PDA

View Full Version : Catherine Coulter loses me on Page One



Bartholomew
09-24-2006, 09:26 AM
Wow. And I ussually like her stuff.

I just can't get past her first paragraph in "The Countess."

Three or four sentences in:

"My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed, except for his soul, he wrote me, had been unable to come home until the French, who, he always said, lived in a constant state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII, their rightful, albeit idiot, of a king."

That sentence just makes me cringe. And to think of the sentences to come...

I'm sorry Ms. Coulter, but I just... can't...!

SC Harrison
09-24-2006, 08:13 PM
It looks like she just discovered a whole bag of lost commas and couldn't wait to get them out there.

Akiahara
09-24-2006, 08:15 PM
"My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed, except for his soul, he wrote me, had been unable to come home until the French, who, he always said, lived in a constant state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII, their rightful, albeit idiot, of a king."


That's really in a book? Am I the only one who had to read that several times to understand?

billythrilly7th
09-24-2006, 09:54 PM
Are there any "first sentence in a book" contests?

I have the greatest first sentence in the history of literature and I'd like to win some money from it, because there will not be a book that follows it.

Thank you.

maestrowork
09-24-2006, 10:09 PM
Maybe she was trying to convey the idea that this was written by a Frenchman and the whole thing was translated from French to English?

September skies
09-24-2006, 10:13 PM
I had to read it several times too. You learn a lot in one sentence! (assuming you read it ten times and get it)

robeiae
09-24-2006, 10:21 PM
Oddly, it calls to mind the opening of To kill a Mockingbird:



When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem's fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury.

badducky
09-24-2006, 10:55 PM
rob, it doesn't remind me of tkam at all.

i can understand one, and feel instantly like reading more because i just learned a lot about a narrator and a character in two well-written sentences.

the coulter one is completely illegible. who edited that?

Akiahara
09-24-2006, 10:57 PM
At least I understood that one the first time I read it. The Coulter one was... just... wow.

Bartholomew
09-24-2006, 11:39 PM
Maybe she was trying to convey the idea that this was written by a Frenchman and the whole thing was translated from French to English?

That would make sense.

Yes, I'll keep that in mind and see if the rest of the book is readable. Or at least the next page.

I'm seriously glad I'm not the only person who has MAJOR issues with that sentence.

Yes, it really is in a real book. O_O And it's on Page One, Paragraph one.

Bartholomew
09-24-2006, 11:40 PM
Oddly, it calls to mind the opening of To kill a Mockingbird:


She's captured... something. She just needs to punctuate it and divide it up so that its readable. X_X

Its like reading a first draft in my inbox.

robeiae
09-24-2006, 11:41 PM
rob, it doesn't remind me of tkam at all.I didn't say it was as good as TKAM.

But that was my first reaction to reading the sentence. Like I said: oddly. :)

persiphone_hellecat
09-24-2006, 11:44 PM
Maybe she was trying to convey the idea that this was written by a Frenchman and the whole thing was translated from French to English? That is possible, but there were better ways to do it. Perhaps since she refers to her cousin writing to her, she could do it in some form of a quote from a letter. Ray, this would be a great sentence for the games section - Rewrite a Pro... or Edit a Pro ... LOL ... No, I would toss this book across the room long and far if I read that sentence. NONONONONO... Im sure the rest of the book would drive me nuts.

No, it doesnt remind me of To Kill a Mockingbird either. The narrator there is very clear and precise in organizing her thoughts. That is extremely readable and easy to follow. This, is not.

Maybe she was going more for the A Tale of Two Cities opening????? If so , she bombed.

Mom'sWrite
09-25-2006, 12:41 AM
Ray, this would be a great sentence for the games section - Rewrite a Pro... or Edit a Pro ...



Before you can edit the pro, you have to understand the pro. I've read that puppy four times now, can't make heads or tales of it. That sentence is just plain icky.

Can someone translate that sentence into readable English pour moi?

PeeDee
09-25-2006, 01:25 AM
Sure, it's a horrible sentence....but it's so much fun to read in a Valley Girl voice.

PeeDee
09-25-2006, 01:27 AM
Or in this kind of voice. (http://youtube.com/watch?v=sE2p7jrUYJk)

maestrowork
09-25-2006, 04:19 AM
That would have been a great game, PD: rewrite this sentence as if a valley girl wrote it...

My cousin Pete, like who had amazingly survived -- what do you call that place, like in Russia or something? -- ah, Waterloo without a scratch -- far out, except for his soul, like he wrote me, had been unable to come home until the Frenchies, who, he always said, always lived in some super duper emotion, had like accepted Louis the 18th or 19th or something, their really true but what an idiot, as a king. As if.

Bartholomew
09-25-2006, 04:29 AM
Before you can edit the pro, you have to understand the pro. I've read that puppy four times now, can't make heads or tales of it. That sentence is just plain icky.

Can someone translate that sentence into readable English pour moi?

Original:

"My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed, except for his soul, he wrote me, had been unable to come home until the French, who, he always said, lived in a constant state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII, their rightful, albeit idiot, of a king."

