Friday, August 18, 2017

The Horror Continues /// Humble Beginnings, Part 2

You may recall the first Humble Beginnings post I did. It's actually my third most popular post (the Sunshine Blogger Award just a wee bit higher), and you guys seemed to really love it. I just knew I had to do roast my old story even more, because things get even worse.

Enough chitchat! Let's jump straight into and see how horrible things are this time around. (And this gif shows me when I'm done with this story.)


No one in the city of Suez took notice of [the biplane]. In fact, no one was even suspicious of it's destination: a US aircraft carrier with a variety of different planes, helicopters, and land vehicles.

Are we seriously doing this right now? No one is suspicious of any of this? As of 2012, the city had a population of over half a million people. I'm sure not a single person was like, "You know, there's a foreign vessel in our waters, and it seems to be pretty busy, but no matter. I'm sure it isn't worth acknowledging. And when did aircraft carriers start transporting land vehicles? Plus, I'm triggered by the wrong use of "it's."

The two men handed [their ID cards] to the guard. He snorted. "Portal guardians, eh?" He turned to his friend. "I bet it was Stuart's idea to come back and 'report' to the big man. I always knew Stewy was a chicken." They both laughed.

Well, it seems the villainous dude has a weird choice in hiring people. I would that portal guardians would be a big deal, so why are these guards giving them such flak? Are they really so low on the food chain here?

Carl gritted his teeth. The guffaws of these baboons was really getting to him. "Listen, you jokers," he snapped. The two stared at the brawny, deeply tanned man. "We are bringing urgent news to the boss, and he's impatient. Plus, he sorely dislikes anyone delaying the portal guardians." He leaned in close and hissed, "Ever wonder what happened to the guards who delayed Dirk when he was going to tell Tarquin that the portal was moving from Lima?"

Baboons? Jokers? These are the best insults you have? Based on Carl's description--which we got while in his head, mind you--we can deduce he's the long-lost twin of Dwayne Johnson. Shouldn't the guards already know this stuff about their boss, though? And we don't actually get to hear what happened to the other guards? I guess hinting at violent stuff works really well on simple guards like these. (But I'd like to mention that Tarquin is actually a pretty cool name for a villain; it was actually the name of an Etruscan king way back when.)

The lights had been placed in human skulls, so the hall was ill-lit.

This is also pretty cool, albeit slightly morbid.

I'll spare you guys the details, because then we'd be here way too long, but I devoted one and a half pages of telling Tarquin's backstory. We're only thirteen pages in and we already know more about him than we do the main characters! The way I tell the backstory makes it even less interesting. It's just not executed well.

As for physical appearance, to say Tarquin was no Tom Cruise was an understatement. Besides being about seven feet high, he was bald and covered with scars.

I'm not sure if I find the celebrity reference absolutely hilarious or totally out of place. And it's tall, not high.

The regular soldiers made way for the elite [portal guardians] and lowered the ramp. The commander and commander-in-training got on one and led the squad toward the portal.

See? The portal guardians are indeed higher up, so why in heaven's name were the guards giving them such a hard time, especially when said guards are protecting the corridor to Tarquin's room? So if Carl and Stuart are really that much in charge, did they have to fly back to the ship? Couldn't they just make a judgement call and radio for backup?

Major David Sanders walked through the U.S. military base, looking for Brigadier General Lester Jackson's office. He had just gotten a call from Lester, who had wanted him in his office right away.

Finally! After fourteen pages and three chapters, we actually are introduced to one of the main characters, who decides to share his full name and rank, along with that of his superior. But was it really necessary to mention the call? And I'm also triggered by the inconsistent formatting of U.S., because not that long ago, it was simply US.

David was thirty-two years old, with dark brown hair and shining green eyes. Not only was he loyal to his country, he was a devoted Christian. He would openly show God's love through his actions and words, which most people appreciated.

No, no, no. This is not how character descriptions are supposed to go. It's as if I'm getting punched in the face by them while I'm reading, and then they're like, "Carry on." According to David's description, he's perfect and has no flaws whatsoever. I feel like I had to mention the "most people appreciated" line because of jerks like Alex.

