Friday, July 30, 2010

A Little Self-Publishing Humor



And the following is the sequel:




BTW, I'm not recommending (or not recommending) her book. Don't know anything about it. Just enjoyed the humor in these little vids. Hope you do too. 

Happy Friday, everyone!
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Do Your Characters Know What They Want?


Riffing on a theme started by Katie with the last Learning From the Pros post, this version asks not whether you know what your characters want, but whether they do themselves.

In The Long Fall: The First Leonid McGill Mystery, mystery author extraordinaire Walter Mosley introduces a Private Investigator for the present day with all the style of a venerable noir tradition.

Leonid Trotter McGill (LT for short) is a black man in his early 50s. Mosley blesses him with my favorite sort of description — brief but evocative: he is ‘two inches shorter and forty pounds heavier than a man should be.’ He's got the muscle and moves of a trained boxer, although he only hits the heavy bag. It is as if life itself is his arena and his opponents don’t wear gloves. It would be one thing if McGill was a modern day knight, but instead he’s a man with a dark past. His goals are realistic. Instead of being completely crooked, he aspires to be only slightly bent. He tries meditation to help deal with his guilty past but it becomes apparent that the only way to get out is to beat his way out with the very hands he has tried to clean up.

Leonid is a complex character who represents the dichotomy of modern-day New York City. New York has given itself a nice, clean face-lift, but its seamy underbelly remains. Leonid McGill has a foot in two worlds, both ruthless and civilized, a PI with a dark past trying to go straight. It is as if he is trying to reform himself to match the face of the city’s effort to become more civil, more mature, but is betrayed by what feels like nearly everyone around him.

And then there is the matter of the nightmares, falling dreams where even his subconscious doesn’t believe he’s capable of any true reform. He is not capable of lucid dreaming, where the dreamer is aware enough to change the apparent script of the dream, so he must content himself with his actions while awake.

The good news is that LT has formidable talent. For instance, he can locate anyone, and he supplants his meager income with apparently noble work by finding people. However, the unspoken underworld knows this going in and uses that against him, a chilling fact he only discovers when the people he finds start turning up dead, and he deduces he’s next on the list.

Leonid McGill has two sets of strong goals, survival itself using only the skills he’s limited himself to, and the overt goal of discovering the identity of the powerful mystery antagonist who wants him dead. Along the way, Walter Mosley’s pared-down first person language is wry and knowing and sad. He manages the trick of creating a new noir that captures the very best elements of the classics which have gone on before.

They say the longest journey starts with the first step. Leonid McGill shows there is a certain nobility in being brave enough to simply take that first step.
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Monday, July 26, 2010

Resource Round-Up for Fantasy Writers

For today's resource round-up post I decided to focus on links specifically for the Fantasy writers among us. Fantasy is such a fun genre for a writer to delve into. Creating your own world can be very rewarding, but it can also be a big challenge. Hopefully the following links will help you along the way. 

This first link is to a whole page of resources for the Fantasy writer:

Every author knows that they'd better be well-read in their genre. The following is a list of what could arguably be the top 20 Fantasy writers of all time. I disagree with the fact that C.S. Lewis only made the honorable mention list, but I digress.

A forum for Fantasy writers is here: http://www.fantasy-writers.org/

Writer info. at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America: http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/information-center/

Maps are an important part of any Fantasy novel:


Pro Fantasy Map Making Software is one of the top map-creating software companies out there. http://www.profantasy.com/ And here is a blog offering a contest to win some vouchers for money off of those software programs. http://www.fantasymapmaker.com/ (He's also got a very cool blog about map-making.)

AutoRealm is a free GNU mapping software:  http://autorealm.sourceforge.net/index.php

Well, that should get you started and give you some fun places to visit. Please be aware that for the links above that have many pages linked from them, I didn't not have the time to visit every page.

Are you a fantasy writer? What are some of your favorite resources on the web?