My Rewrite:

"My cousin Pete wrote me from Russia; he's alive, thank God. He says that he won't be able to come home until this talk of revolution has quieted down. He thinks we ought to just buckle down beneath King Louis; 'Rightful Heir' and 'God's Chose' and all that garbage, but I think he's an idiot."

dclary
09-25-2006, 04:51 AM
Original:

"My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed, except for his soul, he wrote me, had been unable to come home until the French, who, he always said, lived in a constant state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII, their rightful, albeit idiot, of a king."

My Rewrite:

"My cousin Pete wrote me from Russia; he's alive, thank God. He says that he won't be able to come home until this talk of revolution has quieted down. He thinks we ought to just buckle down beneath King Louis; 'Rightful Heir' and 'God's Chose' and all that garbage, but I think he's an idiot."

I don't like your rewrite at all. It introduces new flavors to the narrator that weren't there before.


My rewrite:

"My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed (except for his soul), wrote me. He'd been unable to come home until the French, still in their usual state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII as their rightful king, idiot though he may be."

Bartholomew
09-25-2006, 05:08 AM
I don't like your rewrite at all. It introduces new flavors to the narrator that weren't there before.


My rewrite:

"My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed (except for his soul), wrote me. He'd been unable to come home until the French, still in their usual state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII as their rightful king, idiot though he may be."'

I don't like your rewrite either; it leaves that same stale voice intact.

To each their own, though, oui?

DamaNegra
09-25-2006, 05:54 AM
"My cousin Pete wrote me from Russia; he's alive, thank God. He says that he won't be able to come home until this talk of revolution has quieted down. He thinks we ought to just buckle down beneath King Louis; 'Rightful Heir' and 'God's Chose' and all that garbage, but I think he's an idiot."


Who's an idiot, Pete or the King? Just a thought.

Bartholomew
09-25-2006, 06:11 AM
Who's an idiot, Pete or the King? Just a thought.

Pete.

If I rewrite something, darn it, I rewrite it.

PeeDee
09-25-2006, 06:54 AM
Ray's valley girl re-write is the best. I read THAT one out loud, and it made me happy.

Original:

"My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed, except for his soul, he wrote me, had been unable to come home until the French, who, he always said, lived in a constant state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII, their rightful, albeit idiot, of a king."

Ernest Hemmingway:

"My cousin Pete lived. Others died. The King is an idiot."

Bartholomew
09-25-2006, 06:58 AM
Ray's valley girl re-write is the best. I read THAT one out loud, and it made me happy.

Original:

"My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed, except for his soul, he wrote me, had been unable to come home until the French, who, he always said, lived in a constant state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII, their rightful, albeit idiot, of a king."

Ernest Hemmingway:

"My cousin Pete lived. Others died. The King is an idiot."

Nice one. :D

PeeDee
09-25-2006, 07:04 AM
Original:

"My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed, except for his soul, he wrote me, had been unable to come home until the French, who, he always said, lived in a constant state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII, their rightful, albeit idiot, of a king."

H.P. Lovecraft:

"It was with a dreaded certainty which filled all of the cavity in which my heart did beat that I became aware that dreary morning as the sun rose with rosy tendrils of morning light that my cousin who I had known all my life and was called Pete had miraculously survived. He had been in Waterloo a town full of dark and menace, an evil forboding place with an eldritch sky in the bantering waters of the English land which is a place of old magic and ancient power and as I write to you now I flee that place. He wrote to me, wrote to me, and he said that he could not come home, and even his handwriting was full to the tides of anguish all the hatred that was boiling within him, for he could not leave till the French had settled, they of such strong emotions and powerful feelings, they of suchs angers and brimming grimmances, grievances that no time nor tolling bell could erase, they who could not accept Louis XVIII as their rightful king, he who supremed idiocy with the trebelence of a manatee."

Bartholomew
09-25-2006, 07:09 AM
Original:

"My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed, except for his soul, he wrote me, had been unable to come home until the French, who, he always said, lived in a constant state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII, their rightful, albeit idiot, of a king."

H.P. Lovecraft:

"It was with a dreaded certainty which filled all of the cavity in which my heart did beat that I became aware that dreary morning as the sun rose with rosy tendrils of morning light that my cousin who I had known all my life and was called Pete had miraculously survived. He had been in Waterloo a town full of dark and menace, an evil forboding place with an eldritch sky in the bantering waters of the English land which is a place of old magic and ancient power and as I write to you now I flee that place. He wrote to me, wrote to me, and he said that he could not come home, and even his handwriting was full to the tides of anguish all the hatred that was boiling within him, for he could not leave till the French had settled, they of such strong emotions and powerful feelings, they of suchs angers and brimming grimmances, grievances that no time nor tolling bell could erase, they who could not accept Louis XVIII as their rightful king, he who supremed idiocy with the trebelence of a manatee."

Your signature is a quote from EE's critique of my query letter. Awesome!

PeeDee
09-25-2006, 07:10 AM
It was a good query letter, but that was a brilliant line.I want a t-shirt that says that. It's practically a Life Message.

TsukiRyoko
09-25-2006, 07:11 AM
I think I just had a minor stroke....

PeeDee
09-25-2006, 07:14 AM
From me, or Catherine Coulter? A minor stroke in a good way, or a bad way?

Us authors, we're so insecure.

(stares at his library, wonders who to do next)

Unique
09-25-2006, 07:28 AM
From me, or Catherine Coulter? A minor stroke in a good way, or a bad way?

Us authors, we're so insecure.

