So yew want to bee a riter?

Last week we took a look at some of the entrants in the Bulwer Lytton contest. They were all, you’ll agree, very good at being very bad.

But they were trying to be awful.

What about the writers who weren’t?

The organizers of the contest have quietly been collecting entries from real published books.

Like this one:

 "She wore a dress the same color as her eyes her father brought 
her from San Francisco."

He … he what? No, I’ve got it now; he was looking for an iPod or an iPad and didn’t have enough money so just got her the i’s.

That author sells millions of books worldwide every year.

I love this, from Harlequin:

"The possessiveness in his voice was deep and strong, its triumphant
 throb cutting through the layers of sexual delight as thoroughly 
as a knife through warm butter, and it hit her like a deluge of 
cold water."

I loved a good mixed metaphor, especially a throbbing one.

 From the same novel:

 "The fifty-or-so-mile drive to Donato's magnificent villa in 
Sorrento would be no problem – the Mercedes’ excellent air 
conditioning added to the fact that the late-April temperature was 
only just touching seventy degrees made traveling at midday still a 
pleasure, unlike in high summer – but sitting in close proximity 
to Donato for well over an hour was a different matter."

This next one is just so bad, it’s brilliant. I suspect it’s Donato again, switching publishers. He sounds like he’s the easy-going type. But this time he’s using a different antiperspirant:

From a book published by Zebra Press.

 "She rode astride him like a bucking bronco in the rodeo of the 
flesh."

This next one is written by a man. Can you tell?

 "She popped the elastic at the top of the second sock and pushed 
her sexually ambiguous Timex watch up along the blond hairs of her 
handsome forearms."

My own humble Tissot is not sexually ambiguous at all, I’m afraid, but it does glow in the dark. I’ve always found it helps when my sock elastic pops at night. 

Or there’s this:

 "He was as guarded as a virgin, but infinitely more experienced."

It might be me, but I found that confusing. I’ve not met that many guarded, experienced virgins. Maybe I should get out more.

Still, I think experienced virgins and bucking rodeo flesh (yee-aah!) is still an improvement on what readers had to endure a hundred and fifty years ago.

I don’t like to speak ill of the dead but her name was Adeline Dutton Whitney and this is from one of her nineteenth century novels called ‘Faith Gartney’s Girlhood’:

"East or West, it matters not where – the story may, doubtless, 
indicate something of the latitude and longitude as it proceeds – in
 the city of Mishaumok, lived Henderson Gartney, Esq., one of those
 American gentlemen of whom, if she were ever canonized, Martha of
 Bethany must be the patron saint – if again, feminine celestials,
 sainthood once achieved through the weary experience of earth, 
don’t know better than to assume such charge of wayward man – born,
 as they are, seemingly, to the life-destiny of being ever 'careful
 and troubled about many things.' "

 I hope you got all that. There’s going to be a quiz later.

Until now I have kept the entries anonymous but I’m sure you will all recognize who wrote this:

 "Even before the deal with Straker had been consummated (that’s 
some word all right, he thought, and his eyes crawled over the front
 of his secretary’s blouse), Lawrence Crockett was, without doubt, 
the richest man in ‘Salem's Lot' and one of the richest in 
Cumberland County, although there was nothing about his office or 
his person to indicate it."

 Now, here’s the thing: it is a Stephen King novel so did his eyes actually crawl over her blouse – or did he mean it just figuratively?

And were they the same eyes that other author bought in California?

He’s Stephen King, he’s allowed small lapses. This, on the other hand, is taken from a murder mystery. I’ll give you a clue, it isn’t Elmore Leonard.

"Having had time to think it over, Andrew had decided that he did 
not believe in this for a moment. If he had not been so unfortunate
 at different times during the last few years as to become involved
 in the solution of a murder or two, so that he was more inclined 
than he would have been before he had been drawn into that rather 
gruesome activity to think that his own wild guesses were sometimes
 perhaps to be taken seriously, he would not even have considered 
such a possibility."

Unless you’ve had some training in predictive legal analysis, I wouldn’t advise attempting that sentence a second time.

 Let’s finish with Harlequin again. I could get hooked on these novels!

 "He spun round in the doorway with a violence that was tangible, 
surveying her bitterly with hard, blazing eyes before banging the 
door so savagely that the whole room shuddered and whimpered before
 sinking into an unearthly silence."

Ah, unearthly silence.

Sounds good to me!

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Braveheart, Edward II, Isabella

ISABELLA, Braveheart of France.

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And also available as POD from fresh green grass with bright blue sky COOLGUS publishing

Holy Week, Easter, SpainCOLIN FALCONER

About colinfalconer

author of bestselling historical novels like Anastasia, When We Were Gods, Aztec and Harem. My books have been published in the UK, US and ANZ and translated into seventeen languages.
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3 Responses to So yew want to bee a riter?

  1. Pingback: Monday Mentions: Ice, Ice and…oh yeah, Ice | AMY SHOJAI'S Bling, Bitches & Blood

  2. violafury says:

    These are all wonderful, but for sheer brilliant-awfulness on a par with the unbelievably bad movie “The Room”, “She rode astride him like a bucking bronco in the rodeo of the flesh” wins hands down. So many images! And not a one of them good. For all of the carpers and whiners who hoot and scream about how “anyone” can get published now due to indie publishing, I present gems like this and beg to differ. “Anyone” could always get published. There used to be a column or a website called “From the Slush Pile”. I am not sure if it is even extant, but there is enough bad writing everywhere. Thanks for the laughs, Colin and I am looking forward to that test on the Saints and Celestial beings, because we all know how pure Martha of Bethany musta been. Just sayin’

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