Friday, June 18, 2010

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...

Elizabeth Mueller issued a challenge in her Breaking the Rules Blogfest. In order to break the rules though...you have to know what they are. The list on Elizabeth's blogfest challenge is pretty comprehensive:
  1. Cut down on adverbs.
  2. Single Point of View Characters (no omniscient)
  3. No purple prose
  4. Perfect grammar
  5. Tight sentences
  6. 'said' only speech tag
  7. Too many commas and such
  8. No cliches
  9. Fresh writing
  10. Natural dialogue--no spelling out language the way it sounds: "Ah din't know yous kewd doose dat?"
  11. Characters: cliche descriptions
  12. Present tense form being a no-no
I looked in my vast pile of tossed aside story beginnings, writing excercises, and insomnia induced ramblings. Fortunately, I didn't find one that encompassed all of the no-no's so... I though I'd write one that incorporated as many as possible.



I flew out the door like a bat-out-off hell (8) and hopped in my camaro. I frantically (1) gunned the engine and tore out of the parking lot.

"That was a close one!" (8) I schreeched excitedly. (2,6)

Alighting my promethium flame to the cylindrical harbinger of death, I inhaled the ethereal fragrance of the Marlboro. (3)

I drove along the dark and dingy streets of the city of my youth and pondered the predicament I now found myslef inescapably tangled with. (4,5)

Martin, my bestest-buddy...my "brother from another mother"; a friend-in-need, sat on the precipice of danger -- of death itself, and I was the only one with the answers! (7)

To do or die, that was the question, where it was better to suffer the danger of bad luck, or not. (9) I had to do something. I quaked in my boots and wondered if I had the guts. (8)

Then, suddenly, I recalled the words of my father as we sat in his New Your style deli, "Forgetta 'bout it. I'll all commout 'ina wash. Jus do whatcha gotta do." (10)

He was right. I ground my chisled jaw and a glint flashed in my crystalline-blue eyes. (11)

I raise my hand with determination, promising to save my friend. (12)

"Not on my watch," I am yelling maniacally (12) into the wind. "Not on my watch!" (6,8)



I hope you got a kick out of my short excerpt. There is an excellent website called Grammar Girl that offers Quick and Dirty Tips to make your writing better and avoid these pitfalls.

If you had fun reading this entry, hop on over to Elizabeth Mueller's blog and check out the other entries.  Until next time...Go Write!

Photograph by valerianasolaris.

23 comments:

Sangu said...

I love how you've noted down where each of the rules is broken in the piece. It made for a funny and entertaining read! Great post!

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

Great props for noting where the errors are... I would have cried doing that to mine ;o)

Love this blogfest and as always love your entry!

Visit My Kingdom Anytime

Laura Marcella said...

That was fun! I'll have to sort through my stuff and consider the list.

One of my college professors loved Grammar Girl! We had to listen to her podcasts every week.

Andrew Rosenberg said...

I kinda liked it. Don't change a thing!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Your entry was truly funny. For once, I didn't enter a blogfest.

My base guideline is to only showcase my best. You never know who's dropping by your blog.

I have strange luck. The one time an agent would zip in would be the day I break all the rules.

I include the address to my blog in every query. So far Kristin Nelson hasn't commented on how fabulous my writing is -- but you never know. Roland

Creepy Query Girl said...

Fantastic entry! I loved how you showed us where all the mistakes were cause its educational that way. Great!

Kristie Cook said...

"Alighting my promethium flame to the cylindrical harbinger of death,"

That had me laughing out loud. This was awesome. I skipped this fest. I may not show my absolute best on my blog, but I'm definitely not going to own up to my worst so publicly. Like Roland, I never know who's going to stop by. But this was a great way to have fun with it!

M. Bail said...

Very fun. I didn't want to showcase my youthful and crappy writing, either. Seems nobody else noticed Elizabeth's second rule for participation: current WIPs that break rules.

Anyway, your piece was a hoot, especially the indications of which rules were broken and where. Nice job of writing badly!

RaShelle said...

That was some funny stuff. It's fun to break the rules. Do it again!!!!!! LOL

Tessa Conte said...

LoL Nice! Love the way you marked the 'mistakes'!

I particularly like this bit:

"Alighting my promethium flame to the cylindrical harbinger of death..."

; )

elizabeth mueller said...

Thank you participating and for putting Grammar Girl there! ;) I'll use it quite often, I'm sure!

Don't you just love using adverbs??? ;)

This piece has a kick in its own style, I really like it.

Kris & Kels said...

As always, I lurve your layout. Lol. I really liked how you told us what was wrong with each part. Also, the sentence about lighting a cigarette? EPIC. I am now going to say that every time The Boyfriend lights up.

<3 Kelsey Leigh

Babydoll said...

That was fun! I loved it! So...descriptive! Loved the "cylindrical harbinger of death"!

drea moore said...

Nice! I really like your approach, partially because it's tongue in cheek. The way in which you broke all the rules makes the topic seem even more difficult/challenging when intentionally used to draft a post :D Good fun, good humor. Thanks :D

Dawn Embers said...

Great job. I considered trying to do as many as I could but honestly, I didn't understand some of them. So, I just wrote something that did the ones I knew.

I like how you used the numbers to tell us where and which rules you were breaking. Nice work!

Suzie said...

I had so much fun reading your entry!

Kudos for pointing out the errors. I could never have pointed out all mine... of course that's because I only know what something should "feel" like not why... grrr... yeah, I'm trying to learn the "why" of it.

Anyways, thanks for sharing... it was great!

Erin Kane Spock said...

That was great!
"I needed a laugh" I murmured sulkily.

KM said...

Hey, I left you something on my blog! :)

Donna Hole said...

I did get a kick out of it! Especially this line: "Alighting my promethium flame to the cylindrical harbinger of death, I inhaled the ethereal fragrance of the Marlboro."

I'll give you 4 points for originality though. I was laughing so hard at it my son insisted on knowing what was so funny. I read it to him but he didn't laugh. "She lit a cigarette with a lighter," I informed him. He still didn't get it. Maybe you have to be a writer - or just sleep deprived.

I'll bet it was hard not to edit yourself though. But thanks for the laugh. I feel better for it.

.......dhole

Angie said...

Lots of broken rules, but I really like the voice. Really enjoying this blogfest.

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

Bwa hahaha! That was hilarious!

Oh, and you might want to stop over and check out my latest post where I revealed the giveaway winners *hint hint* ;)

:D

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Thanks for the comments on my Bad Boy Blogfest entry. Yes, I couldn't resist : a cliff-hanger. Actually, the rest of the scene ran on too long for a comfortable read. Thanks for stopping by, Roland

Ann Best said...

This is a great list. It highlights everything that I've recently read in a few books I bought that are filled with characters doing everything but "saying" something. They books are full of distracting adverbs and "flowery" language, etc. etc.

I hope I don't do this in my own writing. I'm going to print out this list as a reminder to myself!!