(stares at his library, wonders who to do next)

We authors. sheesh.

Bartholomew
09-25-2006, 07:28 AM
Original:
"My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed, except for his soul, he wrote me, had been unable to come home until the French, who, he always said, lived in a constant state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII, their rightful, albeit idiot, of a king."

Leo Tolstoy- (I don't feel like writing a novel, so I'm only going to do part of the sentence)

"Petre Belugorod Riazanaiskii's letter had arrived from a dreary place up north; Waterloo, it was called, and it was a monument to plague and death. He had survived the battle there without so much as twisting his leg, but his soul had become a mottled and twisted wreckage of its former glory. One could see the lasting effects of the Napoleon's war in my poor cousin's eyes; where once shone life, brilliant and young, now gleamed a rat-like, nervous energy. Those eyes, where once the joyous mirth of a muse danced, now reflected only Death and his cruel scyth."

PeeDee
09-25-2006, 07:29 AM
You can't correct my art. You just don't understand!

Unique
09-25-2006, 07:30 AM
Oh, yeah?

Bartholomew
09-25-2006, 07:30 AM
You can't correct my art. You just don't understand!

Your art was fine. He corrected your grammar.

<Hides>

PeeDee
09-25-2006, 07:35 AM
Good re-write, Bartholomew (Cubbins, and the 500 hats)!

Okay. My next one.

Original:
"My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed, except for his soul, he wrote me, had been unable to come home until the French, who, he always said, lived in a constant state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII, their rightful, albeit idiot, of a king."

Lemony Snicket:

"No doubt you have heard of my cousin Pete, because he does so many things which people spend a lot of time thinking about, like going out of doors and visiting strange and exotic locations and having problems. For example, he has just written me a letter from Waterloo, which you may think of as a pretty nice place to visit but is, in reality, nothing much when it rains, which it does all the time.

My cousin Pete has a great deal of emotional problems, all of them overwrought, a word which here means lots of them, all of them big, which must be discussed at length and in detail whenever the family gets together. He does not like the French. You would think he would be comforted by the sheer number of people who also do not like the French right along with him, because they are just as many as the number of people who do not like cold Herring fishes dropped down their shirts, but evidently he feels quite alone and miserable. Apparently, alone and miserable is also how the French feel......."

PeeDee
09-25-2006, 07:36 AM
Your art was fine. He corrected your grammar.
<Hides>

My grammar IS my art! I speak through my grammar! I was representing the anarchy present in modern society with my grammar! Conformists!

Bartholomew
09-25-2006, 07:37 AM
Good re-write, Bartholomew (Cubbins, and the 500 hats)!

Okay. My next one.

Original:
"My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed, except for his soul, he wrote me, had been unable to come home until the French, who, he always said, lived in a constant state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII, their rightful, albeit idiot, of a king."

Lemony Snicket:

"No doubt you have heard of my cousin Pete, because he does so many things which people spend a lot of time thinking about, like going out of doors and visiting strange and exotic locations and having problems. For example, he has just written me a letter from Waterloo, which you may think of as a pretty nice place to visit but is, in reality, nothing much when it rains, which it does all the time.

My cousin Pete has a great deal of emotional problems, all of them overwrought, a word which here means lots of them, all of them big, which must be discussed at length and in detail whenever the family gets together. He does not like the French. You would think he would be comforted by the sheer number of people who also do not like the French right along with him, because they are just as many as the number of people who do not like cold Herring fishes dropped down their shirts, but evidently he feels quite alone and miserable. Apparently, alone and miserable is also how the French feel......."

<CLAP>

Well done!

Unique
09-25-2006, 07:39 AM
My grammar IS my art! I speak through my grammar! I was representing the anarchy present in modern society with my grammar! Conformists!

uh huh.

write much?

Bartholomew
09-25-2006, 07:42 AM
Original:

"My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed, except for his soul, he wrote me, had been unable to come home until the French, who, he always said, lived in a constant state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII, their rightful, albeit idiot, of a king."

Agatha Christi:

"Hastings! Come!"
"What the devil is it, Poirot?"
"The French," Poirot said with his usual air of superiority, "they are the, how you say, emotional fools. We are going to Waterloo."
"What? Why?"
"All will be made clear in time, my friend."

<Hides>

PeeDee
09-25-2006, 07:42 AM
......not tonight. Not usefully. Here I am, a six-part serial staring up at me in desperate need of writing...and I'm on AW, pretending to write like other authors.

Unique
09-25-2006, 07:43 AM
......not tonight. Not usefully. Here I am, a six-part serial staring up at me in desperate need of writing...and I'm on AW, pretending to write like other authors.

And doing a fine job of it!


(except for the grammar) :D

PeeDee
09-25-2006, 07:44 AM
And doing a fine job of it

(except for the grammar) :D

....and the lack of commas, and the run on sentences. Whaddaya want from me, huh?

Thomma Lyn
09-25-2006, 07:48 AM
Original:

"My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed, except for his soul, he wrote me, had been unable to come home until the French, who, he always said, lived in a constant state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII, their rightful, albeit idiot, of a king."

