Monday, August 01, 2005

To write or not to write...

I'm thinking of writing a children's story book. Like many parents, I have learnt the fine skill of making up stories on the fly by blending well known stories together to produce somewhat abstract mutant variants of the originals.

In my version of The Three Pigs, the wolf is arrested at the end for attempted breaking and entering and locked up with his Grandma eating cousin from Red Riding Hood. This all started when Ms R began to confuse various stories and started to tell me goodnight tales to put herself to sleep. Some are just plain bizarre and best not to delve too deeply into her (nearly) 4 year old head. Lets just say that The Three Bears were seriously pissed at Goldilocks and she won't be eating their porridge again.

All good stories start with a cracking good first line; half the battle is picking that vital paragraph and I was reminded today of the infamous "It was a dark and stormy night" from the novel "Paul Clifford" by Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton. The context was from the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest where budding writers look to create the worst possible first paragraph of an imaginary book.

This years winner, will appeal to petrol heads everywhere:

As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands,the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual.

Oh, yes baby.

Some of the Children's Literature awards are a good example of what to avoid. Get the full run-down

For those of you into bad sex writing,
these awards will make you scream with pleasure or make you vomit. Either way, this will give you a taster of the dross on display:
The Food of Love by Anthony Capella

She felt strange and wild. Her body was just a collection of organs. She was blood and plumbing, like any other creature, and there was nothing that was forbidden about any of it. She gnawed on Tomasso ravenously, like an animal plundering a carcass, and when she had had enough of that she swung her leg over him, like a rider swinging into a saddle, and galloped.


  1. I have got the perfect game for you. It is called Ex Libris, and is a laugh a minute. There is a pile of cards with the synopsis' of various books, and you toss a coin to write the first or last line. The reader writes the real one, and every else takes a stab at it. I'll bring it round with 3 bottles of wine (quite vital).

  2. No,not on a full stomach I beg of you.

  3. Sounds like a plan, especially like the wine bit. I request to have the well read half-pie on my side though...

  4. It doesn't really help much if they're well read or not. The cards are very diverse - from Wind in the Willows, to Jackie Collins to Day of the Jackel (the only one I remember "It was the day of the Jackel" - or maybe that is the answer I gave last time it was played). Bloody great fun.

  5. Ha, I'm going to keep commenting and you'll have to keep replying (I know you're to nice to ignore me)

  6. I can't stop replying....somebody help me.....

  7. I know. Even if you try and stop, it'll eat you up like the telltale heart. Go on, try writing 4 sets of last lines for the telltale heart and we'll play a virtual game of ex libris.

  8. Confession - I had to go and read it quickly - 'tis bloody brilliant and took me back to O' Level English Lit.

    Can I just cut 'n paste it?
    Do I win?

  9. no, you have to write the real one and three others and get people to pick.

  10. well go on. I've got no idea what the last sentence of Tell tale Heart is - so ball in your court and all...

    I'll guess and if I'm wrong I'll drink.

  11. Perhaps the most interesting concept for a childrens book I have seen was one my exwife did. She wrote it with our children in a scrap book like format. It was the most read book by our children and turned into a never ending story.

  12. B O B: A brilliant idea thank you. I'll really enjoy putting this together with my girls - scissors, glue and artistic licence, what a combination!