Bad writing

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Bad writing

“I’m a winner,” thought Seabiscuit, galloping across the finish line.

[quote]So what did win? First, the usual caveats. With the number of entries having soared well into the four digits — some of them not even by people named Chloe — many worthy submissions didn't make the cut. The final list of winners might have been a little different had I assembled it on different days. And just being funny isn't the only criterion here: other important factors are how believable it is that someone could have written the sentence without meaning to be funny, and how well suited it is to be the first sentence of a novel. Someone named Brandon Specktor summed it up very well: "Lyttle Lytton isn't an explicit, pee-my-shorts-from-randomness comedy contest so much as an unintentional, god-bless-you-for-trying-to-be-a-writer facepalm contest." As such, the winner of the 2012 Lyttle Lytton Contest is:

[quote]Agent Jeffrey’s trained eyes rolled carefully around the room, taking in the sights and sounds.

Davian Aw[/quote]

When I read the first half of this, I thought, yes, I've heard editors grumbling about the use of "eyes" for "gaze": "'Her eyes landed on his lapel pin' — didn't that hurt?" Then I reached the "and sounds" part and knew this one would be tough to beat. There were entries at which I laughed more, but the combination of craft, plausibility, and cringe factor — and, yes, laughs — put this one on top.[/quote]

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

that image of eyes rolling around kind of creeps me out.

I think if i were reading a passage like this, I might not think twice, and my mind would just assume the word 'looked', but after reading the last paragraph, it made me cringe a bit. 

Both in visual of eyes rolling around a floor -- gathering hair and pulling the hair out with eye goo coming off -- but the fact that incorrect use of words has become to commonplace that our brain now understands and thinks nothing of it. 

(Evacuate the buliding of my brain, but not the contents inside it!)


Peter Craig, you literary genius you.

'Gramlax the Mighty raised his broadsword overhead and swung it mightily, roaring, “You fellows will certainly pay!”'

ETA: This Gramalax dude sounds like a guy I dated in high school.  His name sounds like a nasty chalky liquid I took last night.


That's funny. He also sounds like the tasty salty dried  salmon stuff I had last night


Slumberjack wrote:

macktheknife wrote:
Maybe a technological precipice, but our resolve to crush all other species remains. I am afraid I am not so jingoistic with regards our `progress`. Our species has and continues to prove itself predatory, thus I cannot cheerlead our advancement.

I don't know if mactheknife is around here anymore, but I have to agree with his crocodile comparison.  The kinder points of reference sparingly distributed throughout the most persistent influences in the world; that of religion; for the most part have not been able to ameliorate the excesses which are consistent in the demonstrated fact of our predatory nature, and instead have been used in many instances as justification for preying upon others at the same time that the tools to do so have been increasingly perfected over time.  Even the perfection of such tools are hailed as part of some higher calling specifically crafted to render this nature into something other than what it is, which to me appears as an evolutionary development formulated to govern the development of human awareness.  In examining the evidence, a belief that we will ultimately save ourselves from an early extinction in comparison with other species that have roamed the planet, or that something will eventually drop in to save us, appear to be both grounded in the messianic.

Browsed around in a few threads yesterday while dodging the tumbleweeds, and found this one started by Catchfire.  A little later I chanced upon this little whatchamacallit, clearly for the second time.

I've always appreciated good writing for its creativity, but after so many years of practicing for competency in that regard, here and elsewhere, I may consider using chat abbreviations to communicate with instead.  Think I'll try one now.  WTF.

Maysie Maysie's picture


Maysie wrote:

I get to pick?  Ok.  Second one down in the leftmost column, except remove formerly. Tongue out