May 18, 2010

Revenge of the Five Nerds... I mean, Words?

A while back I entered Natalie Whipple's Revenge of the Five Words Contest (which invariably makes me think of REVENGE OF THE NERDS), in which entrants were required to include 5 ridiculous words in a 333-word passage. Natalie does this exercise with reader-provided words as a regular feature on her blog.

Never actually seen REVENGE OF THE NERDS, but that won't stop me from referencing it.

Below is my entry, required words in bold. I wasn't surprised I didn't win, especially once I saw how the winners used the words (particularly the 1st place winner), but it was fun to enter.

Even now, I am looking at certain things in this passage and cringing, so Thursday I will edit it in a post so you get a sense of how I edit:

Kat slid into the booth, whisking her long hair over her shoulder as she set a whipped-cream-smothered caramel frappuccino on the table. "So... what did you think?"
Lauren shuffled her feet, trying to remember the carefully worded criticism she'd composed as she closed her laptop. Kat was a little sensitive.

"Well... I think it has a lot of potential... I love how the Astro Kids use katanas. Kiddie space ninjas is such a cool concept." She paused. "It does still need some editing, though."

"Oh?" Kat lowered her eyes, tracing a pattern in the whipped cream with a fingertip.

"It's not that it's bad," Lauren said. "You just need to polish. Everyone does."

Kat pursed her lips. "Why, what's wrong with it?"

"Um, for instance...," Lauren pulled a stack of paper from her purse and opened to a Post-It-marked page. "You're writing middle grade, right?" She pointed to two words circled in green. "I don't think most middle schoolers understand words like 'defenestrate' and 'fustigate.'"

Kat frowned. "So? They know how to use dictionaries. If I only used words kids knew, I'd be writing with words like 'good' and 'bad' and 'fine.'"

Lauren forced a smile. "I understand what you're saying, but you talk about a 'lenticular galaxy' in here. I didn't even know what that meant. I had to look it up on Wikipedia."

Kat cocked her head. "I," she pointing to herself, "have a master's in sociolinguistics. I'm not going to write like a five year old."

Lauren took a deep breath. She held Kat's gaze, searching for a crack in her stubbornness.

Nope. Nothing.

Lauren shrugged. "I like the story. These are just my thoughts. Maybe your other betas'll feel different."

Kat snatched her manuscript and stood, nearly knocking the frappuccino off the table. "Well thanks anyway." She turned sharply and flounced from the booth, shoulders back, hair swinging.

Lauren rubbed her forehead and sighed.

That was it. She was sticking to online crits from now on.
On another note, I am thinking of revamping my blog's layout. Are there any particular layouts you like? Anything in my current layout that is hard to read/annoying/distracting? Suggestions are welcome.

Finally, don't forget to enter my contest, in which I'm giving away signed Carrie Ryan and Lauren Willig books! I forgot to mention yesterday, but the contest IS open internationally.

2 comments:

Sarah Enni said...

Color me out-of-the-loop because I did not realize there was a 5 words challenge! And wow, those were really hard words - I think you did a good job working them in!

Have you ever tried a Wordpress blog, or do you want to stick with Blogger? Wordpress is more customizable but it can be a pain to switch over.

Abby Stevens said...

It was from a while back, but a lot of fun. :)

Wordpress seems a little daunting at this point. I've thought about it, but I'm going to stick with Blogger at least until I am at the querying stage when I (might) have a little more downtime.

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