On Rotten Writing


Not long ago, I was a member of a Doctor Who fan community which grouped their members in to teams (I was on Team Dalek) and set weekly or monthly challenges.

One such challenge was to write really terrible fanfic. Poor spelling, grammar and punctuation were encouraged, as were overuseage of exclamation marks and a completely awful plot (if there was a plot at all).

I’m a writer; therefore I was certain I could come up with something awful enough to win. I just had to tell my brain that I could barely speak the Queen’s English, right?

Well, I gave it my best shot. My entry involved Amy wandering into a room in the TARDIS that hadn’t been there the day before. On opening the door she found herself in a field full of purple and pink cows, and Rimmer – complete with his mob hat, gingham dress and Mister Flibble puppet, was milking them and waving at her.

I tried my hardest to get my apostrophes in the wrong places, misspelled everything I could (when I remembered) and gave Amy an almost Donna-like accent (lots of shouts of “DOCTAH” for example). When Amy went running into the console room to ask about the cows the Doctor explained that he’d rescued them from the Planet Moo, which had been about to explode. Rimmer just happened to be there, so he’d had to rescue him too.

I read plenty of the other entries and voted for the ones that I deemed to be the most cringeworthy. There were some truly side-splitting, groan-inducing entries and I was excited to be a part of the silliness. After all, writing is supposed to be fun and doesn’t neccessarily have to be serious. If writing were dull, we wouldn’t have authors out there such as Marc Schuster or Terry Pratchett (who you shall be getting to read a lot about next month, as the husband and I are off to the bi-annual Discworld Convention. There will almost certainly be mentions of Orang-Utans, Pimms and chocolate flavoured vodka with a few corsets thrown in for good measure too).

My rubbish fanfic managed to reduce the judges to tears of hysterical laughter; members were responding to it with quotes from my story and explaining why that was their favourite part (I think the quote with the most fans was at the end: “And then Amy waked up an it wos all a dreem”.)

My fic “Amy And The Cowz” was beautiful in its awfulness. Sadly, it didn’t win because it was too “cleverly constructed and generally just clever”, according to the message I recieved when the winners were announced.

So my question is this: Do you have to be a really brilliant writer in order to fake terribleness, or does something like this mean that you’re a good writer who just can’t do awful no matter how hard you try? Answers on a postcard…

I really did enjoy writing that fic though. I can’t remember if I have the manuscript saved on my laptop or not, but if I stumble across it I may just put it out here to show how beautifully dreadful it really was.

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About Missus Tribble

Media volunteer for Epilepsy Action (UK) and advocate for both epilepsy and autism awareness. Seamstress, cross-stitcher, sci-fi lover, ukulele player and Chelmsford's own Pickling Pagan who wants to inherit a TARDIS when she grows up. In the process of writing an as yet unnamed book, with anecdotes and information about being epileptic and autistic - and seeing the funny side! Also an entertainment journalist for What Culture, where I write about Doctor Who.
This entry was posted in Doctor Who, Fandom, Fanfiction, Humour, Red Dwarf, So Bad It's Funny, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to On Rotten Writing

  1. I think a good writer has trouble writing something really horrible, just like the fastest runner would have trouble losing the race on purpose. :)

  2. willowdot21 says:

    well obviously you are a brilliant writer and the judges spotted this . So bask in your glory you deserve it!!

  3. Congratulations on being too good a writer! Would you feel like sharing your entry with us? It sounds great.

    • I would love to – I just have to see if I remembered to save it to my hard drive!

      I had immense fun in writing it and enjoyed the positive feedback, even if I wasn’t rubbish enough to win :)

  4. littlesundog says:

    I would not be here if I didn’t find your writing terrific and interesting! You are informative, compassionate, and crazy hilarious. You are a clever writer… on many levels… no doubt about it, my friend!!

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