Happy Monday, everyone!
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Analogies You Won't Find in Great Literature

He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it. …Joseph Romm, Washington

She caught your eye like one of those pointy little hook latches that dangle from screen doors and fly up whenever you bang the door open. …Rich Murphy, Fairfax Station

The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly like a bowling ball wouldn’t. …Russell Beland, Springfield

McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty Bag filled with vegetable soup.…Paul Sabourin, Silver Spring

From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and “Jeopardy” comes on at 7:00 instead of 7:30.…Roy Ashley, Washington

Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.…Chuck Smith, Woodbridge

Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.…Russell Beland, Springfield

Bob was as perplexed as a hacker who meant to access T:flw.quid55328.com\aaakk/ch@ung but got T:\flw.quidaaakk/ch@ung by mistake.…Ken Krattenmaker, Landover Hills

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.…Wayne Goode, Madison, Ala.

He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.…Jack Bross, Chevy Chase

The hailstones leaped from the pavement like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.…Gary F. Hevel, Silver Spring

Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that, if her life was a movie, this guy would be buried in the credits as something like “Second Tall Man.”…Russell Beland, Springfield

Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.…Jennifer Hart, Arlington


The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr on a Dr Pepper can.…Wayne Goode, Madison, Ala.

They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.…Paul Kocak, Syracuse, N.Y.

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met. …Russell Beland, Springfield

The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.…Barbara Fetherolf, Alexandria

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.…Chuck Smith, Woodbridge

The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon.…Jennifer Frank and Jimmy Pontzer, Washington

(There's more on this post--to see it all go to Al Lowe's Humor Site.)

(All photos compliments of Flickr:
My View of a Solar Eclipse, by dsevilla
Jeopardy, by Justin Levy
Dr Pepper, can by clownfish
Red Crayon, by Brandy Shaul)
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ouch! My Hands Hurt! by C.E. Bailey

For two days, my forearms and wrists flailed about like jelly. And, they ached. After I flopped them limply against my arm chair for the entertainment value, tired of giggling and whining about it, I demanded massages from anyone who passed me by, in other words, my son.

As a writer, this seemingly minor affliction could have more serious consequences, so I risked the pain and typed out my desperate plea to where else? Twitter. Yep, that's what I did. Forget Wikipedia and WebMD and Yahoo Answers. Writers know. There I would also find the sympathy I wasn't getting from my firework obsessed teenage son who claimed his thumbs were sore. This transpired on the 4th of July. Now, I know what you're thinking, "How irresponsible to not go straight to the doctor." In my defense, I always go...once I determine what my diagnosis should be.

And on that note, possible causes of why writers may shout, "OUCH! My Hands Hurt!" as I did 40 times yesterday, whenever my son was in hearing range:


CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME suggested by @salamicat

This occurs most often in people 30 to 60 years old, and is more common in women than men.
Symptoms are:
  • Numbness or tingling in the thumb and next two or three fingers of one or both hands
  • Numbness or tingling of the palm of the hand
  • Pain extending to the elbow
  • Pain in wrist or hand in one or both hands
  • Problems with fine finger movements (coordination) in one or both hands
  • Wasting away of the muscle under the thumb (in advanced or long-term cases)
  • Weak grip or difficulty carrying bags (a common complaint)
  • Weakness in one or both hands
In addition to seeing a doctor, experts recommend wearing splints at night. In the worst case scenario, surgery may be necessary but with a high success rate after recovery.

REPETITIVE STRAIN INJURY suggested by @TifferG

Symptoms:
  • Pain in the arm, back, shoulders, wrists, or hands (typically diffuse – i.e. spread over many areas).
  • The pain is worse with activity.
  • Weakness, lack of endurance.
In contrast to carpal tunnel syndrome, the symptoms tend to be diffuse and non-anatomical, crossing the distribution of nerves, tendons, etc. They tend not to be characteristic of any discrete pathological conditions. Yeah, I copied and pasted that from Wikipedia.

@GwenMcCauley made a useful observation that in addition to taking a break and receiving (another) massage, I ought to consider what I was writing. In fact, the emotional nature of my current work, which I described as "nerve wracking" did lend itself to tension and strain. Good cause to take a break.

However, those two common causes do not rule out the possibility of paralytic shellfish poisoning. And if my face and legs had been numb as well AND I was overtaken by a sensation of floating, I would return to the budget Chinese restaurant I had prawns at last night and demand a refund.