H.P. Lovecraft:

"It was with a dreaded certainty which filled all of the cavity in which my heart did beat that I became aware that dreary morning as the sun rose with rosy tendrils of morning light that my cousin who I had known all my life and was called Pete had miraculously survived. He had been in Waterloo a town full of dark and menace, an evil forboding place with an eldritch sky in the bantering waters of the English land which is a place of old magic and ancient power and as I write to you now I flee that place. He wrote to me, wrote to me, and he said that he could not come home, and even his handwriting was full to the tides of anguish all the hatred that was boiling within him, for he could not leave till the French had settled, they of such strong emotions and powerful feelings, they of suchs angers and brimming grimmances, grievances that no time nor tolling bell could erase, they who could not accept Louis XVIII as their rightful king, he who supremed idiocy with the trebelence of a manatee."

LMAO! I read quite a bit of Lovecraft as a young'un, and I tip my hat to you (well, I would if I were wearing one).

The original version by Catherine Coulter left me comma-tose. ;)

Akiahara
09-25-2006, 08:45 AM
... *head exploding*

persiphone_hellecat
09-25-2006, 10:19 AM
The Persi version ...

Mon cousin Pete, the one who used to enjoy playing “docteur” with me when we were kids, somehow managed to get out of Waterloo with his derriere intact. We’re not too sure about his soul, though, assuming he ever had one. He wrote me the other day saying he was unable, or more likely unwilling, to come home until the French, who he has always considered the ultimate in Drama Queens, accepted that idiot Louis XVIII as their rightful king. Now, I’m really wondering if Pete didn’t take one in the head at Waterloo. Why would he want to come home to an idiot as king?

persiphone_hellecat
09-25-2006, 10:38 AM
Dashiell Hammett ...

Chugging back another gulp of cheap whiskey and brushing the files of a case gone bad aside, I went through the morning mail--cursing my secretary Linda for not showing up that morning and tossing the bills unopened into the trash. So what if I owed her two months pay? Whatever happened to loyalty and blind faith? I dated a girl named Faith once, but I don't remember her being blind. Maybe she was to date a lug like me.

Careful not to hurt myself with that stiletto Linda calls a letter opener, I sliced open the envelope and a letter fell out onto my cheap fake mahogany desk. It was from Pete, a cousin I hadn’t seen for a while. Crime and dames keep me pretty busy, but not necessarily in that order. As I scanned the page, I was relieved to know he survived Waterloo with everything but his soul still intact. I didn’t worry though. Here in Hollywood, on the Boulevard of Dreams, souls are a dime a dozen. The next one was on me.

Reading on, I was puzzled by a cryptic message the letter contained. Pete said he wouldn’t be home until those kissy Frenchies accepted that idiot Louis XVIII as their king. I glanced at the calendar behind my desk, pausing long enough to ogle the gams on Miss June. The date was June 19, 1936. Either this was some kind of code or Pete’s letter took a hell of a long time to reach its’ destination. As a betting man, I went with the former.

I raised the bottle and toasted Pete. “To you, Petey boy, and to Louis the 17th.” Whatever. I never was real good with Roman numerals. I polished off the bottle, chambered a round in the old pea shooter, grabbed my trench coat and headed out. Something told me this case was going to be one hell of a bumpy ride.

persiphone_hellecat
09-25-2006, 11:58 AM
Mr. Rogers style ...

Did you hear that boys and girls? Someone is at the door. Why it's Mr. Mc Feely with a letter for me! It's from Pete, my cousin. Can you say PETE? Pete has been away fighting in the battle of Waterloo. Can you say WATERLOO? Oh this is good news! He is doing fine. He wasn't hurt in battle, but along with his canteen, he lost his soul. Can you say SOUL? Oh my, this isn't good news. He says that he won't come home until the French, who drink too much, fvck too much and eat snails and frogs make Louis XVIII their king. Can you say A-HOLE?

persiphone_hellecat
09-25-2006, 12:10 PM
Shakespeare ...

But soft,
What slipped through yonder letter slot?
It is a missive from Pietro-
The son of my mother’s sister.
I fall to my knees
Clutching the treasured epistle to my heaving breast,
My eyes look Heavenward, thanking our benevolent Creator
For this most welcome dispatch.
Pietro hath weathered the fierce battle of Waterloo
Scatheless and unblemished.
This news brings joy to my worried heart..
However, somewhere hath his soul taken flight.
No matter.
I await him in Paris
With a hero’s welcome
But he returneth not.
He will not on French soil step
Until the dramatis personae as the French be known
Accept as their rightful ruler
The eighteenth monarch to bear the name Louis.
But alas,
This Louis is a foolish jacka$$
A hopeless dolt, unfit to rule
And yet rule he must if I am ever to see
My beloved Pietro again.
How to make this so bewilders my troubled heart.

robeiae
09-25-2006, 05:00 PM
Zucker Brothers:

"Then Howie survived?"

"Oh, no. Fraid not. We lost Howie the next day."

"Over Waterloo?"

"No. I don't think I'll ever get over Waterloo. Those wounds run...pretty deep."











What?

PattiTheWicked
09-25-2006, 05:18 PM
Original: "My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed, except for his soul, he wrote me, had been unable to come home until the French, who, he always said, lived in a constant state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII, their rightful, albeit idiot, of a king."

