The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Throwing The Gauntlet Down – A New Writing Challenge

Posted by BigWords on October 2, 2010

There was a time when I thought it would be a good idea to try and write a Lovecraftian musical, using the extended Cthulhu Mythos as a hook on which to create something utterly preposterous and horrible, and which defied any kind of logic. One of the sequences was to be a character alone on a darkened stage, highlighted by a beam of light, with figures in black moving in the shadows around him. This fragment was the best I could manage to convey the weird eeriness, and you can immediately see why I never managed to get it any further than half a dozen songs and a rough outline… Yes, it is as awful as it sounds, but it was one of those “It seemed like a good idea at the time” deals.

Beyond the farthest hill and vale,
Onwards from man’s remotest prevail,
The dark ones still reside in calm
perpetual mystery.
Do you know where I am?

Beyond the wilderness outside the dale,
So lost am I in the cold, so frail,
They are here with me, and yet farm
perpetual mystery.
I don’t know where I am…

Finding this again, residing in the wrong folder, has reminded me that not every idea should be considered too seriously, especially if there are multiple points at which I could screw up horribly. Risking looking like an idiot isn’t a problem – I have no shame, after all – but with a musical there are other people who would take flak for a bad show. Minimizing the pain my awful material causes isn’t just a matter of preventing your eyes bleeding should you stumble upon a particularly wrought sentence, it also involves keeping my writing safely to myself when it could possible have a negative effect on others. In the case of my attempts at writing musicals, I am certain their inactive status is for the best.

This got me thinking about the reasons why I keep all this stuff, as horrible and useless as the pieces may be… Then it hit me – what may very well be the most ridiculous and horrifying prospect imaginable to any author. I have a new challenge I am setting forth right here. Something which will make grown men weep, and prove, once and for all, who can come up with the worst writing without deliberately forcing themselves to write crap. This is something not to be considered lightly. This is the “Worst. Prose. Ever.” Challenge – and quite possibly the worst challenge ever as well…

Share with me your abominations.

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4 Responses to “Throwing The Gauntlet Down – A New Writing Challenge”

  1. Excerpt from my most embarrassing short, “My Sister’s Wish.” Enjoy.

    Unicorns eat midgets.

    Well, that would explain why I was craving meat.
    “’…not only do unicorns have a physiological need to consume human flesh, and possibly bone, but, ideally, such morsels should be excised from a fresh body of petite and distorted proportions,’” Erica read from a sheaf of papers she’d printed out from some fantasy website she’d found. “Oh, my God, Nat, you eat midgets,” she said, looking at me with perfectly round bewildered eyes.

    I wanted to laugh. I really did. Yeah, I was going to go out hunting for Oompa-Loompas, terrorizing little people. God. My sister may have been book-smart, but she was so incredibly, painfully, gullible. I don’t know how she found this idiotic website, but she obviously believed every word she read there. She told me that it was maintained by some doctor from Brazil or something. I know, like they have med schools in the third world, right? I wished she would go back in the house and leave me alone to sulk. I thought about stepping on her hot pink cast. That would teach her for being so stupid.

    I had to admit, though, I was glad to have some company. Mom was avoiding me and Dad was burying himself in his work. To feel better about themselves — like they weren’t abandoning me or whatever — they tried to eat dinner with me in the garage on that second night, but the smell was too bad. Dad had mucked out my makeshift stall after work, but it was pretty rank. I remember one summer Erica bugged my mom to let her take riding lessons, and she had to quit after a week because the farm smell made my mom gag. We were never horse people. So, I appreciated her hanging out with me in my fetid pen. Even though this was all her fault. (Was it?)

    “I haven’t been able to find anything about reversing that chicken-in-the-sock thing. I’m trying, Nat, I really am.” She stroked my mane. “Is it hard for you? It must be. I’m so sorry.” She threw her arms around my neck and leaned against me. I could feel her heart beating. She smelled like cookies.

    “I wish there was somebody I could call or something.”

    I wished she could call Chuck and tell him that I still wanted to go to the movies with him next Saturday night. Mom said he called three times the first day I missed school. He only called once yesterday. Now, if Erica could just call him… But, what would she say? “Hey, Chuck, Nat’s still into you, but she’s a unicorn now…” Ha ha. Bummer. I had to get out of this body somehow. And soon, like before next Saturday. I could not miss our first date. I’d been waiting for him to ask me out all year. OMG, this sucked so bad.

    “I’ll be back in a while. I’m going to lie down. The stuff the doctor gave me makes me really sleepy.” Erica pulled herself up from the folding chair with her metal crutches and swung into the house. I wondered if her meds made her retarded, too.

    She did wish for me to turn into a unicorn. A lot.

  2. Jim Hutchins said

    In my defense, I wrote this as a parody. “Enjoy”.

    ===

    Where the River Mook flows gently down from the Hills of Hesperia, a gently undulating stream of crystal-clear water trickling and babbling and undulating over the sharp and smooth rocks which have been carried down from the Hills of Hesperia for these many millions of sun-cycles, where the riverbanks are encrusted with daffodils and paperwhite narcissus and jonquils and jonny-jump-ups, just beyond the reeds and cat-tails, standing tall and proud like spikes of organic life, just before one reaches the Meadow of Markort, which lies covered with the meadowgrasses and prairiegrasses and ryegrasses of loamy, fertile soil, forming gently undulating humps broken here and there over many leagues of distance by undulations of the burial mounds of our ancestors, where the bones of our forefathers and foremothers like moldering like leftover fruit rinds in the dark, damp, peaty soil, marking time through the process of decomposition like the deconstruction of a really well-sung song, the beetles and worms and grubs and maggots and pillbugs and roaches and things too small for the mortal eye to inspect now slowly and carefully feeding on the nutrients our forefathers and foremothers now provide to grow the undulating grassy plains and the wildflowers decorating the burial mounds which rise so slightly above the undulating plains that one could easily mistake them for a small hummock when they actually contain all that we once knew, all that we were, all that we sang, the love and laughter and stories and plainsong which was once the exclusive property of our ancestors but now lies moldering in the undulating burial mound as dead and lost and gone as their mortal flesh, where the small animals, the prairie dogs and mice and voles and moles blind like the man with no eyes who must feel his way in the eternal darkness, run and scamper and play and mate and breed and nurse and bring to life the smaller versions of those self-same animals that must feed on the undulating prairie grasses and the wildflowers and each other, as certainly as Nimrod is our God, the cycle of life unbroken by the undulating curves of the soil, and the plants, and the flesh, there amongst the flowers and the reeds, near the banks of the River Mook, at the exact place where the undulating brushstrokes of the Meadow of Markort blends seamlessly with the endlessly undulating brushstrokes and rivulets of the River Mook, there at the end of one thing and the beginning of another, stands a unicorn, regarding us with gentle and benign interest as I explore the undulating curves between the thigh and hip of my first love, my best love, my only love, the love who I cannot stop myself from loving but who is forbidden to me, the fair Lady MacNeigh.

  3. Oh, these are great. Thanks for the laughs. I wished I’d saved the horrid writings of my childhood. If so, I’d willingly share them here.

  4. bigwords88 said

    My horrid writings were never confined to my childhood. I still regularly churn out horrifically bad material on a regular basis, and this post serves as proof of my bad ideas being allowed free reign.

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