I'm most likely to ask my doctor about neuropathy, ataxia, and retinitis pigmentosa, also known as NARP. Undeniably, I fear this rare genetic disorder related to seizures, numbness in limbs, balance disorders, and hearing loss explains all of my symptoms. Maybe, I cannot remember having half of them yet, but I will by the time I reach the clinic.


Unless, that is, I have POEMS syndrome. Yes, when I feel my side, I'm certain my liver may well have enlarged. Oh! The irony of it all. I write one too many tasteless odes and irony, a cruel mistress! Never again.

After my initial bout of hypochondria, a cold compress, and sincere apologies to my exasperated son, I felt fine. However, I intend to visit the doctor and report my symptoms in case the problem reoccurs. Until then, I can continue researching all 74 Causes of Arm Numbness

Because its fun, informative, and the knowledge you'll garnish can trigger uncontrolled eye rolling in any doctor...or even save you from a misdiagnosis.



by Carrie Bailey
Fantasy/Sci-Fi author and host of PeevishPenman, a community blog for writers.
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Interview with Agent/Author Terry Burns

There isn't enough room in the post to list all of Terry's accomplishments. He has over forty published books not to mention magazine articles and anthology contributions. He received the 2009 Will Rogers Medallion for Beyond the Smoke, which was also nominated for the Western Writers Assn "Spur Award." His To Keep a Promise was nominated for the "Willa Award," bestowed by Women Writing the West (not for women only!) and was a finalist for the "Eppy," Epic's prestigious writing award for the e-book industry.

Being a fifth-generation Irish storyteller and a fourth-generation Texas teller of tall tales, it is no small wonder Terry is such a prolific writer.

He is also an agent with the Hartline Literary Agency, and was the agent for Jill Williamson, whose
By Darkness Hid was the recipient of the 2010 Christy Award for the visionary category.

Terry graciously accepted an invitation for an interview:



AC: You’ve worked for Hartline Literary Agency for four years. What made you decide to become an agent?

Terry: Joyce [Hart] was and still is my agent. But I was finding deals and bringing them to her to finish as well as helping some of my friends publish. She took note of that and asked me to join her and do it for the agency.

AC: Publisher’s Marketplace of Agents had you in the top five of agents who help debut authors get published. How many new writers have you helped to launch? How are they doing today?

Terry: I have helped over twenty debut authors get their start. All are doing well and most have published more than one book. One won a Christy, and two are bestsellers at their house.

AC: In your soon-to-be-released how-to guide, A Writer’s Survival Guide to Getting Published, you wear the hats of both writer and agent, so you understand the process from both sides of the table. What it the most common mistake you see among newbies seeking publication?

Terry: Not doing the necessary research to know who they are pitching to, what they want to see, and how they want to receive it. A bad submission has little chance of success, and generally just burns a bridge that a proper submission might have had success with.

AC: In the guide, you wrote of meeting Donald Maass, author of Writing the Breakout Novel and The Fire in Fiction. You learned a valuable lesson from this prominent New York agent. What was it?

Terry: Having an interview with him without knowing in advance that he did not represent what I was pitching. This led to me learning the comment I made above in “the most common newbie mistake.”

AC: I'm sure you get a lot of submissions. What are you looking for? What catches your eye and makes you want to represent someone?

Terry: I look for a good book, well written, where I can see the market for it and feel like I have the right contacts to get it into that market.

I get anywhere from 200-300 submissions a month and lots of them are good books. I can’t take that many, and other editors and agents are in the same boat. What that means is a good book just isn’t enough. It has to be an exceptional book. It has to be a unique subject that I’m not seeing a ton of books on, written in a unique voice, and it has to be written in such a way that it draws me in and keeps me in the story all the way through.

AC: What characteristics make up your “ideal” client?

Terry: One that is a team player, who is prepared to make necessary changes to their product, who has a realistic outlook of the time frame and realistic expectations, and one that is prepared to actively help market the book.

AC: What advice would you give a newbie about building a platform? About marketing? Do you have any encouraging words for newbies whose proposals are dismally bare?

Terry: Too many new writers feel like they don’t need a website or social marketing, or trying to build a name for themselves until they have a book to sell. The truth is if we wait until we have a book in hand we are woefully behind the curve. By the time we start getting all of those things up to speed and set to market, the book has run its season and the publisher is moving on to other things.

