When You Look Back

I watched this movie last weekend that had several scenes with not so great acting. One scene still haunts me because the actor over over over played the moment. It was obvious he was trying too hard. He was trying to make the scene more dramatic than it needed to be. I wondered if the actor thinks about that scene and cringes.

I know I cringe when I think about some of my early stories. Like this short story I wrote in college about a woman talking to her friends about going to the gynecologist. It sucked to the one millionth power. My biggest regret about this story isn’t that it lacked a plot, three-dimensional characters and conflict, but that I let someone read it.

When you look back at your early writing attempts, do cringe? Do you high five yourself? Do you dare read them?

If you’re feeling bold, share a line or two from one of your early works. I’ll post my line in the comment section after I dig through a mountain of purple prose.



Filed under Kimberly, writing

9 responses to “When You Look Back

  1. mamadivine

    Both of these are from some short stories I wrote back in the late nineties. These are cringe worthy for me.

    1. Desperate hope, like a leaky bucket filled with water at first seems full and abundant, but in the end, its possessor is left holding onto an empty vessel of nothingness.

    2. After eight years of this chaotic and unnerving lifestyle, always controlled, unconsciously or consciously by Andre, she has determined the outcome and remained loyal to it even during Andre’s unwilling submission to her power.

  2. What? I can’t share. I’ve burnt all of them!

    Actually I’m rewriting my first book now. It hurts when it’s not laugh out loud funny.

  3. Jen


  4. Just for a laugh, I once started a book with the line “The night was humid” because it was one of the first lines Billy Crystal’s character rejected for his book in the movie Throw Momma From The Train.

    Book eventually got published by Ellora’s Cave, complete with that first line. LOL

  5. Not sharing one of my bad lines. Nope, can’t make me. But I can say that when I finished my first draft, and I know now it was a “rough draft”, I typed “The End” and promptly sent to Harlequin. Major cringe. Editing? Hadn’t heard of it at the time. Nor had I heard of POV shifts, character arcs, real-sounding dialogue, or GMC. I have now. That book has been completely rewritten at least ten times. It was released this year by Samhain Publishing and in no-way resembles that original rough draft. Shoot, even my penname changed!

  6. Well, I’ll randomly select a line from my first-ever attempt at writing a novel, from when I was 17 years old.


    (from chapter six, as it happens…)

    Scott’s insistent knocking brought David out of a pleasant, post-waking doze around Noon. He got out of bed and walked to the bedroom door, before stepping out into the living room hesitantly.

    “Use your own key, Scott!” he called. “They’re all the same anyway.” He turned back to the bedroom.

    A moment later he heard the key rattling in the lock, then a muted “No, they’re not!” from behind the door.

    Meh, not too bad. Needs work, but not too bad for being written about 20 years ago. (ugh)

  7. Well, those are interesting Mama… you were very deep then. Have you held onto that?

    With a flash of remembrance, the prior evening came back to her. I really liked this short story that I wrote for an HQ contest… it’s not a first. let me see if I can find my first… BRB.

    The wave of moisture spreading through the air and covering the city of Pittsburgh did not stop the people from coming out for the art festival. <– there, that's it…of course, that's not the first draft… oh to find the first draft, but I'm not a saver soooo it's unlikely I kept it.

    THanks for sharing mama! Good luck with Nano if you're doing it.

  8. The first story I wrote I didn’t punctuate. I was writing for myself, so just didn’t care. I don’t think I employed anything beyond the period.

    The file was also all single-spaced and not broken into chapters or anything. It was basically automatic writing. I could dig it up for ya’ll–but I don’t think I’m gonna!

    Thing is, I had a ball writing that story. It was the only time I’ve ever been able to write and not worry about anything at all. No rules. No expectations. No inner critic. Bliss!

  9. A snippet from my first novel “Mosaic’ set in Dark Ages England. unpublished since 2000
    “Thea brought her hand to her breast as though to capture her heart, which fluttered under her fingertips like a trapped bird.”

    Oh dear-cliche anyone?

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