Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bad Writing Contest Loser

What do you do with a losing entry in a bad flash fiction writing contest? Post it at your own blog! The "assignment" was to come up with a badly written beach scene, limited to 250 words, that would make any editor want to shred it.* The implied challenge, of course, is that it should be bad, but artfully bad! How many fundamental flaws can you find in this loser?
by Steven Levery
The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. The opening line of "Murphy," by Samuel Beckett, is appropriate here, because it makes me, the author, sound highly literate, although I was drunk most of the time I read it and don't remember much, except in "Murphy" the sun "shone" over an apartment complex somewhere in the British Isles, while in this story it "shone" over Detroit Beach. I'm not sure if there really is a beach in Detroit, but it doesn't matter because I'm making this stuff up, same thing Beckett did when he wrote "Murphy." I feel that Beckett and I are the same, except he's dead.
The sun shone on Detroit Beach like a lozenge in the sore throat of the sky, except it wasn't cool and soothing. Ginnie and Minnie found the sun annoying, but not as annoying as the rotting seaweed, birds and fish that littered the beach because of a raging storm the night before. Ginnie tripped over a dead sea skate and cursed. You'll have to imagine what she sounded like, unless you're from Detroit. Another woman walked up, her towheaded son in tow. What is that thing? she said. Looks like a sea skate, said Minnie. The woman wanted to focus her son's attention on the carcass, but his gaze kept wandering to the ocean, which was bigger. Look at it, Adam, she said, I'm trying to teach you something! What is it, Mommy? he finally asked. It's dead, she said.
*The contest was sponsored this past August by CoolStuff4 Writers. Note that the deadline, September 1, has passed, and the winner selected, or I wouldn't be posting this. If you want to see the winning entry, go to their web-site, where it will be posted soon (it has already appeared in their newsletter, to which you can easily subscribe).
For anyone who is wondering, I was told by a fellow writer who lived in Detroit that there really is a beach there (on Belle Isle in the middle of the Detroit River). Thanks Bill!


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