Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Overwrite This

You can think of this as a contest if you like. Except if you do, think of it as one of those contests where there is no prize. Not that I have anything at all against extrinsic motivation (teacher term!); it's just that I'm really bad about actually mailing out prizes. Ask Kelly.

So I read a fair amount of blogs and every once in a while someone hosts a contest that asks readers to submit parts of their works-in-progress. The best place for this sort of thing is probably over at Miss Snark's First Victim, where readers regularly compete for a secret agent's attention. Right now, Agent Bransford is hosting a first paragraph contest.

Now the primary reason I read these things is to make myself feel better. Whenever I hit the writing doldrums I like to read some contest entries because most of them kinda stink. And to me, the ones that stink the richest are written by the people who are most obviously taking themselves way too seriously. These writers fancy themselves quite the literary savants. Where one word will do, they write six. Where "face" will suffice, they use "countenance" or "visage." They happily spend five sentences describing a kitchen wall. You get the point.

So, let's try our hand at some horrific writing, shall we? I'll provide the prompt, and you, with as much overwritten purplish prose to cover up for your lack of confidence as you can muster, will write the scene. Make it good, by which I mean, make it bad. Really bad.

PROMPT: Your main character is being chased. (I'm leaving everything else up to you. Feel free to only submit a paragraph or so. No one wants to read an entire scene of this kind of crap anyway.)

14 comments:

dianejwymer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tracy Edward Wymer said...

Suddenly Tony ran quickly down the dark narrow flat-walled alley. He put one foot in front of the other and pumped his arms back and forth simultaneously. His feet ran on the hard cement ground. He didn't have another choice but to run. He leaped over a dumpster and landed feet first and then kept running quickly.

Ray Veen said...

It was dark. Real dark. Like ink. An ink so thick you could cut it with a knife. And from out of the darkness rang the sounds of running feet. Feet running for their very lives. As though their very life depended on it, which it did, because IT was after them.

Pitter patter, pat pat, pat, rang the running feet in the night.

DebraLSchubert said...

"Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod!" thought Jezzabel. "I'm being chased!" She looked vicariously from side to side, then looked again, and alas, one more time. When her head felt as if it might fly off her head, similar to Linda Blair in The Exorcist, she decided she'd better actually run. And run she did. Like the dickens. Like a bat out of hell. Like a speeding bullet. Like a cannonball out of a cannon.

(Sorry, you asked for it!)

Kelly said...

Yeah, just ask me ;)

Picture the main character with an 80's two toned hair do.

And I ran.
I ran so far away.
I just ran.
I ran all night and day.
I couldn't get away.

Ray Veen said...

I concede to Kelly.

MG Higgins said...

I would have run because the zombie was like totally gross with its skin all hanging down like flapping toilet paper but I was just completely over zombies so I stood there and said, "Dude, go back underground or wherever you come from, okay?" And he snarled and I said, "Whatever."

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

I think MG wins for the worst bad writer because I kind of like what she wrote and think it's funny. Especially the toilet paper simile.

Anita said...

She knew in her heart there was no way to escape, nowhere to hide. Only instinct and fear kept her fighting. She lay in bed still as a stone, every muscle tensed and eyes squeezed shut. She tried holding her breath, but eventually her lungs gave out. And as she breathed, she smelled and cried out. Once again, she'd failed to escape the chase of her husband's fart.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

That's Anita for you, going right for my soft spot.

Amber Lough said...

You said purple prose, right? And make it as bad as you can?? :-) This is FUN writing. I love it!

He ran exhaustively until his little spotted furry legs gave out, like too-thin pressed-board legs of a super-heavy oak-veneer coffee table. Splat. He flattened against the asphalt, slid under the crinkled bumper of an old yellowed VW bug, and stopped.
Hiding under an antique car was the perfect place for a spray-painted and buzz-cut poodle.

Tina Lee said...

Heather ran for her life, as tears squeezed from beneath her lashes. They eased out painfully as if she bled from the amber moon of her eyes. When she blinked her long lashes gathered droplets from the fog, lingering with the tears until they rolled down her soft cheeks, highlighting the moonlight shine that shimmered in the depth of her face. She kept running through it all looking as beautiful as she was frightened.

Harder to do than you might think.

Ocean Girl said...

Tom Cruise running and running, in all Mission Impossible(s), in The Firm, even in Jerry Maquire.

Monica said...

See me run.
Run, run, run.
See Spot chase.
Chase, chase, chase.
See me deke around the corner. Deke, deke, deke.
Now I am laughing at Spot.
Laugh, laugh, laugh.