1430: Orc – One Shot, Part OnePosted: May 30, 2016
Hello again, dear Patrons!
I know you were looking forward to another terrible chapter of Lyle’s Naruto fic, but she has a lot going on IRL these days. I do, too, so we decided to split Monday posts. So you’ll just have to suffer my snark for a week before she comes back.
So, having finished that long (for me), poorly underwritten “Snow White” fanfic, I’m moving on to a new canon and a new kind of bad writing – an overly flowery, pretentious, short(ish) little fanfic from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.
Let’s start with the summary:
She had always secretly wanted to travel to Quirm, on a warm summer’s day. When she does, it’s the man, and not the journey, that turns out to be the dream of a lifetime.
Who is “she”? Who is “the man”?
Well, the characters are listed in the fic info right under the summary, so I’ll only dock the author one irritation point for being intentionally vague. This fic is about Glenda and Nutt, major characters in Unseen Academicals who pair up at the end of the book. What do you need to know about them? Glenda is a practical, down-to-earth cook. Nutt is an orc – not quite the LotR type of orc, but just as feared in this canon – but he’s mostly a timid goblin-y guy who is very weird but completely non-threatening. They have been sent on an outreach mission to other orcs.
~A story by Anna Marcelli Palmer
Redundant title heading is redundant but still better than a pointless disclaimer, so I’m just going to remind the DRD agents how much worse it could be.
Trotting through the boundless lands of Quirm, amidst the sweet silence of a lazy summer’s eve. As the sun peacefully bleeds the sky a passionate scarlet, shadows against the dim light, people can be distinguished, roaming peacefully the picturesque streets ahead.
This prose is so purple I’m afraid it’s about to pass out from lack of oxygen. Just as I’m about to pass out from lack of proper sentence structure.
I could ask a list of pointless questions here, but I’m not going to bother. I could start a counter for periods that end flowery strings of phrases that aren’t actually sentences, but it would need to go pretty high. Instead I’m going to read the metaphors overly literally for shits and giggles. Here we go:
As the sun peacefully bleeds the sky
Ugh, blood from the sky!
a passionate scarlet
I love you, color red!
Life, beauty, and commotion. Vibrant colors scattered shoddily all over plains that look as infinite as love itself.
I prefer death, ugliness, and stillness, myself.
And to whom do I complain about the poor workmanship of this color distribution? I asked for an even coating of pastels, but instead there are globs of neons all over the place!
Freedom. Adventure. Longing.
I’m already longing for this to be over, and we’ve barely started!
Everything seems so terribly wrong, so blatantly irrational, yet feels so paralyzingly right. Cell by cell, her whole existence is overwhelmed with senses; the wind blowing playfully through the curls of her hair, the landscape sprinting past them, the rythmical breath of the horse, the firm vibrations caused by the rough impact with the earth, the echo of girlish giggles, sounds of laughter typical of a creature not accustomed to laughing.
Ok, author, I only docked you one irritation point above for not naming characters because the info is basically part of the summary. But the fic itself needs to stand on its own without the summary. So if there’s not a way to identify the subjects of the fic from the prose itself soon, I’m going to start docking you a point per word. That’s going to add up pretty fast, and we have some pretty severe punishments here in the Library starting at about fifty irritation points.
Also, five points for the misused semi-colon, because that’s a pet peeve of mine.
Now, back to over-literally snarking the content:
the landscape sprinting past them
The landscape is sprinting? Pretty much the only types of landscape that move quickly are rivers and avalanches, and it’s not a good idea to ride a horse in either.
the firm vibrations caused by the rough impact with the earth
This better not be going where I think it’s going …
::checks fic’s rating::
Rated K. We’re safe.
Her arms frozen for hours around his waist, fingers clutching firmly on the cloth of his shirt, so much so that veins are becoming visible on both her hands.
My first thought is that veins are always visible on my hands, so this makes no sense. But actually, I’m so pale as to be transparent, so I guess that’s probably not true of everyone. And I don’t remember if Glenda’s skin tone is described in the book. I think the author means that the veins are standing out from her clenching her hands. But I don’t know. -1 irritation point. Be careful, author.
On their way to far Uberwald.
… I thought they were going to Quirm?
Actually, according to the book they are going to Far Uberwald, but so far in the fic only Quirm has been mentioned. Do I have to drag out my speech about good fanfic standing alone, again?
And what about the Night Kitchen, and the life that ‘s being left behind? There are a billion things to be done back home, countless fragments of familiar Morporkian routine she will definitely miss. Daily duties. Work at the University, friends left behind, the vivid Klatchian markets, the busy streets, even the foot-the-ball and its savant Shove.