Eighty-five percent of all manuscripts will never be significantly published. The people just aren’t prepared to do what they need to do to publish or to sell. This means the serious author who is working to improve their craft, building a name for themselves, making needed changes, and who has the patience to stay the course are only up against the fifteen percent of authors who are similarly motivated. Much better odds than most people think they face.

AC: As a writer, what are you most proud of?

Terry:
My book, Mysterious Ways, had an unusual ministry when it came out. I started receiving letter and emails from convicts who said they thought they were beyond redemption until they realized the truth of the character in the book that they identified with. They realized there was a chance for them and told me of the steps they had taken to turn their life around. Those few notes were terribly rewarding.

Thanks, Terry. We appreciate your taking the time to participate in this interview!

To obtain contact information for Terry as an agent, click Hartline Literary Agency or to find out more about him and his books, go to Cowboy Musing.


In
The Writer's Survivor Guide to Getting Published (Port Yonder Press, 2010), Terry covers topics such as: writing an eye-catching query letter, pitching effectively to an agent or editor, developing a broad platform, and preparing winning proposals and market plans. The information in this book is invaluable!

This book can be pre-ordered at Terry's "bookstore." While you're there, check out his other titles!
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Friday, July 16, 2010

Fabulously Fun Friday: Death Ray From Space!!!

Given my pedigree as a genre fan and my side job moonlighting as a Galactic Overlord (wherein I am forever threatening, and sparing, your puny planet), this will all make perfect sense.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Review of Fiction Writer's Workshop by Josip Novakovich

Laid out in much the same format as a live workshop might be, Fiction Writer’s Workshop presents the fundamentals of ten basic elements of fiction writing. Croatian-born short story writer Josip Novakovich guides his students through the quest for inspiration, the actual mechanics of the craft, and finally ends with an excellent chapter on the art of revision.


His sections on setting, characters, plot, POV, and dialogue are well scripted, beginning with an overview of the subject and segueing into tips for practical application. Each chapter ends with a series of hands-on exercises.


The last four chapters—regarding beginnings and endings, description and word choice, voice, and revision—very nearly approach brilliance. Novakovich reveals in marvelous simplicity the inner workings of these most difficult aspects of fiction writing. Despite his tendency toward archaic literary examples (although perhaps he might be applauded for encouraging his readers, in doing so, to reach beyond commercial blockbusters) and the unimpressive excerpts from his own fiction, this is a stellar work.
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

How Do You Know When a Story Is Finished?

We often complain that life isn’t as clear as it is in the movies. Unlike real life, stories offer definitive story arcs and concrete beginnings and endings. And, yet, ironically, it can often be difficult for writers to know just where that supposedly definitive ending point is in their stories. This ending point isn’t so much the knowledge of where to end the story itself, as it is knowing when to stop writing the darn thing. When is a story finished for good and all?


  • When we type “The End” on the first draft?
  • When we’ve edited it a few (hundred million) times?
  • When we’ve submitted it for publication?
  • When we’ve seen it in print?
  • When (if we’re extraordinarily lucky) it’s lasted through two or three editions?
  • When we’re dead and buried and the poor story is beyond our possessive clutches?

Because fiction, like much of art, often offers its creator a beguiling sense of fluidity, we have an infinite opportunity for improving it. No story is ever going to be perfect. There’s always room for refinement. Some of us grow frustrated with this ability, declare a story finished as soon as possible, and cast it aside to move on to new projects. Those of us with a streak of perfectionism tend to lean toward the opposite extreme and obsess over projects, sometimes even after they’re in print—and sometimes to the point they will never see print, because we’re not willing to let them go until we’ve tweaked them just a teensy bit more.


In a post on the Writer’s Digest blog MFA Confidential, Kate Monahan, revealed that:


I often struggle with knowing when a story is finished…. Finishing means that the story is as good as it is going to be, or rather—as good as you can make it. It’s hard to let stories go… Sometimes we have to make the choice, decide, and just stop. Sometimes, even though the story isn’t perfect, we have nothing left to say.

