Survivor X, Challenge 5: Bantam Bulwyr

Our challenge this week was to honor the spirit of Bulwyr-Lytton and create the worst possible opening to a novel imaginable.  It has to be believable enough to actually make it to print, but bad enough to make the reader want to stop immediately.  The only rule was to keep it at 50 words or less.  Coincidentally, I came in at exactly 50 words.

The crosscheck by McDuff was as swift as it was sharp, paralyzing Tristan long enough for the black disk that was his nightly ticket to a division one school slide past his reach.  He gathered himself and gave McDuff an icy stare.  This was going to be a long night.

Scoring was on a forced curve, with twenty percent getting a perfect score of five, twenty percent getting a four, and so on.

Spooky: Ooh, I love a good unnecessary definition in this challenge, a la “the black disk.” The “icy stare” is a great eye-roller, and the use of McDuff and Tristan – characters from classic literature – makes this one gloriously amateurish. Plus, the final sentence gives the impression that the entire book might be this one hockey game. Holy shit, man. 4

DK: If you’re wondering, this is the hardest one I had to give. I’m too interested in the topic to grade this higher, and though I love to hate the puck description, there’s not enough else to keep me away from it. 1

There was no inspiration for this.  I wasn’t even watching hockey.  But “The crosscheck by McDuff” just sort of popped in my head and I went with it.  I figured our hero should have the most annoying name possible, so Tristan it was.  I intentionally used a last name for the antagonist and a first name for the protagonist.  “Swift as it was sharp” makes no sense, but it sounds like it’s trying hard to be a cool simile.  “Icy stare” was a lame metaphor that I couldn’t resist.  But my favorite part was what this paragraph actually means. One, our hero views hockey as his ticket into NCAA sports. Yuck. Finally, as Spooky mentioned, the last sentence implies the entire book will be this one game.  Double yuck.

DK, if you want to me to finish this and be my publisher, let me know!

The Vogons also cruised to their fifth consecutive first-place finish.  Go team.

3 thoughts on “Survivor X, Challenge 5: Bantam Bulwyr”

  1. Heh. Like I said at the very end, I might have bad taste in bad writing, but the underlying ideas weren’t all that repulsive to me (the way the puck metaphor itself was written was, but that was about it). I’ll most assuredly let you know if I ever come into enough money to get into publishing hockey game novels as a hobby.

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