In my last post, I berated myself for the terrible first sentence in my NaNoWriMo novel. If you recall, it was three words: The clock ticked. A week later and I’m starting to think that’s the best sentence of the entire novel. The day after I wrote that post, I hunkered down for another reading session at Starbucks. I had a free drink so I splurged and got a venti caramel macchiato with an extra shot of espresso. NaNoWriMo novel reading calls for a slight buzz, but let me tell you. I probably needed five more shots of espresso to help me swallow this one sentence I had to read.
It tried to hide in the middle of a paragraph between two almost mediocre sentences. It was fooling itself if it thought it could escape my eagle eye and blazing red pen. I caught it between my thumb and index finger. It squirmed to break free, but alas I smashed it with peals of laughter. I’d tell you the sentence except I’m still suffering the side-effects of embarrassment. It’s much easier to embarrass one’s self in front of one’s family than on the internet to people who have never read your one story that was basically a run-on sentence. I was 9. Cut me some slack. But this? This was written well after that age where anything you wrote would be ooed and awed at because you’re so cute for trying. This was a whole other thing.
However, I had to share my embarrassment with someone else because laughter is the best medicine. So if I could laugh at how bad it was instead of wallowing in some sort of pit of despair like Westley in The Princess Bride, then that was worth any amount of teasing my brother would do. I picked up my phone and told him, “Wanna hear the worst sentence of your entire life?” I took his silence as a yes and read it to him. And waited. And waited. Until finally, he sighed, “Maya, that’s really bad. What were you thinking?”
My answer? “I NEEDED WORDS! IT WAS NANOWRIMO! DO YOU THINK I HAD TIME TO THINK ABOUT WHAT I SAID?!” I wasn’t yelling because I was mad. I was frantic, almost like I was in that final stretch of November when I had two days to write 12,000+ words. I needed to defend myself and my writing, and to let him know I was aware of how sub-par it was. I ended up laughing so hard that tears spilled out of the corner of my eyes, and he couldn’t get a word in. I finally panted through peals of laughter that “it was worse than Lost in the Amazon!”
Lost in the Amazon was the follow-up to my masterpiece Lost in the Rockies that I wrote when I was in elementary school. Actually, maybe they were reversed. I’m not sure. They have the exact same plot except for one thing—the location. A plane crashed and the passengers were lost in, you guessed it, the Amazon and the Rockies! Anyway, my brother then said, “Yep. You probably shouldn’t tell anyone else.”
And I didn’t except for my dad who told me I was being too hard on myself. That was sweet of him, but I wasn’t sufficiently delusional to believe him. As I had hoped, however, I had laughed enough so that sentence lay shattered on the page, never to bother me again.
My tip of the day: Smash those sentences to bits, people! And don’t look back.