Worst Writing Week: Worst Description

10 Aug

And the horror continues.

Next in our line-up of Worst Writing Week, where we shamelessly showcase some terrible sections of our first drafts, we have….

Worst Description.

~~~

There was a hesitation her small frame was projecting with a slightly downward tilting chin and nervous hands, but her eyes—though they looked only around their faces and not directly at them—bore a tinge of defiance.

~

Gah, I looooved super long sentences and ’em dashes back then. And over-writing.

~~~

The smell reeled you in like an exhausted fish on a line, further and further, until you were inside the store, staring down at all the delicious, sugary sweetness arrayed before you like a banquet of the gods.

~

I think use of second person qualifies this immediately, but then there’s the lack of periods or semi-colons to consider. Piling too many clashing food similes into one sentence? That’s just extra points off.

~~~

The building resembled a mini castle, complete with towers and parapets. It was four stories high, but three towers jutted out a story higher, and another tower, the farthest from the road, three stories higher. From this highest tower she guessed that you could see most of the 700 acres of land, the castle being right in the middle of it all, with a low brick wall surrounding it.

The 700 hundred acres were dotted with cool glades and even contained a river and a waterfall. Forrest and trees covered all and dirt paths criss-crossed around pleasant picnic spots and beautiful clearings full of wildflowers. Beyond the boundary of the land were more trees that eventually turned into gargantuan surrounding mountains. It all seemed very pretty.

~

If you look to the left you’ll see the instruction manual from which this description was taken, and if you look to the right you’ll see a very embarrassed Biljana smacking herself in the head.

~~~

She stretched out on the clover-smelling grass.

~

Clover-smelling grass?  When was the last time you were sitting in the grass and thought, “I smell clover!”

Yeah, exactly.

~~~

Celaena Sardothien was a beautiful woman—or at least she had been before she had been sent to work at the mines.  Tall and slender, she had a body that was desirable in every way.  Her naturally red, full lips, rosy cheeks, and long, dark eyelashes that covered sapphire eyes gave her a face that every woman envied.  But it was her golden hair that caught the attention of most people.  Even when it was knotted and caked with dirt and grime from the mines, it shimmered and shone like unwashed gold.  She was young, barely past her adolescent years, and full of life and potential.

Her body had been perfect for her previous occupation.  How many men would love to be alone with such a woman for a few hours?  How many women would like to discuss in private what the secret to her beauty was?  Too many.  Celaena’s good looks had made her job all-too easy.

~

When I read this description, I want to cry. Or kill myself. Or both. What the HELL were you thinking, sixteen year-old self?!

~~~

‘Young at heart’ does not begin to describe her. The full, relaxed maturity of an experienced mother with bourgeoisie beauty genes, a favorite grandmother’s disposition, and a chipmunk on steroid’s energy combined in Ally to make the most mind boggling, beautiful, and interesting Barbie reincarnation it has ever been my anti-prep pleasure to encounter.

~

I’m blushing. This doesn’t even begin to make sense.

~~~

A new storm had raged the night before, as relentless as the one that had taken place two and a half weeks ago. The golden sun peaked over the green hills, casting a warm glow on the still-wet earth. The scent of the summer morning filled the warm air, with the birds singing for the start of a new day, perched on the branches of the sweet green trees, and everything was quiet.

~

Clearly, like Kat, I loved long sentences (that last one is terrible!). I guess I didn’t know what semi-colons were yet. And apparently I really liked the colour green. Also, how can singing birds equate to everything being quiet? Ugh.

~~~

What’s your worst description?
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46 Responses to “Worst Writing Week: Worst Description”

  1. Kelly August 10, 2010 at 3:36 AM #

    Congrats! You guys are all brave souls for sharing these with us. But I have to say, I really cant see there’s any thing bad about the descriptions… Should I be worried? XD

    I peered up at the sky, the sun was blindingly bright. But that wasn’t what kept me interested. I saw two blurred shapes, far up high in the sky, they were shaped like birds. They seemed to be circling each other at a rapid speed, with little sparks brighter than the sun dancing around them. I was deeply intrigued. At the age of six, I didn’t think of the possibilities that it might have been an asteroid hitting earth, or the sky raining fire, or anything. It was plain curiosity.