David took a tack from the general's desk, drew his arm back, then launched it at the map. It soared through the air and landed dead center on [city I won't name because it's close to where I live and I apparently knew of no other cities when I wrote this]'s circle. "Right there," he said and sat back down.
Warren's jaw dropped and a flabbergasted look spread across Mark's face. "How did you do that?" Mark asked.
David shrugged. He didn't know how himself. All he basically knew was that his throwing ability was a God-given gift.

Is it even possible for someone to hit the dead center of those teeny-tiny little dots? I'm skeptical about its feasibility. (But remember it, because it's important later! Why else would I include this scene?) And of course David would only know that his gift was from God. This is a Christian story, after all! Now that I think of it, this meeting is far too casual for the military.

"So, David," Warren said, "were you ever a football quarterback? You got the arm for it."
"I've considered it many a time, but God called me to other things."
"So you're a Christian?" Mark asked. When David nodded, he exclaimed, "So am I!"
Warren was silent. The others guessed he wasn't a believer.

This conversation is so cringy. I can't even form words to properly describe how much I distaste these on-the-nose discussions. And that last sentence . . . that's a good thing to assume. "Oh, Warren's not talking? Ah, he must be a heathen." Obligatory "secular" character is obligatory.

David decided to change the topic for now. "You must work out, Warren. You got pretty muscular arms," he commented.
Warren grinned impishly. "I have once or twice." He rolled up his sleeves and flexed his biceps. David whistled.
 "I can do that, too," Mark said. He did, although there were no very noticeable effects.

Save me from the cringe, please! These guys are adults! They were specifically chosen to go find out what happened to the missing soldiers (which seems like a really small group for something kinda important). Why, then, are they talking about muscles like a bunch of teenagers? I'll tell you why: that's who they're supposed to be! No teen book that I've ever read featured main characters who are adults.

Suddenly, the radio crackled. "Alert, alert!" a soldier said. "We're under attack!"
Mark paused, frozen with fear.

Lester boasted how good you were, and yet here you are, afraid because the others are being attacked? This really shouldn't be too new for you.

Then someone spoke through the radio. "You still there, Mark?"
Mark didn't recognize the voice. None of the soldiers had a British accent. "Who are you, and how do you know my name?"

"I'm not going to answer either of those questions right now. I'm simply here to give you some convenient info because I'm in with the bad guys. None of them will notice this conversation I'm having with you. You'll trust me and, in the end, won't doubt a thing I say, even though I could be leading you into a trap."

All of a sudden, fury swelled in Mark's chest. "Then how do you explain the ambush on the deminers? You were amongst the shooters."
"I threw my shots off. Trust me."
The anger subsided. "Alright. So, how are we in the wrong place?"

First, NO! Not this garbage about sudden emotion. No one gets angry for, like, five seconds and then is cool. Second, did the other guardians not notice this dude suffering from the Stormtrooper effect?

"Look closely for particles of moving air. It will appear to be a mirage, but if you're the Chosen Ones, you will truly know if it's the portal."

You know, the "Chosen Ones" trope feels really disjointed in this story. I don't really pull it off all that well.

Warren looked ahead and gasped. A dead end was coming up fast. He made an one hundred eighty degree turn and slipped pas the jeep. The driver barely slammed on the brakes soon enough to avoid hitting the wall.

So I know this street was full of potholes and everything, but did the gunner seriously not shoot Warren or his dirtbike? And how narrow was this road? If it was narrow enough, the driver could've smashed the jeep into the bike. I think Tarquin needs to seriously re-evaluate his men.

As the light found [David], bullets soared through the darkness. One managed to puncture his shoulder blade. He swallowed the pain.

Well, at least we know one of the baddies has a decent aim. I expected the three heroes to be a lot more hurt by now.