As written by JK Rowling:
"Pete was a boy, a very nondescript boy who wore a baggy rugby shirt and lived in a closet near the bottom of the castle keep and had large round glasses without which he would have been blind. He wrote a letter, using his very best quill pen and the ink set which Aunt Martha had given him at Christmastime two years ago, and took it to the post office to mail it with a stamp that he bought with the money he'd saved up from gathering old tuna cans along the side of Bunglesnout Lane. Now, in this letter, he said that he had been at the battle of Waterloo, and although it was now quite a long time in the past and some of the people he bumped into at the post office had never even heard of Waterloo, still it was a time that really made him quite sad and forlorn. He announced in this letter, which would eventually make its way by post to Little Fripplethorn and to a cousin, who read it and saw that the French people, in their own strange way, had accepted the idea of Louis XVIII -- his father, of course, being Louis XVII, and known for having a fondness for butter cream pies -- as their ruler, despite the fact that in many ways, he was a complete and utter idiot."

TsukiRyoko
09-25-2006, 08:39 PM
No worries, for my stroke was brought on by Catherine Coulter. I don't know if it's a good stroke or a bad stroke yet, because my left side is still stiff and twitching. We'll decide when I gain mobility.

persiphone_hellecat
09-25-2006, 08:42 PM
Ray ... Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease move this to Games!!! This is sooooooooooooo much fun!!

Paris Hilton the author's version.

I got a letter this guy Pete today. He says he is my cousin. Who gives a sh!t? It's all about me anyway. I'm hot, Pete's not. Fvck him.

persiphone_hellecat
09-25-2006, 08:59 PM
As written by Norman Lear and the writers of All in the Family ...

Edith: Look Archie! It’s a letter from my Cousin Phil!

Archie: (reading the paper) Oh Jeeze, Edith. Not that French guy again!

Edith: Oh listen to this Archie! Phil has been fighting in a big battle called Waterloo. Oh my! He says he isn’t wounded or nothing, but somehow he lost his soul. That doesn’t make sense, Archie. When you lose your soul, aren’t you dead?

Archie: Obviously not, dingbat. He wrote you a letter, didn’t he?

Edith: (giggling stupidly) Oh yeah, I guess he did. Oh my. He says he will not return to France. He calls the French people over emotional and over dramatic.

Archie: Yeah? Well I call them a bunch of fags.

Michael: (jumping up from the couch) See that Archie? That’s just what I mean about you. You’re a bigot. You always stereotype people. Not all French people are fags.

Archie: Yeah, well Pete is.

Gloria: Daddyyyyyyyyyyyyy … Go on with the letter, Ma.

Edith: Pete says he won’t go home until the French people make some guy named Louis XVIII their king. Oh my! Pete says this guy Louis is a real meathead.

Archie: Yeah? A meathead huh? Then maybe Michael can become King of France and stop sponging off me.

Gloria: Daaaaaaaaaaddyyyyyyyyy…

pconsidine
09-25-2006, 09:50 PM
Worst first sentence in recorded history is still Jordan's Wheel of Time. Makes Tale of Two Cities look like a Hallmark card by comparison.

dclary
09-25-2006, 10:02 PM
'

I don't like your rewrite either; it leaves that same stale voice intact.

To each their own, though, oui?

The problem wasn't the stale voice. The problem was that the sentence was unreadable.

As an editor, it's not my job to fix the author's voice -- if the voice doesn't work I send the ms back to the author for a rewrite.

It is my job, however, to make the piece readable.



ETA: Oh hell, this has become a game thread anyway. Never mind! :D

dclary
09-25-2006, 10:06 PM
I wish I had the trebelence of a manatee.

:(

pconsidine
09-25-2006, 11:14 PM
I with you, clary. A good editor only rewrites as much as is necessary.

No matter how much we might like to torch the thing and start from scratch.

My impression of the Coulter snippet was that it was just horrible use of punctuation. I think clary's edit showed how easily the thing could have been cleaned up with a little judicious punctuating.

persiphone_hellecat
09-26-2006, 12:20 AM
I wish I had the trebelence of a manatee.

:(

Wouldnt you rather be hung like a whale?

http://www.flattire.org/pics/2004/013004_whale_schlong.jpg

PeeDee
09-26-2006, 12:28 AM
Wouldnt you rather be hung like a whale?

http://www.flattire.org/pics/2004/013004_whale_schlong.jpg

You're a dork.



(get it? get it?)

persiphone_hellecat
09-26-2006, 12:47 AM
LOL ... Ive got LOTS of freako pics ... wanna see my collection of X Rated X Rays?

persiphone_hellecat
09-26-2006, 12:50 AM
Hamster maybe??http:///www.passion-gerbilles.com/images-reproduction/penis.jpg

arrowqueen
09-26-2006, 01:03 AM
Well, I thought the original sentence was quite catchy.

persiphone_hellecat
09-26-2006, 01:10 AM
Dan Brown style ...