    Hahaha… I was 14. ajljdflksjflakjslskhaf

    • Kat Zhang August 10, 2010 at 12:02 PM #

      I think some of these are worse in context. I know mine is, haha. One super-long, overly wordy sentence is bad, but when your entire book composes of them? 😛

    • Biljana August 10, 2010 at 2:03 PM #

      Yeah I agree with Kat, some of them are much much worse in context.

      I love how you just bring up the sky raining fire as if it does that every day :D. And you have now joined us as a brave soul!

  2. Aurora Blackguard August 10, 2010 at 5:32 AM #

    They say that the sound of an Immortal screaming is worse than hearing the Bananach wailing throughout the hills and vales of the land. It sounded like the devils from hell and the moaning of a wailing mourner all clamouring for attention. That was probably what I sounded like as I pushed the long athame into my chest.

    In my language, ‘athame’ and ‘thorn’ had the same word.

    I closed my eyes and dearest Etienne’s face appeared on the backs of my eyelids in all its glory. Maman had told me she had never seen a handsomer face; the not-quite aquiline shape of his nose, he chiselled jaw and cheekbones and the soulful, blue eyes. They were always filled with kindness and a sort of amusement in them.


    I was editing it with a red pen today. It was NOT pretty.

    • Kat Zhang August 10, 2010 at 12:03 PM #

      I actually read this on your blog a little while back, I think. You had some great lines in there 🙂 I know your editing will improve it even more!

    • Biljana August 10, 2010 at 2:05 PM #

      You DO have some awesome lines! But I see why you’d find it a touch embarrassing, especially in context, and especially when editing. It has a touch of melodrama :).

      • Aurora Blackguard August 12, 2010 at 9:22 AM #

        My red pen ran out of ink. It was probably building up but it was kind of … meh. THANKS for the compliment. Better than my mother who read it and laughed XD

  3. tymcon August 10, 2010 at 5:35 AM #

    A dress that emulated a war between water and fire hung elegantly on her. Pale, waxy skin highlighted her crow like eyes. Sophia noticed her fingers lightly stroked a leaf in her lap and she shivered.”
    Ugh. That’s the only thing i can say: UGH

    • jenn fitzgerald August 10, 2010 at 12:25 PM #

      lol i know i have some descriptions that mix odd elements, they’re so tricky to pull off

    • Biljana August 10, 2010 at 2:07 PM #

      But the dress sounds badass :D.

      • jenn fitzgerald August 10, 2010 at 8:41 PM #

        it does! i’ve been trying to think about how you could pull something like that off, lol

  4. Rowenna August 10, 2010 at 8:41 AM #

    I think they always look worse to the author than to anyone else, Kelly 🙂

    Wish I had my old drafts on this computer…alas, they’re saved elsewhere. Suffice to say they’re bad…worse than these, promise 🙂

    • Clare Sager August 10, 2010 at 9:22 AM #

      Thank you for sharing these, ladies! It makes me feel so much better to know that it’s not just me who finds shameful sentences in first drafts – so much cringing happens when I look at old writing.

      Like Rowenna, my old writing is thankfully hidden away on old, crashed computers, never to see the light of day again! If I find any, I’ll be sure to share, so you can appreciate the awfulness 🙂

      • Biljana August 10, 2010 at 2:08 PM #

        I think people forget that writing is a real process and everybody has to go through it :). Even the published ones.