"What happened to you?" Warren asked in a concerned tone, referring to the wound on David's shoulder. Blood had soaked into his uniform.
"Just a little bite from a bullet. Nothing serious," David informed, touching the hole and wincing. "I don't think it was a big gun. I'm pretty sure it was a machine gun."
"Thank goodness. A bullet from a big gun would've shattered your shoulder blade. In fact, you probably would've lost your arm," Warren stated. With that, their dirtbikes roared into the desert.

. . . Excuse me? What exactly did I just witness? I don't think I would say having a hole in your shoulder is a small matter. And then Warren rattles off a random fact he probably read on the Internet in a cool, professional manner. Then they just drive away. I just . . . I can't even.

[The jeep] rammed into [Mark's bike]. Instead of sending him over the side of the cliff, as the driver had anticipated, it propelled him forward.

Well, I guess common physics got the day off.

"Blast!" Carl snarled. The soldiers had discovered the portal, it had moved away, and his boss would not be pleased. What could be worse?

You could be a character in a terrible story filled with tons of mistakes. Oh, too late for you, I guess. Saying "blast" doesn't suit your character, by the way. Plus, if you hadn't wanted the portal to move away, Steward shouldn't have been given dynamite to throw at the ground near the portal in case someone was trying to go through. Why didn't you just shoot David before he got there? *covers my face with hand and shakes my head at the ridiculousness of this story*

That'll be the end of this post. Are you guys still enjoying this? If you are, let me know, and I'll make it a monthly series.


  1. YESYESYESYES. I love this so much! It's hilarious, okay! I'm just ... hahahaha. I have no words. xD LOL

    1. Thanks! It makes me happy to see these posts get so much love. XD I suppose having no words is a good thing. I just shocked 'em right out of ya. :P

  2. YESSSS. I was so excited to see another installment of this. Your commentaries just kill me. "...we can deduce he's the long-lost twin of Dwayne Johnson." <--I LOST IT. And "Well, I guess common physics got the day off." XDDDD

    I can sooo relate to the blatant Christian message and in depth, unnatural character descriptions. My early works were littered with those things. Subtlety is definitely something we have to develop in our writing. XD

    This was just great! I would LOVE to see it as a monthly series!

    1. Hooray for excitement about my posts! XD I took a ten-year course on how to be a good commentator/roaster for old stories. :P But it totally DOES sound like a description for the Rock. I wonder what I'd been thinking. :P That slacker! Physics needs to get back on the job. XD

      It's just so wince-worthy. That's very true. No reader likes to get bonked over the head with our messages and themes. XD

      I suspected people would like that idea. ^_^

  3. I totally lost it at the Dwayne Johnson remark too! XD Also loved the one about physics, so it seems Christine and I share a sense of humor!

    But ack, all the cringeworthy things. I so relate, especially to the incompetence of all the bad guys! Early versions of The Prophet's Quest are riddled with caricaturized villains with poor aim and even poorer intelligence. I guess it's a common newbie mistake: we make our villains sound super scary (well, we thought we were), but don't know how to write the heroes out of trouble and are scared to hurt them too badly, so we contrive escapes and lucky coincidences. *shakes head* So bad! XD

    But yes! A monthly series of this would be AWESOME! I still mean to give this a go myself sometime...

    1. Maybe you two are twins from different mothers! Because that makes sense. XD

      So much cringe, indeed. The Stormtrooper effect is everywhere, it seems. Exactly! We relied on deus ex machina far too often. Now, when we're more experienced, we like to thrust our characters into the heart of a trouble without giving them a lifeline (while secretly wondering what we're doing).

      You should give it a try and see what happens. :)

  4. THIIIIIIIS. I think I just died laughing. XD This is so hilarious!! I would love to see this become a monthly series!! :D

    1. Am I going to need to use a defibrillator to revive ya? XD Glad you thought so! I'd love to do that as well. :D Wonder how many months it'd take for me to get through all I had. :P

  5. Oh my goodness XD As Madeline said, this should become a monthly series! (Possibly even weekly? XD)

    1. I'm assuming that means you found it funny? XD Seeing as I post once or twice a week, probably not. :P Good thought, though. :)