Following are a few signs you’ve reached that point of nothing left to say:


  1. You’re changing miniscule details (punctuation, paragraph spaces, etc.) over and over again. If you’re not making important changes in your edits, you’re probably at the end of your editing capabilities. Either seek outside opinions from critique partners, or move on to the next step of submitting for publication.
  2. You’re editing for the sake of editing, as a delaying tactic to avoid sending your work out into the world. Submitting our beloved stories for the approval (and, often, rejection) of others is scary business. But don’t trick yourself into taking the coward’s way out. You’ll never be published if your manuscript never hops into that manila envelope.
  3. You’re rewriting the same story over and over again, to the point that new ideas never get a chance. In truth, we could all probably spend the rest of our lives polishing just one story. And perhaps we would produce a magnum opus in the end. But there comes a time when we have to let stories go. Some stories will never be perfect. At some point, we need to take what we’ve learned and move on to the next piece.
  4. You’re not setting (or observing) any deadlines. Due to its unpredictable nature, art doesn’t always observe the concrete deadlines we might like to impose upon it. If it says it wants more time than you had planned to give it, you’re usually better off listening to it. However, there comes a time when deadlines can be useful in moving a stubborn story to the finished pile. Set a tentative time limit for your story. Tell yourself you’re going to finish editing it by next Christmas and move on to the next step (seeking publication, starting a new story, etc.).

“Too many stories, not enough time” sums up many writers’ outlook. As a result, we can’t afford to spend too much time on any one story. It’s important we learn to recognize when a story is finished with us (and vice versa), so we can continue our journey as authors.
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Friday, July 9, 2010

Fabulously Fun Friday: If I Become a Famous Author

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What makes one's 'voice' distinct (with help from Star Wars)



Literary agent Chip MacGregor has a terrific post up about finding your writing 'voice.' I've thought about this topic quite a bit. What would Lord of the Rings have read like had it been written by C.S. Lewis instead of J.R.R. Tolkien? What if Edgar Rice Burroughs had written LOTR? How about Anne McCaffrey or Marion Zimmer Bradley? The majesty of LOTR is in the story, but the brilliance is pure Tolkien.

So just what is one's writing 'voice?'

It's your personality on the page. As the writer, you have a unique voice -- something that sounds exactly like you, that is completely different from everyone else. The best writers develop a strong sense of voice, so that you can actually tell the author wrote it -- "That is obviously Mark Twain," or "That's got to be Edgar Allen Poe" or "I can tell Charles Dickens wrote that." In contemporary writing circles, it's easy to sound like everyone else, since conferences and classes all seem to suggest there is a "right" way to write. That tends to flatten out voice in favor of correctness. But if three decades in publishing have taught me anything, it's that a great writing voice will make you stand out.

As an agent, I find myself MUCH more drawn to a great writing voice than any other factor. Think about some of the contemporary writers who have a strong voice -- Haven Kimmel, Douglas Adams, Garrison Keillor... nobody mistakes them for someone else. They simply don't sound like everybody else. They sound like themselves. And I find the more I write, the more I sound like myself. And, frankly, the more I sound like myself, the better "voice" I have in my writing.

Again, I keep hearing people at conferences who more or less want all writers to sound the same. That's undoubtedly helpful to beginning writers, who simply need to keep their creativity in check long enough to learn the basics of the craft. But it's also why I keep seeing the same novel coming across my desk -- instead of Fiona and Drake in Scotland, the setting is now Becky and Charles on the prairie, only the story is the same. The only things that's changed are the costumes. It's boring. And it's the curse of writing classes and conferences. (Don't get me wrong -- I love writer's conferences. I just don't want everybody coming out of them sounding like clones.) The best writers learn the rudiments, figure out how to craft a novel, then take the steps of learning how to do it in their own way, using their own voice, so that the story YOU tell is not the same story your NEIGHBOR will tell.


Which brings us to the example phase of this post. (This is going to be fun!) Most people know that Harrison Ford played irrepressible smuggler Han Solo in the Star Wars film that started it all (what we now know as 'Star Wars IV, A New Hope'). But did you know that Kurt Russell screen-tested for that same role?