    • Kat Zhang August 10, 2010 at 12:04 PM #

      Oh, yes, I definitely have worse. This is all just stuff pulled from the novel I wrote at 12. I have fanfiction that makes me want to cry, haha. But that’s mostly in notebooks, and I don’t feel like digging them up…

  5. Laura E. Wardle August 10, 2010 at 11:55 AM #

    The late April wind swept gently through the blossoming cherry trees, as a mother pushing her newborn, strolled the between, along the concrete path, accompanied by her chocolate Labrador. Dozens of cars aligned the roads, most driving at the given speed. Others, however, decided that the traffic was not travelling fast enough for them so they decided to swerve in and out of the commuters to their hearts content. How lucky they were that no speed cameras adorned crowns of signposts. A flock of blue tits waltzed over the horizon as our biology teacher, Dr. Carter, continued the lecture the class about the importance of getting in as many hours of last minute studying as possible before our exam in two weeks time.

    • Biljana August 10, 2010 at 2:10 PM #

      Nice. 😀

  6. Launo August 10, 2010 at 12:47 PM #

    The tall, lush trees shadowed over Sharon. Rays of sunlight peered through the thick green leaves, providing the perfect amount of warmth. The colourful berries and flowered accented the beautiful shade of green and brown of the trees. A mild breeze brushed by, carrying the fragrance of a cheery blossom tree, which sparkled as the sunlight shone on the water droplets.

    • Biljana August 10, 2010 at 2:11 PM #

      I have SO many of these, where everything is lush and beautiful and poetic and stuff. So tedious to read through when I’m editing.

  7. Gabriela Da Silva August 10, 2010 at 1:15 PM #

    It’s hard to pick a bad scene, there are so many. BTW, Vanessa, it seems I loved green just as much. Here we go:

    “I awoke in a large hall, all green. It looked like it had curtains, but the curtains made of stone. I tried to touch it, but whem my hand touched it I was sent back by an Air current, I think I would have died if I had impacted against a wall, but at the other wall, I was also sent back by Air, but not so strong.”

    Riiiight, so run-on sentence and funny commas aside… who is Air? Is it just “air” but I just liked capital letters? Also, I love me my green curtains made out of stone 🙂

    • Biljana August 10, 2010 at 2:13 PM #

      Ohhh I’m sorry but this made me laugh a lot hahaha. I think that Air did me in.

    • Savannah J. Foley August 10, 2010 at 2:25 PM #

      Hahahaha how old were you?

      • Gabriela Da Silva August 10, 2010 at 6:36 PM #

        Somewhere between 11 and 12, I think. I was obsessed with “the four elements”, and since I’m a Gemini my dear self-insert had to deal with miss Air.

        Y’know, I erased this file long ago. I was just telling my mom about yesterday’s thread and, suddenly, she produced an old print copy she kept. She’s the classical hoarder mom… but I’m glad for it this time 😉

        (or maybe Air is actually the French duo. Beating around a young girl like that! Sheeesh!)

    • Vanessa August 10, 2010 at 8:35 PM #

      Hahaha… I probably have the word green in my current WIP everywhere! Once I start editing it, I’m sure I’ll be smacking myself.

  8. Kaye August 10, 2010 at 3:40 PM #

    The part I posted for worst opening could so easily double for this, but here’s something different:

    Miya quietly strode over and sat down next to her thought to be mother. The queen’s maid Tairaina hurried back in carrying a small, intricately carven box. The queen drew a small key from around her neck a set it in the lock. She opened the box revealing several miscellaneous oddities and handed Miya a slender silver locket. Miya studied the locket for a moment while Aisslin watched silently. It was tiny but made masterfully. Miya was inscribed on the back and in the center was a set a small emerald. After letting her fingers run over it for a minute. She found the clasp cleverly disguised in the side. She clicked it open and removed a folded aged piece of parchment. She carefully unfolded it, afraid of ripping it, for it was very old and weather-beaten.

    I was convinced I had to barf up adjectives to be a good writer. Also, why the hell is the paper weather-beaten when it was inside the stupid locket all this time?

