Sunday, 27 September 2009

Most of us...

...fondly imagine that within us lies the kernel of a great novel, awaiting only a final push to issue forth, corporeal and magnificent.

Most of us are wrong.

Courtesy of my big sister, here are the finalists in a recent competition to write really awful openings to novels.

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 over-ripe 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."


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!'"

And then of course there's your editor's upcoming opus entitled "10 million krona? How much is that in real money?" which opens with:

'The president of the Nobel committee called again for quiet as he addressed the cheering audience at the awards ceremony in Stockholm. "I see" the tall, distinguished Swede told the audience "that our decision to award the Jaggy Thistle editor the prize for literature for the third year running meets with your distinct approval" he continued to renewed rapturous applause.

Raising his hand again to quieten the adoring throng he smiled broadly before saying: "And I'm sure you will also approve of the committee's decision to just award the Jaggy Thistle editor with the prize every year from now on, because, let's face it, he's the best writer there will ever be!"

Cue bedlam.

Later, in his suite in the five star Stockholm Hilton, the Jaggy Thistle editor took another sip of the free Krug and shifted his weight languorously on the bed covered in crisp 100 krona notes. To his left, a naked Maura Tierney, her off ER, smiled coquettishly, to his right, an equally naked Angelina Jolie eyed him with something approaching naked lust.

He groaned wearily and said "Girls, girls, you're wearing me out! Give me five minutes rest for goodness sake."

"Here's what we'll do" the naked twosome said in breathy unison, "we'll froth each other up again, and you join in when you feel like it."

As the girls entwined in a sensuous, sapphic sandwich, the editor managed to pull his gaze away from the writhing duo to take in the splendour of the suite, the effervescence of the Krug and the blanket of money covering the bed. "Fuckin' 'ell" he said as much to himself as his rapidly moistening companions, "this is all right, int' it?"

And then he woke up. Lying in a skip.'

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