Looking over his shoulder, the curator runs through the museum. Behind him he hears the sound of footsteps. He is coming. There is very little time. Reaching up, the curator knocks a Caravaggio off the wall, the gate closes, locking him within. The footsteps continue. The curator gasps as a hand as white as snow reaches through the gate. He sees the glint of steel in the alabaster hand. “What does it say, old man?” The curator glances around frantically. “I said what does it say?” The curator and the albino make eye contact. He will shoot. The curator is certain. “It…It’s from my cousin Pete. He fought at Waterloo.” The albino monk smiles, his pink eyes twinkling. “And? What else?” The curator swallows hard. There are secrets to be protected. “He is safe and unharmed, all but his soul is unscathed.” The albino throws back his head and laughs wildly. “You French and your souls! You don’t know what a soul is! You mistake blatant arrogance and a flair for the dramatic for a soul” The curator glances at the floor beneath the albino. Deep, red blood drips down his leg from the cilice that binds his thigh under his rucksack monk’s robe. “Go on, old man. What else?” There is no time left. The curator can sense that. He must make a decision—one that will affect all of those who truly believe. “He will not return! Not until Louis XVIII has been made king!” The albino smiles. His teeth are as white as his skin. “Louis XVIII, a blithering idiot. Thank you old man. May God have mercy on your humble soul.” He fires twice and the old man falls to the ground. Making the sign of the cross on his forehead, the albino whispers a short prayer and disappears into the galleries and limping out into the night.

maestrowork
09-26-2006, 03:13 AM
Erotica:

My cousin Pete, who has a large love tool, decided to stay cool after he lived through an orgy of carnage in Waterloo, thus losing his soul, along with his cherry, to the lustful sin of flesh. The unspeakable kind. He would wait, hard at all times, for Louis XVIII to become king. An idiot king, but the rightful king, who sure would enjoy many virginal, big-breasted maidens with penetrating desire.

TsukiRyoko
09-26-2006, 03:19 AM
Definately caught my attention.

persiphone_hellecat
09-26-2006, 06:06 AM
Erotica:

My cousin Pete, who has a large love tool, decided to stay cool after he lived through an orgy of carnage in Waterloo, thus losing his soul, along with his cherry, to the lustful sin of flesh. The unspeakable kind. He would wait, hard at all times, for Louis XVIII to become king. An idiot king, but the rightful king, who sure would enjoy many virginal, big-breasted maidens with penetrating desire.
Hey -- its good to be the king...

pconsidine
09-26-2006, 06:50 AM
It's even better to be Pete. :)

Soccer Mom
09-26-2006, 06:58 AM
Alexander McCall Smith: The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency

MMa Ramotswe sat in her detective agency at the foot of Kgale Hill and watched the dust rise and settle, like the rise and fall of Africa. She opened the letter from her her cousin Pete. Pete is a good man who understands the worth of cattle. She sips bush tea which is soothing, yet stimulating, like Africa. Pete's body has survived, but his soul is a casualty of the Great War, like Africa. He shall not return to French soil until the matter of a kingdom is settled as such matters are always a subject of great division, like Africa.

persiphone_hellecat
09-26-2006, 07:11 AM
As Dr. Seuss ...

A letter came from cousin Pete
In Waterloo, they met defeat.
He thought his body was all whole
But he was missing his whole soul.
He will not come home to France.
He will not take me to the dance.
He will not dance, he will not sing
Till Louis XVIII is the king.
He will not sing, he will not dance
He doesn’t like the folks in France
They are snotty, they are icky
When they choose their food, they’re very picky
They don’t eat cats, they don’t eat dogs,
They eat garden snails and legs of frogs.
He will not eat the legs of frogs,
He will not eat the cats or dogs
He will not dance, he will not sing
Till Crazy Louie rules as king.
He will be king, he will be ruler
Then Pete will come home so much cooler.
He will not eat the legs of frogs
He will not eat the cats or dogs
The letter came from Waterloo
Addressed to me and not to you.
Do not sit there, don’t get cozy
You are being very nosy.
You are nosy, you are clenchy
You must be a bleepin’ Frenchie
We will not sing, we will not dance
We should all stay out of France

Soccer Mom
09-26-2006, 07:14 AM
Everyone better rep Persi for that one!

dclary
09-26-2006, 07:18 AM
Original: "My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed, except for his soul, he wrote me, had been unable to come home until the French, who, he always said, lived in a constant state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII, their rightful, albeit idiot, of a king."

Blackheart version:

"My cousin Pete was almost killed by Bush. The Nazi republicans stole his soul. He's not able to come home because of the Patriot Act until the Americans fess up and admit that Bush is more of a despotic monarch than Louis XVIII."


Followed immediately by Billythrilly's version:

"Through a series of events too complicated to explain, most of which involve some place in France and a king, my cousin Pete will not be able to come home soon.

Thank you.

:)"

PeeDee
09-26-2006, 07:24 AM
Hopefully, someone who was skim-reading this thread thinks that the whole thing is just devoted to the adoration of me.

persiphone_hellecat
09-26-2006, 07:51 AM
It isnt????????? She says ... sucking up.

PeeDee
09-26-2006, 08:03 AM
It isnt????????? She says ... sucking up.

No, honest, it is! Really!

persiphone_hellecat
09-26-2006, 08:28 AM
Hey I thought Clary would appreciate the last line of Dr Seuss ... Maybe he is wearing off on me... Nah

dclary
09-26-2006, 08:34 AM
Hey I thought Clary would appreciate the last line of Dr Seuss ... Maybe he is wearing off on me... Nah

I was hoping that you would have cherskiffinied
a fancy word my darling persiphone.

persiphone_hellecat
09-26-2006, 08:50 AM
Johnny Cochran's version ...