Weird, right? I love Kurt Russell as an actor — there's nothing the guy can't do. But Han? Harrison Ford nailed that role so perfectly that it hurts my head trying to imagine somebody, anybody, else in that part. Did you know that Robbie Benson tested for the role of Luke Skywalker? How about Andrew Stevens? They're all name actors now, but can you imagine what Star Wars would have been like if anybody other than the actors we now know and love had gotten those parts instead?

For reference, here's Mark Hamill's streen-test. As I watch his clip, it reminds me that not only does one want to develop a distinctive writing 'voice,' one also needs to be able to execute when the opportunity presents itself.

But that's another post. ;)
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Monday, July 5, 2010

Marketing - Creative Contests to Drive Sales

Marketing is all about getting people to notice your product. (And then hopefully after they notice it, BUY the product.)

But let's face it, in our world we are bombarded with products we are supposed to take note of, every day. You can't drive to the grocery store, turn on the TV, listen to the radio, or even surf the Internet, without being exposed to a gazillion gadgets and gizmos that someone wants you to buy.

As a result, our society has become mostly numb to many marketing schemes. When we watch a DVD we let the adds run while we finish making pop corn, when the radio switches over to the yakking we change it to another station or turn it off altogether, etc.

One way to break through to people however is to give them something they want in exchange for their recognition of your product.

Book giveaways on blogs have risen dramatically over the past few years. Many people take note of the product (enter the drawing) but only one wins. Then hopefully the others who took note will go out and buy. There is also the benefit of the word of mouth advertising the winner will promulgate if the book is well done.

For my first book I did a couple different blog tours.

For my next book I plan to do blog tours, but I also approached a Bed & Breakfast in the small town of Pierce, ID, the setting of my first book. I asked them if they would be willing to donate a night's stay as part of my marketing campaign for my 2nd book, High Desert Haven. Colleen, owner of The Outback Bed & Breakfast, was more than happy to do that. She went beyond my expectations in what she was willing to donate and I'm very excited to see the results.

I will enter people into the drawing for the vacation if they buy one or more of my books and report back to me that they did so. I'm still working out all the details of how it will play out, so maybe I'll post another time about exactly how I ran the drawing.

Meanwhile, what are some unique things you have done to attract people to your book?
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Friday, July 2, 2010

First Lines from Bad Novels ~ Fabulously Fun Friday

I sincerely hope that none of you have ever penned a line like these...

  10) "As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he were ever to break wind in the echo chamber he would never hear the end of it."

  9) "Just beyond the Narrows the river widens."

  8) "With a curvaceous figure that Venus would have envied, a tanned unblemished oval face framed with lustrous thick brown hair, deep azure-blue eyes fringed with long black lashes, perfect teeth that vied for competition, and a small straight nose, Marilee had a beauty that defied description."

  7) "Andre, a simple peasant, had only one thing on his mind as he crept along the East wall: "Andre creep...Andre creep... Andre creep."

  6) "Stanislaus Smedley, a man always on the cutting edge of narcissism, was about to give his body and soul to a back alley sex change surgeon to become the woman he loved."

  5) "Although Sarah had an abnormal fear of mice, it did not keep her from eking out a living at a local pet store."

  4) "Stanley looked quite bored and somewhat detached, but then penguins often do."

  3) "Like an overripe beefsteak tomato rimmed with cottage cheese, the corpulent remains of Santa Claus lay dead on the hotel floor."

  2) "Mike Hardware was the kind of private eye who didn't know the meaning of the word "fear," a man who could laugh in the face of danger and spit in the eye of death -- in short, a moron with suicidal tendencies."

  AND THE WINNER IS...

  1) "The sun oozed over the horizon, shoved aside darkness, crept along the greensward, and, with sickly fingers, pushed through the castle window, revealing the pillaged princess, hand at throat, crown asunder, gaping in frenzied horror at the sated, sodden amphibian lying beside her, disbelieving the magnitude of the frog's deception, screaming madly, "You lied!"



Okay, so fess up... What's the worst opening line you ever wrote? I searched through my WIPs and came up with this bit of boredom. "Damera, a baby-bag slung over her shoulder, brushed a long strand of dark hair behind her ear as she followed her husband through the auto-parts store." (Snore. :))
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