    • Biljana August 11, 2010 at 12:52 AM #

      Yeah too many adjectives can drag down plot like nothing else. Learned that the hard way.

      And lol at weather-beaten :D.

  9. Armith-Greenleaf August 10, 2010 at 9:48 PM #

    I’ve discovered I have a lot of material to show for WWW. That’s… sad.

    WARNING: Mass neurons murder might occur after reading this. Proceed with caution.

    But at the end, fate was the one to decide. Maybe he was pushing his luck to much, especially since he now had a…family. Sure, no parents or siblings at sight, but now he had so many friends they were all like siblings, actually he was more like their father or older brother. He smiled. He would never admit it out loud, but he’d miss them all.

    Max’s cheerfulness.

    Rei’s patience.

    Hilary’s whining.

    Tala’s craziness.

    Ian’s…nose haha.

    Bryan’s…nothing ‘Haha I’m evil’ Kai thought.

    Spencer’s height, the guy was a building.

    Nikkta’s stupidity.

    Kenny’s nerdiness ‘Haha I’m so fucking evil’ He thought again smirking.

    Tyson’s…nah he’d never miss the way the bottomless pit ate or snored. Kai chuckled slightly.

    That ‘thing’ was part of chap 28 of the first fanfiction thing I wrote. I tried to find one chap when, for all description, I put (get ready)… smileys. The characters were shocked and they went all Oo in mid story. In the end I couldn’t find it, but that chunk above caught my attention.

    Other horrible things that used to happen: Intense cap locks, excess of one letter (example: sssssssssshhhhh!!), author’s note in the middle of the chapter (“don’t they just look adorable together?!”), use of slashes flanking quotation marks to show the speech was in another language, random bolding, two pages long author’s notes at the beginning of the chapters and…

    Holy smack. That was awful. The worse part was that I got more reviews for that than I’ve ever gotten at FP. I’m wondering if I should be sad or plain wtf’ed.

    • Biljana August 10, 2010 at 10:18 PM #

      Oh my god ahahahaha the I’m so evil’s are hilarious! And yes, extra letters were part of my repertoire as well :D.

      I’ve noticed that too, that good original stuff can hardly compete with bad fanfic online… It is a bit sad.

      • Armith-Greenleaf August 10, 2010 at 10:22 PM #

        If I posted the entire thing I’d be responsible for the first deaths caused by laughter in history. *shifty eyes*

        Yeah, it’s worth considering why. Feel free to make a post about it. 😀

    • Gabriela Da Silva August 10, 2010 at 10:21 PM #

      The same thing happened to me with FF.net… and I’ve found that reviews for fanfic don’t mean anything. Most of the time, they mean that your “pairing” is more popular than the others.

      I don’t regret the time I spent writing fanfic – hell, sometimes I’m tempted to do it again – but it’s not a nice world, that’s for sure.

      • Armith-Greenleaf August 10, 2010 at 10:27 PM #

        Indeed, reviews on FF.net are meant to make the writer feel warm and fuzzy that he/she has people on her/his team. “Zomg I love *character* too! He’s so *adjective*” Even so, people were more open to give anyone a chance, which is one of the plus sides of hanging out at FF.net that FP seems to lack. I miss that. It was also a pretty fun way to get more interested in writing.

        But there’s no general knowledge or care for quality, and you have to have a certain mindset to write fanfiction–after all, open and friendly as the crowd generally is, they’ll jump you the moment you don’t tweak or use the fandom right.

        Good times, heh.

        • Gabriela Da Silva August 10, 2010 at 11:50 PM #

          Oh yesh – the one advantage of those silly reviews is that they at least *encourage* people to write. And if you’re lucky, you might get a few critical comments!

          Meanwhile, the one time I tried to upload something on FP, I was ignored espectacularly, heheheh. I guess I should’ve persevered, but I was young and didn’t feel like writing if people weren’t gonna read it.

