Wednesday, February 9, 2011

February Secret Agent #20

TITLE: The Worst Novel Ever Written

(A shiny, dotted, wet piece of sandpaper-coated muscle soars through the air. It soars with urgency. It soars with passion. With intent. With haste. Horniness. Pride. Confidence. Ambition.

Like a spear, it soars. Like an arrow, it soars. Like (any projectile soaring straight that you can think of), it soars.

And it soars so fast. Like nascars. Like that spear. Like that arrow. But all fast-forwarded. 32X speed.

It collides with another muscle. Like two towels, they collide. Like two balloons, they collide. But not totally like them. These two muscles, they smush together. Their shiny dots of wetness eject, and project, and soar until they collide. This collision splashes. It creates bigger globs of wetness. And that wetness rains down on two muscles. Two muscles that are now locked in the ultimate wrestling match.

One muscle twists and turns and wraps and crawls and drags across the other, as the other does the same thing, but delayed by one second, so they form a twisty thing.

Like they both got an A+ in gymnastics, these muscles unwind and perform the ultimate moves. Aerial. Check. Front hip pullover. Check. Front pike somersault. Check. Somi-and-a-half. Check. Sticking. Check. Straddle. Check. Straddle split. Check. Swedish fall. Check. Check. Yurchenko. Now they've gone too far. One muscle pulls back. It's panting. It's dripping saliva. Right down to a row of teeth. The teeth are white. They were just brushed. They were just flossed. )


  1. Um, WOW! Just, wow! I love the flow of the sentences here. I love the word play. I love how I'm not entirely sure what just happened, but I think I am entirely sure what just happened. This is a true work of art, and I have no critiques. Just love :)

  2. How could anyone refrain from commenting on an entry with this title? I sure couldn't. So kudos on picking a title that grabs.

    Due to the parentheses, I'm going to assume that this first page is meant to be an excerpt from the titular worst novel. And you know what? It's not that bad, really. A might confusing, but the writing flows. I'm not sure what I've read, but I'm intrigued enough to read on.

    (Note on the gymnastics terminology, though. If it's supposed to make a certain level of sense, most of the moves you list are floor moves, but a Yurchenko is a class of vaults--unless Yurchenko invented another move I'm unaware of and had it named for her.)

  3. My only complaint is that I want to read more and there isn't any more! I'm a bit confused as to what is going on but I'm sure that would get cleared up as the novel progressed.

  4. Hmm, not sure I totally get this. However, I'd have to keep reading to make some sense of it. As it stands, it's jolting. But I'm assuming it's part of a much larger picture that will make sense once the reader gets a little further.

  5. I obviously have no imagination or artistic sense, cause I don't get it. I cracked up at certain lines, so I know the writer can be funny. Unfortunately, these 250 words sound like someone's pranking me with this entry. I don't know, maybe it comes together in the next paragraph or two. I just don't get it. From this sample, all I can say for sure is I liked the title.

  6. From the unique writing style, for a moment I actually thought the title was a joke based on A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers.

  7. Only read this one through once. I got the sense of something coming into being. Molecules combining, cells forming? Possibly way off base, but that's the impression I got.

    Edit: Second reading. It's a kiss. Am I right?

  8. You're right, Casper, this opening is about a kiss. But it's more about how kids view sex.

  9. I'm not hooked. When I pick up a book the first things I want to know are (1) who is our MC and (2) what is going on. I understand that this is probably an excerpt from the worst novel ever, which one of the main characters is probably writing, but maybe it could be shortened. 250 words of it seems a little excessive.

    However, I would definitely be interested in a novel about a teenage writer. That's definitely someone I could relate to.

  10. The first time I read this, I didn't get it at all. I was ready to move on. But then I read the comments and saw it was a kiss, from a kid's POV, so I went back and read it again with that in mind.

    It made all the difference in the world. I could suddenly see that, yes, this was a kiss, and the writing suddenly read and sounded like a kid describing a kiss. So it does work.

    But, if your audience is as dense as I was, you could lose a lot of readers. The first time through, I was taking you literally and was picturing muscles, as in clams. (Hangs her head in shame.) I couldn't figure out what you were trying to do.

  11. I didn't get it either, and I'm not into books where the author needs to explain it to me. But then again, I needed Coles notes to get through Shakespear so I'll shut up. ;)

    Good luck with it!

  12. Hm, I'm afraid I don't like it either.

    Craft alone is good. I like the flow, the images are strong. But it's a very tender balance between just right and off and I'm not entirely convinced these 250 fall into the first category.

    I like writing that breaks the rules, I love well crafted metaphors, but I'm afraid this one is not for me. :)

  13. This is the weirdest thing I've read in a long long while. All too strange and confusing. I don't get the sandpaper-coated muscle floating about - but without a clue what you're writing about (maybe the book jacket would give some clues - for some books you have to know the set-up before reading) I'm not intrigued. Just rapidly moving on.

  14. Great title, but I didn't get it either.

  15. I thought this was too wordy. I didn't get it after the first reading. I don't think it's an accurate depiction of how YAs think about kissing.

    If this an excerpt from the titular work, I'd suggest shortening it so the reader gets to something less wordy first, or maybe even starting with the MC sitting down to read or write the novel.

  16. Hum, I think I'll try this on my wife tonight. I love creativity, so I, in offering advice will likely be off the mark...because your POV has a very unusual voice. Must girls and boys just love kissing. (Hey this should have been in the kiss contest).

    Okay, I felt the catalogue of gymnastics moves was just a dump. Since they were mutually exclusive to each other in some cases. It focuses attention back on the author.

    Maybe I misunderstood, but aren't we all supposed to start with the first 250. Unlike some other critters who doubted you, I'll grant you that.

    Some horniness is coming her way, but isn't it a two way street. Maybe it's impossible to stop this analysis to tack in a little "I'll horny you right back.

    After a second read I get the boy has stubble. Because it's abstract, no place, no when, you might do well to find a way for the creatively impaired to clue-in. Like have one word at the top of the page "Kiss." This could be for her not too swift friend who she loves dearly anyway and will be introduced later...

    I'd kiss on.

  17. You lost me. Sorry, but sometimes being too clever just leaves the reader confused.

  18. Is this serious? First read, I thought it was a joke. Sorry, I don't get it.

  19. I laughed. In a good way. I like it, and as long as I could see the MC right after this kiss, I'd be fine, especially if he/she had a strong voice. I suspect from this little bit, you'd nail that.

    My only comment would be to shorten this up. It's clever and funny, but I do want to get to the serious POV of the MC sooner. "The wet piece of sandpaper" was the image that didn't work for me. I think if you cut just a few lines here and there and got us to WHO is kissing, it'd be golden, IMHO. Best wishes!