Other than general wordiness, this bit isn’t so bad. Except that bit at the end. What does “savant Shove” mean?? The Shove is the crowd at a foot-the-ball match in Ankh-Morpork, with the crowd responding to and even interfering with events in the game. Not sure what “savant” has to do with any of that.
Things she knows well and can easily handle.
Um, pies! Wizards! Ooh, ooh, old people!
That was the category for Family Feud, right?
Even now, in this very instant, now that she has already said yes to him, now that she is already swept off her feet by him, deep inside, Glenda feels the slightest pang of worry. So many reasons why the answer should be no. It was a good job after all, and she had almost grown fond of the wizards’ erratic habits, and their whims, and the way her workspace seemed to defy fundamental laws of physics all the time… secure, mundane quotidianity, every logical human being’s first and only perspective.
Ok, we finally have a character name!
I’m pretty sure “quotidianity” is not a word. But it sounds like a good one, so I’ll let it slide.
A plump girl that has only known the four rather lonely walls of her quiet workspace, and the last orc alive, a much dreaded being resented by the mankind, on a journey to the savage lands of Uberwald. A fairly tale about imperfect people, living imperfect lives, making uncertain dreams- should it really be that way? Mind screams no, it shouldn’t. But the mere thought only causes her to hold on tighter.
Glenda does not know only the “four rather lonely walls” of the Night Kitchen – she helps out her neighbors and sells cosmetics to trolls. Glenda is not exactly an “elopement” personality for most of the book, but neither is she a sheltered shut-in. -10 for poor characterization.
Nutt is not the last orc – that’s the whole reason they’re going to Far Uberwald! They’re going to “civilize” the orcs!!
And again, there’s a nugget of a good idea buried under all the purple prose here. But it’s pretty deeply buried and surrounded by incorrect references to the source material.
“Is everything all right, Miss Glenda?”, the voice reaches the ears distorted, but for the speed they are sprinting at, but it still causes a smile to spread across her face.
“but for” =/= “because of” Don’t use fancy phrases if you don’t know what they mean!
I wonder if the spreading smile is due to the wind at their speed.
“Glenda would do just fine under the current circumstances”, she mumbles mechanically, thinking how he has never ceased to be the same man that wrote that beautiful poem for her, and admitted having done so days later, out of sheer shyness. “I was just wondering.”, she added, louder this time.
Author, please learn how to combine sentence punctuation with quotation marks. I can’t even look at this.
“Wondering ? I don’t think I understand.”
Feelings, confessions, thoughts, worries bubble within her skull. A million things to be said, and what finally comes out is just an infinitesimal portion of it all. Am I doing the right thing? Will finding the remaining orcs turn out to be a dangerous task? Is it finally a happy ending? Should I be afraid of what you are? Why did you do all this…for me?
Is she speaking these questions aloud or not? Because if not, they should be before the (very indirect) mention of speaking …
“It’s just insane… ”
“What, Miss Glenda?”
“You and me, here, now. Us. The mission Ladyship assigned you. Everything.”
Well, that about covers it. End of conversation, yes?
The pause that follows is far too longer than what she’d expected. Seconds fly away in reticence, and the woman’s heart gradually sinks. I said something that upset him. Something that saddened him.
Well, that’s terribly written.
And now I face the battle of two pet peeves: calling grown women “girls” vs. inconsistency. Glenda is called a “girl” above, which irritates me, but then calling her a “woman” here annoys me because it’s different.
… I’m getting very close to getting out the rolled-up newspaper.
Then, all of a sudden, his torso convulses beneath her arms, muscles clench ever so slightly. He skillfully leans back, and in a few moments, the horse has grinded itself to a halt. Breath chaotical, heart stopped, she tries to find his gaze while he gently helps her dismount, but it’s discouragingly impossible; he seems a lot smaller than his usual self now, eyes stubbornly pinned to the ground, somehwat hidden by a strand of his hair.
I’m pretty sure that a convulsion is not just a slight clenching. Internal inconsistency. Ugh.
“Grinded” isn’t a word. Neither is “chaotical.” And “find his gaze”?
You know, author, you started out ok, just overly flowery. But you’re rapidly losing any grip on sense or proper English. This is not a good sign.
For either of us.
But…it had seemed like their happy ending. Should be. Must be. Now she is incensed with herself, mad at her down-to-earth, overly rational way of thinking, cursing her obvious expertise at spoiling everything.
::peeks around doorway::
No DRD agents. If we’re very quiet, maybe they won’t notice us.
Unhingement. Scrolling through a mental list of appropriate things to say. To no avail.
There are no complete sentences in that “paragraph” and 10% of the words longer than two letters are not real words.
I officially give up.
I’ll go rest up and come back to this next time. Until then, Patrons, so long.