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
In the Matter Pete Vs. The People of France

BE IT KNOWN that the party of the first part (henceforth known as “The Recipient”) has in his/her possession a letter from the party of the second part (henceforth known as “Pete”). Inasmuch as “Pete” has survived the battle (henceforth known as “Waterloo”) in a reasonably good condition, however with an unspecified degree of peripheral damage to a portion of his spirit (henceforth known as “The Soul”) that will be taken into consideration in a Civil Case at a later date, “Pete” wishes that be known through “The Recipient” that he chooses not to resume his residence in a country (henceforth known as “France”) for an unknown period of time or until a new monarch (henceforth known as Louis XVIII) has been seated upon the throne of the country previously referred to as “France”. Despite “Pete’s” obvious dissatisfaction with the people of the country previously referred to as “France” (henceforth known as “The Frenchies”) and their flair for the dramatic, “Pete” agrees that he will return to said country known as “France” when “The Frenchies” agree to crown said monarch “Louis XVIII” despite his obvious incompetence and inaptitude when it comes to ruling over “The Frenchies”, or when Hell freezes over, whichever should come first. We eagerly await resolution of this matter so that “Pete” can return to “France”.

Whereas, if the crown don’t fit, you must acquit.

Very Sincerely Yours,

Johnny Cochran, Esq.

cc: Catherine Coulter

Bartholomew
09-26-2006, 06:33 PM
The problem wasn't the stale voice. The problem was that the sentence was unreadable.

As an editor, it's not my job to fix the author's voice -- if the voice doesn't work I send the ms back to the author for a rewrite.

It is my job, however, to make the piece readable.



ETA: Oh hell, this has become a game thread anyway. Never mind! :D

Ooo. We should make an Editor game.

That'd be fun...

PeeDee
09-26-2006, 06:34 PM
I think half of this thread is exactly that...but yes, we really should, and then edit famous books.

Bk_30
09-26-2006, 07:08 PM
Warning do not read this thread on a full bladder or after ingesting several cups of coffee. AKA when good writers go bad or when writers attack

Soccer Mom
09-26-2006, 07:10 PM
Ooooh, editing famous books! Sounds like fun. I'll sharpen my red pen. :D

PeeDee
09-26-2006, 07:12 PM
Ooooh, editing famous books! Sounds like fun. I'll sharpen my red pen. :D

Well, we already did the Bible, so I'd say we're off to a good start.

Soccer Mom
09-26-2006, 07:16 PM
Margret Wise Brown: The Runaway Bunny.

Once there was a cousin named Pete who decided to run away.

His mother said, "If you run away, Pete, I will come after you and bring you home."

"If you come after me and bring me home, I shall leave my soul behind," said Pete.

His mother said, "If you leave your soul behind, I shall go to France and fetch it."

"If you go to France and fetch it, I shall refuse to wear it until Louis is king," said Pete.

Pete's mother said, "If you refuse to wear your soul until Louis is king, I shall put the crown on his head myself."

"Shucks," said Pete, "I might as well stay here and be your little bunny."

And so he did.

"Have a carrot," said his mother.

AnneMarble
09-26-2006, 09:11 PM
Wow. And I ussually like her stuff.

I just can't get past her first paragraph in "The Countess."
(Paragraph snipped to save us. :))

Ow. Ow. Ow.

I wonder if this is because "The Countess" is one of her earlier Regency romance novels, reprinted in a revised and expanded edition? Maybe she should have kept it shorter. ;)

Ironically, in the 1980s, I'm pretty sure Coulter was the romance author who had written a pamphlet about grammar that she was happy to send to authors (aspiring and otherwise). And I remember her writing was good then, even if I wanted to flatten some of the heroes with a frying pan. Or in a few cases, an anvil. :D

Bartholomew
09-26-2006, 11:05 PM
(Paragraph snipped to save us. :))

Ow. Ow. Ow.

I wonder if this is because "The Countess" is one of her earlier Regency romance novels, reprinted in a revised and expanded edition? Maybe she should have kept it shorter. ;)

Ironically, in the 1980s, I'm pretty sure Coulter was the romance author who had written a pamphlet about grammar that she was happy to send to authors (aspiring and otherwise). And I remember her writing was good then, even if I wanted to flatten some of the heroes with a frying pan. Or in a few cases, an anvil. :D

Yep.

She calls the style "Unabashedly Gothic."

But if I wanted to read Archaic English, I'd read fiction from that period, not an imitation.

I read five more pages... every other sentence is like that.

It gave me a headache.

zarch
09-27-2006, 12:08 AM
Original:

"My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed, except for his soul, he wrote me, had been unable to come home until the French, who, he always said, lived in a constant state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII, their rightful, albeit idiot, of a king."

James Patterson:

Chapter 1

My cousin's name is Pete.

Chapter 2

Pete miraculously survived Waterloo.

Chapter 3

He was unscathed.

Chapter 4

His soul, though, was scathed.

Chapter 5

He couldn't come home.

Chapter 6

But then he could come home.

Chapter 7

The French were emotional.

Chapter 8

The French accepted Louis XVIII.

Chapter 9

And now Louis XVIII was king.

Soccer Mom
09-27-2006, 12:10 AM
LOL Zarch! Freakin' brilliant!

maestrowork
09-27-2006, 12:41 AM
Nicholas Sparks:

The twilight twinkled in Pete's eyes, reminding him of the beautiful morning when the gorgeous swans sang their sweet songs. He survived. He survived the harsh winter and horror of war. But his soul was damaged.