          • Armith-Greenleaf August 10, 2010 at 11:57 PM #

            Truth. 😀

            Eek, yeah. FP is a different crowd. It can get you down so much, because yes, you’re writing for yourself, but you also want some appreciation (it’d be a lie to say otherwise.) FP can be a fantastic experience–given the chance. 😦

            • Biljana August 11, 2010 at 12:18 AM #

              I posted a total spoof fanfic on FF just to see if I’d garner any reviews. The fic was a total bullshit, a Twilight/HP crossover that was hilariously fun to write but written to be terrible.

              Within like two hours I had three reviews and only one of them was like “Hey yes a parody sick!” The other were all “Update soon, this is great!”

              Meanwhile, TIAFT had been up on FP for months and only had like 12 reviews, some of which were from repeated reviewers.

              • Armith-Greenleaf August 11, 2010 at 12:21 AM #

                Ouch. Story of our FP lives. I propose we do something about this.

                • Biljana August 11, 2010 at 12:58 AM #

                  Hopefully, we’re doing something about it with this blog :).

                  But I don’t think anything will be able to compete with fanfiction. Most people that read online are people that read fanfic (from my experience) and I think it’s because there’s less of an investment when the story is based on characters and a plot that they KNOW they love. I think people are just lazy.

                  • Kat Zhang August 11, 2010 at 12:59 AM #

                    LTWF community on FP? ;P

                  • Armith-Greenleaf August 11, 2010 at 1:04 AM #

                    Same happens on FP. If a story is not the same as the other, it means the reader needs to think what the deal is about… and apparently that’s too hard (did that sound harsh? Sorry, but the truth is harsh!) :S

                    Honestly? I don’t know. LTWF is more geared towards the publishing market and what awaits the writers who want to get involved in it. To educate FP readers would require an exclusively FP-related blog, I think.

                    • Biljana August 11, 2010 at 1:14 AM #

                      That’s also a good point. A blog catered to JUST FP, showcasing stories and people to watch out for, would be fantastic for FP readers and help people get their reader/writer due.

  10. Armith-Greenleaf August 11, 2010 at 1:20 AM #

    @Biljana: Reply button didn’t appear on your last comment. Sorry! Anyway, a LTWF-FP blog like Kat said is a thought worth considering. probably needs more people to make it happen, though. 😉

    • Vanessa August 11, 2010 at 7:28 PM #

      Ooooh, interesting! I think that would be super fantastic for the FP peeps; it’d be cool if we even had a monthly showcase of good FP stories on here.

      A sister blog WOULD be ideal, but yeah… we’d definitely need more people! 😛

      • Armith-Greenleaf August 11, 2010 at 7:32 PM #

        Indeed, it’d be great. Sign me up for the possibility! 😀

        • Caitlin August 12, 2010 at 12:34 AM #

          I actually rarely look for new stories on FP (I’m lazy and don’t feel I have time to wade through so much crap when there are so many published/school books I’m supposed to be reading) but when I do it’s almost always stories I’m led to by the Some Kind of Wonderful Romance website/awards/community on FP.

  11. Caitlin August 12, 2010 at 12:28 AM #

    I like how looking at these entries, rather than thinking they need to be completely scrapped, I can kind of see a glimmer of how they could be edited into greatness. Like Jenn’s simile about reeling in a fish, maybe it’s just because I’m from the land of 10,000 lakes, but I get that compariso and Vanessa, I like that you evoke the scent of a summer morning, I connect to that if not all the rest of your paragraph.

    Than again, I love you Biljana but that does read like an instruction manual, and Savannah, what in the world are “bourgeoisie beauty genes”?

    I guess it’s just a very mixed bag for me today, in a very good way.

    • Biljana August 12, 2010 at 2:11 PM #

      Yeah…I was trying to describe the castle comprehensively lol. This was all before I realized that descriptions don’t have to be that detailed and you can leave a lot to the reader’s imagination.

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