden Eagle said...

I think this is a pretty good beginning, too. The voice of the character really sticks out!

Donna Hole said...

Bad writing doesn't mean a bad concept idea Rusty. I liked it from the "body jammed into her trunk" phrase. Sweeping description of landscape: lame. Hints of dead bodies, disreputable associations, and a not so likeable heroine - excellent!

This has enough action, character building, and mystery for me to read on a few more paragraphs to see if it picks up.


Briane P said...

Seriously? This is supposed to be BAD? I loved it. I would go on reading this ALL DAY LONG and I am not kidding.

PT is right. It reads like I think. How scary for you. Once you start thinking like me, you're doomed. You know what they say: "Once you go Pagel, you..."

Damn. Nothing rhymes with my name except Bagel.

I loved this. You should write some more. Beatrice is awesome.

Cindy said...

I had to check a few times to see if you were supposed to be writing bad..because I was interested in that. Look, if you want to write badly, you have to go for boring. Not someone trying to figure out how to dump a body.

Nick Wilford said...

I kind of agree with some of the others. Terrible writing, but excellent premise! The whole convoluted thought process thing was brilliantly bad, but it sounds like a great story under there.

Trisha said...

Just checking it out now - and yeah, the premise totally hooked me in. Dead body, wahhh???

Crystal Collier said...

Yup, it's definitely got a hook. And all that mental back and forth? Awesome.