"Pete." He remembered Sylvia telling him before he left North Carolina for Waterloo that cold morning. "Come back to me. I love you."

"I love you, too," he said, his eyes misting.

That night, they made love. He could see the tears in Sylvia's eyes and smell the salty shore of North Carolina.

The twilight reminded him of home a long, long way from where he was, and he couldn't return, not until the heart-sickened French, their country a vast heartland of emotions, had accepted Louis XVIII as their king. If only Sylvia was there to watch the twilight with him. His heart sank like a boat off the North Carolina shore.

Dear Sylvia,

I love you so much. Not a day goes by without me thinking of you, dreaming of you, loving you. You are the only woman for me, and not even this God-forsaken country could keep me from you. Not even the foolish French king could take me away from you. I yearn for my return and to be back to your arms.

I love you, always.

Pete

He sealed the envelope with a soft kiss, and inserted the letter in a bottle before he threw it into the deep dark sea.

Soccer Mom
09-27-2006, 01:58 AM
Oh, you people owe me a new keyboard! There should be a beverage alert at the top of this thread! Now go play evil, I mean, CRANKY editor :D

Cause I wanna read more.

zarch
09-27-2006, 02:05 AM
Nicholas Sparks:

The twilight twinkled in Pete's eyes, reminding him of the beautiful morning when the gorgeous swans sang their sweet songs. He survived. He survived the harsh winter and horror of war. But his soul was damaged.

"Pete." He remembered Sylvia telling him before he left North Carolina for Waterloo that cold morning. "Come back to me. I love you."

"I love you, too," he said, his eyes misting.

That night, they made love. He could see the tears in Sylvia's eyes and smell the salty shore of North Carolina.

The twilight reminded him of home a long, long way from where he was, and he couldn't return, not until the heart-sickened French, their country a vast heartland of emotions, had accepted Louis XVIII as their king. If only Sylvia was there to watch the twilight with him. His heart sank like a boat off the North Carolina shore.

Dear Sylvia,

I love you so much. Not a day goes by without me thinking of you, dreaming of you, loving you. You are the only woman for me, and not even this God-forsaken country could keep me from you. Not even the foolish French king could take me away from you. I yearn for my return and to be back to your arms.

I love you, always.

Pete

He sealed the envelope with a soft kiss, and inserted the letter in a bottle before he threw it into the deep dark sea.

3 or 4 LOLs...

zarch
09-27-2006, 02:11 AM
Or maybe that should be LsOL. 3 or 4 laughs out loud...like mothers in law...or passers-by. Whatever.

aadams73
09-27-2006, 03:10 AM
Original:

"My cousin Pete, who had miraculously survived Waterloo unscathed, except for his soul, he wrote me, had been unable to come home until the French, who, he always said, lived in a constant state of overwrought emotion, had accepted Louis XVIII, their rightful, albeit idiot, of a king."


See Pete Run!

See Pete.
See Pete fight.
See Pete win.
Pete can not go home.
Poor Pete. Pete sad.
Pete is free.
See the French cry.
France gets new king.
The King is stupid.
Lucky France.

zarch
09-27-2006, 03:15 AM
This is fun. I hope people don't do this to my writing when I'm published.

Yeah, that's right. I said WHEN I'M FREAKING PUBLISHED.

Eveningsdawn
09-27-2006, 03:55 AM
Alright, I'll bite. Where's the Evil Editor thread? Is it the Cranky one?

dclary
09-27-2006, 03:58 AM
J.R.R. Tolkien:

In a letter in my hand there was a letter from my cousin Pete. Not a nasty, bloody letter describing his death or dismemberment at Waterloo -- he had survived, nor a letter telling me he was coming home -- thank Louis XVII for that; it was a letter from my cousin, and that meant comfort.

dclary
09-27-2006, 03:59 AM
This is fun. I hope people don't do this to my writing when I'm published.

Yeah, that's right. I said WHEN I'M FREAKING PUBLISHED.

I haven't even BEEN published and I get this all the time.

Blacky loves my work.

persiphone_hellecat
09-27-2006, 04:03 AM
Ray, you so totally missed your calling. You ARE Nick Sparks!! You can write me a letter anytime baby!!

persiphone_hellecat
09-27-2006, 04:07 AM
We forgot all about ABBA

My my, at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender
Oh yeah, and I have met my destiny in quite a similar way
The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself

Waterloo - I was defeated, you won the war
Waterloo - Promise to love you for ever more
Waterloo - Couldn't escape if I wanted to
Waterloo - Knowing my fate is to be with you
Waterloo - Finally facing my Waterloo

My my, I tried to hold you back but you were stronger
Oh yeah, and now it seems my only chance is giving up the fight
And how could I ever refuse
I feel like I win when I lose

Waterloo - I was defeated, you won the war
Waterloo - Promise to love you for ever more
Waterloo - Couldn't escape if I wanted to
Waterloo - Knowing my fate is to be with you

And how could I ever refuse
I feel like I win when I lose

Waterloo - I was defeated, you won the war
Waterloo - Promise to love you for ever more
Waterloo - Couldn't escape if I wanted to
Waterloo - Knowing my fate is to be with you
Waterloo - Finally facing my Waterloo