So, guys, for your pleasure and with no little embarrassment, I am going to share with you some extracts from what I've written in the past, so that you can all see - once and for all - that my destiny is to review books and not to write them!
1) All my characters are me
It was a blustery day in late September when Leigh arrived at the university residences that she would call home for the next year. Clouds scudded across the sky and a spatter of drizzle caused her face to grimace slightly in disgust. The normally quiet campus was bustling with people - new students consulted small maps and imperiously pointed in the direction their parents were to go; older students watched the recent arrivals with expressions of slightly lofty superiority; and harassed porters attempted to organise the crowd into some semblance of order.
Yep, this was me arriving at university for the first time. It is not the only time my experiences, friends, thoughts appeared in my writing!
2) I plagiarised horribly
It was raining when Rebekah first entered Ellerburn - a cold, driving rain that chilled her to the bone. She sat bowed in the saddle, shoulders hunched against the cold and hood drawn closely around her face. The horse she rode plodded slowly along the cobbled street, desperately tired and footsore.
If you can't see Sparhawk at the start of The Diamond Throne, then you haven't read Eddings! Also, note my obsession with weather reports, which most often consisted of rain.
3) I unsuccessfully tried my hand at tie-in fiction
He let out an involuntary yell as he looked down and realised that it was blood falling onto his hand from the sky. All the sentries looked then above them and watched as death descended. Inhumanely beautiful women - eight of them - hovered lazily on leather wings just out of reach of the terrified sentries' spears. They all wore the blood of Albrecht smeared across their mouths and traced in esoteric designs across their lush and very naked figures. With a languid gesture, the leader of the harpies - recognised by the silver chains draped through her tangled raven locks - signalled the imminent demise of the remaining sentries. To a man, they ran as they saw the harpies swooping on them, cackling their glee and chanting the name of that most heathen god, Khaine.
Yep, I wanted to write in the world of Warhammer, and tried a story about a Dark Elf raiding party. It was not good.
4) Christmas screenplays are not my forte
Mary: But why did God choose me?
Gabriel: Because you are kind and willing. God thought you would do this for him. It needs to be done.
Mary: But I'm not married.
Gabriel: You have to do this.
Mary: I know. I will do this thing.
Gripping, non? Personally I don't know why I'm not script-writing for Eastenders with drama like that... In truth, I was but eight years old when I penned this. I wrote a whole Nativity play and it was actually performed. It was dreadful (as you can see) but I'm still just a little proud :-O
5) Umm, epic fantasy is not my forte either...
The Daoman took one more step. Now he was truly within the Empire. He tried reaching for his magic and came up with nothing. The land was dead. It was the first time in three years that he had been without the spark that gave him Magi abilities. He could recall vividly the horror he had felt on the day his latent talents were discovered, but the magic had become familiar and dear to him. It now defined part of who he was. To have that part stripped so cruelly from him left him desolate.
Yirraeth's keen ears caught the sound of pounding hooves and a faint neigh. He turned his face to the north, from whence the sound came, and another wave of longing to return to his tribe washed over him. He stumbled northwards two steps and fell to his knees as the magic crackled up through his body from the land. The sensation was both like lightning shocking him into life, and cool water rinsing his skin of the human taint. The hooves swept into view and Yirraeth gazed weakly up at his Lifemount, Jihan. The huge black stallion came to a stop, his hooves planted firmly, mane and tail wreathing around his massive body like smoke.
Oh, check it! Magic! Made-up words! Silly names! Just call me Terry Brooks (except, y'know, much less talented...) *pokes out tongue*
6) I REALLY wanted to write fantasy
A famous Moorland gale had sprung up two evenings ago and raged ever since. The herds held their breath - surely now would the Prophecies take place. All story-tellers told of the wind that would last for three days and nights; of the horse who would finally rise to unite the Moorland herds against those of the Mountains. Ordinarily most horses wouldn't turn their heads from the springtime jobs of rearing new foals and teaching yearlings the Way of the Wild to listen to the gossip of flighty songbirds. The winter, however, had been long and difficult, and the herds needed anything that would raise their morale for the forthcoming months of battle.
Yep, I tried my hand at a little anthropomorphic fantasy - check out the mention of Prophecies (with the unnecessary capital letter)! And, yes, the whole weather report thing just didn't get old for me. How best to drag a reader kicking and screaming into your story? Why, by opening with talking about wind and rain, of course! *rolls eyes*
7) I loved L J Smith so much I wanted to write the exact same books as her
She looked up, and her sharp black eyebrows rose. The teacher was calling for attention, trying to introduce the tall young man standing beside him. He looked like a god that had strayed from heaven, and Kerry sneered when she heard the semi-audible sighs emanating from the girls around her. He was certainly good-looking, but she couldn't see why they would throw their pride away in an effort for him to recognise them.
"A god that had strayed from heaven" *vomits a little*. Next I'll be chatting up guys in nightclubs by saying "If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?" *sighs*
8) You want overblown drama? You got it, baby!
Through the secret, hidden vallies; down the spring-filled glades; whispering among the mixed trees of the forests; stirring the stallions in the herds, came a legend. A legend that soon a mare would come to rival all others, born to midnight and moonlight. In her coat would shimmer the moon's mystery; silver lights would flash in her mane. It was called by the birds; animals whispered it on dark nights; even the trees held it in their rustling leaves. There was another myth that ghosted through the Reserve, equally mysterious, telling of four that become one. Written across the heavens in the stars about a dark journey into Death and out again...
Okay, observe the over-use of semi-colons. I loved them with a passion. Then read the above passage in the deep booming voice of a summer blockbuster trailer. Nope, I agree, that doesn't make it any better - just EVEN MORE AMUSING!
Do you know the worst part of all this? Those were the eight choicest passages - but I could have found many, many more to demonstrate just how much I should not be a writer. Fun, no?
Now that I've embarrassed myself, do you have any extracts of your own writing you wish to share? How many of my blog visitors are budding authors, and how long have you been writing? Would love to hear from you!