Admit it: If you are a writer, you have old material, likely from when you were a kid or you were just beginning your burgeoning career in the literary world. After some time, you happen upon these old papers or files and give them a nostalgic look-over, maybe to see how far you’ve come, maybe to remember that first spark that excited you about writing. So, you read.
…You realize just how bad your writing was.
Horror-Fail Friday is a blog where I go back and share some of my early writing with you and include my reactions in italics alongside the unedited document. When I say “unedited”, it means I’ve left in spelling errors, poor grammar, and ridiculous plot devices. Be prepared to delve into the horror that is middle school age writing.
Our new story is “Rising To Escape”, an unfinished techno-thriller which I wrote in seventh grade, when I had untamed curly afro hair, zero social skills, and many a tie-dyed t-shirt. I’m going into this blind; I don’t actually remember this story, nor what it was about. I have a terrible feeling about it though, like there’s going to be something in it that will give me a full-body cringe. Let’s dive in, shall we?
At a grassy plain in Colorado, Lt. Samantha Bynes wept over her partners grave. The wind blew lightly over the pettals that adorned the granite stone. (God.) The ceremony was already over and she stood there staring at the ovel shaped rock (The tombstone, you mean?) that had traced his name. A cold, icey feeling ran down her back. She shivered a pulled her coat close. It had happened so fast. Her and Charlie were running down the street after a criminal. He had just escaped from jail. (…Sure he did.) Some how, he (Charlie) got in the way of the motercycle. (What motorcycle? The criminal escaped jail on a motorcycle? HOW?) The ambulance arrived quickly. She was pushed away from the crowd. But it was too late anyway; she didn’t want to see anymore. (The most impressive thing about this sentence is the fact that I knew how to use a semicolon. But also the fact that Charlie was hit by a motorcycle and died instantly.)
She turned and strode away wiping tears from her eyes.
“Samantha Bynes, you now don’t have a partner and no cases to work on, I’m afraid you can’t stay here!” admitted Max Trilla her captain at the police department. (Wow. What an ineffectual police department. “We’ve got no work for you. You’ve got to go.”)
“What! That is no reason to get me outta here, I have a case. To beat up that jerk!” She exclaimed folding her arms over and frowning. (…I’m not sure what’s happening, but suddenly I feel like I’m in the middle of a school yard fight.) Suddenly, the lights flashed and alarmed with infra red brightly glowing and dancing on the pearl white walls. A rookie policeman came in and said, “Someone’s taking information on the nuclear missles, its being downloaded off the main computer!”
(First: WTF? Second: when there’s a crime being committed, the whole police department goes on red alert like the Enterprise when being attacked by aliens. Third: why does this police department, that can’t continue to employ its officers when they have no cases, have access to nuclear missile codes? I’m not even off the first page yet and I want to scream.)
“That doesn’t sound like a computer?” said Max listening closely. (…What?)
“Oh my gosh, it’s the fax machine!” yelled Samantha. She ran to it but the paper slipped away from her and it was gone.
“What was information on the missles doing in the fax machine?” she hissed in his face. (Her frustration and confusion mirrors my own…)
“I don’t know!” stammered the rookie jumping back in surprise. “I stuck it in the file cabnit this morning and even locked it. I have no idea how it got out!” (What excellent security measures you’ve taken with the freaking nuclear missile codes… Also, why were you, the rookie police officer, even looking at them?)
“Where did you set the keys?” asked Max concerned about the things he was hearing. (I think “concerned” is an understatement.)
“I set it in your office on your desk.” he confermed. (Great.)
“There are no keys on my desk and there were none this morning.” Max recalled.
“Look over there!” Sam called. (Why so loud?) She ran to a file cabnit drawer. The drawer was labeled “Top Priority” and it was pulled out from its slot. (The nuclear missile codes are top priority for a little police department?) A silver key stuck out of the keyhole glistening agianst the metal drawer. The keys caption on it was iron stamped “T.P.” (Snort.)
“Is this the key you supposeedly put on my desk this morning?” Max question raising one eyebrow. (I’m not sure why but past me left the endings off of several words…and forgot basic punctuation.)
“I swear, I put it on your desk! You can check it for fingerprints, anything I didn’t do it.” the rookie stepped forward pleading. (Wow, dude. Chill.)
“What about the other keys to lock the place?” Samantha questioned.
“I locked everything!” he assured them stressing out majorly. (Majorly.)
“Even the top door on the roof?” Samantha checked.
“Well, now that you mention it I’m not even sure!” he quivvered. (Quivering is not a form of speech. Also not any form of movement worthy of an exclamation point.)
“Quickly check the top door!” yelled Max. (Why? Any smart hacker or thief wouldn’t still BE there! And the information was just faxed out; they didn’t take it with them!)
Samantha raced to the stairs and climbed them. For a slight second she felt like she actually had a purpose on the force, like she was important. (Well, self-esteem issues aside…) Reaching the last part of the stairs she saw light cutting into those dreams she had thought of. It was opened and the frosty air seeped in through them (?), her hair rushed back and her eyes started to water from the chilly wind. She thought she could bring back good news for once and now she was trapped under that deep dark ocean in her mind that kept saying you have no importance, you have no oppinion in this case, be gone. She had failed.
And so ends chapter 1…very darkly. Seems that our protagonist has some self-worth problems, her boss sounds like a total dickwad, and the rookie cop is just a flailing ding-dong. And the nuclear missile codes were stolen via fax. FAX. Remember those? The slow ass senders of important documents back in the 90’s?
Samantha could have totally yanked the paper out of there before the machine pulled it through. Too bad she’s useless. Not only that, someone broke into the police department, took the nuclear missile codes out of the filing cabinet and set them in the fax machine instead of just taking the codes with them. I somehow invented the most convoluted and ridiculous crime possible.
Stay tuned for chapter 2 next week.