Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bad Writing: Let's Go There

Here are some nuggets to make you feel better. Some of these horrific examples (a few of which are actually pretty clever) come from student essays (allegedly), and a few are from my own experience.

Let's look at some of great failed metaphors. These people really took the teacher's advice to heart of avoiding the cliche, but oh, what a mess they made otherwise.

1. He was as tall as a six-foot-three inch tree.
2. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
3. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for while.
4. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.
5. It hurt, the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.
6. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
7. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a tumble dryer.
8. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a landmine or something.
9. Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.”
10. She grew on him like she was a colony of E.Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef

Then there are the horrible descriptions, such as "He began to think about starting to run." Or maybe this one: "Utterly dismayed, she threw up her arms." (Kinda gross if you ask me).

Then, there's the worst dialogue phrase ever written (courtesy of Richard Connell in "The Most Dangerous Game"): "Pistol shots," muttered Rainsford, swimming on.

Who says this to himself?

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