The Cliché Parade
Powerful, inspired writing is at the heart of any good fantasy novel. Characters can be a strong as you want, plot can be suspenseful, worldbuilding can be thorough, but if the author doesn't make the effort to write effective prose and realistic dialogue, the result will still be a trainwreck. Robert Newcomb stumbled rather badly in this regard when he wrote The Fifth Sorceress. Partially for my own amusement and partially as a list of what aspiring authors should avoid putting in their own works, I compiled this collection of his less-than-breathtaking literary pronouncements.
"He could feel that hate in their eyes bore its way into his brain."
"...young eyes that had already seen too much of the horrors of life."
"All he had ever wanted was to have a normal life."
"It was like walking into a dream."
"What he saw made his jaw drop."
"Her breath caught momentarily in her throat."
"The color immediately drained from his face."
"The need to lie to the prince sent a stabbing pain through Wigg's heart."
"The words seemed to hang in the air between them."
"Soon I will never again travel to kneel before anyone. They will travel to kneel before me."
"Frederick loved her more than life."
"He had never liked this woman."
"...as silent as a tomb."
"No sooner had she spoken than..."
"His sixth sense had been growing stronger by the day."
"The question struck the prince like a thunderbolt."
"The mere thought of those wizards made her heart beat with hate."
"Soon many shall pay for the sins of their ancestors."
"...his heart tearing in two."
"The silence could be deafening."
"The black depths seemed endless."
"...a dizzying array of colors."
"She paused, letting her words sink in."
"The gemstone seemed to shimmer as if it had a life of its own."
"The sound was like no other in the world."
"The desire for that burned fiercely in his being."
"...stared dumbly at it in disbelief." (That one kind of describes my reaction to the book.)
"She has a special way about her, especially when it comes to loving and understanding me."
"...his heart was breaking."
"He had never seen anything so beautiful in his life."
"He could feel his eyes begin to tear."
"It took his breath away."
"He sat their in abject disbelief of what he was hearing."
"He shall die slowly. Much more slowly than the others."
"The sea became as smooth as glass."
"Each of the faces was different, yet each was somehow the same."
"I can't believe this is happening. It's like a dream."
"Tristan did not know it, but his world was about the be changed forever."
"The sight that greeted his eyes turned his insides to ice water."
"But I kept you alive for a little longer, so that you might bear witness to what will be done her tonight."
"By the time I'm done with you, you will be past the point of caring anyway."
"He gnashed his teeth."
"I will kill them. On the name of everything I hold dear, I will kill them."
"Why? I'll tell you why."
"It was no use."
"You are handsome and strong, and I know in my heart that you will not hurt me."
"...as far as the eye could see."
"He screwed up his courage." (That's not the only thing he screwed up.)
"...nightmare of lost souls."
"The harder you look, the less you will see."
"A few lifetimes ago, it seemed now."
"...the unmistakable fragrances of long-awaited hopes and dreams."
"There will be no turning back for this one."
"The screams seemed to go on forever."
"The hunger to kill the ones who murdered his family burned hotly inside him."
"This was not a man to be trifled with."
"The room was embarrassingly silent."
"Are you mad?"
"You understand that if I do this thing, it may be the end of us all."
"...a surface as dark as death."
"We have shared much, old one, and we shall share even more before we die."
"He was thunderstruck."
"I don't trust them, and I never have."
"I don't trust them, and I never will." (That's my attitude towards Del Rey.)
"This was a place of death."
"Her mind called out to her from nowhere."
"It gave him an underlying feeling of dread."
"His blood froze in his veins."
"He stopped in his tracks."
"...like something from a bizarre nightmare." (I'm not going to bother commenting on this one.)
"He began running as fast as his little legs could carry him."
"I should kill you where you stand."
"The threat came out like venom."
"There is still a great deal that you do not know, and there is little, if any, time left in which to act."
"Tristan had suddenly had quite enough of this useless conversation." (He's not the only one.)
"I want some answers, and I want them now."
"He silently vowed to get his answers, or die trying."
"...stood there, seemingly frozen in time."
"If I could, I would kill you right now with my bare hands."
"A deathly pall came over the room."
"The room had become as silent as death."
"Tristan's heart sank." (Again, no comment.)
"The world as we know it will cease to exist."
"He slammed his fist down with all his strength."
"Sometimes it is more of a curse than a blessing."
"Each of us has his own scars."
"Tristan's hands curled around the arms of his chair until his knuckles were white."
"His eyes tore across the page."
"This line of reasoning was maddening."
"You must be very careful, or you may not reach the Recluse at all."
"The image floated mercilessly before his eyes."
"There is simply no end to the insanity."
"Silence reigned for a long moment."
"In a heartbeat, he was gone."
"It is the absense of goodness that allows evil to survive." (Newcomb's explanation for how he got published, perhaps?)
"Take only memories, leave only footprints."
"She paused for a moment, letting the magnitude of her words sink in."
"...his lungs about to explode."
"No good can come of this." (Once again, no comment.)
"Your eyes are kind."
"She is asking with her heart, but can I trust her?"
"We will be pulled there by an unseen force. I can feel myself being guided as we speak."
"What they had shared this night was to stay theirs, and theirs alone."
"It is only the good that holds beings together, and only the evil that tears them apart."
"It is now time for us to depart this world, and go on to another."
"There is fire in my blood."
"He will not be easily killed."
"When you find the one who most pleases your heart, plant your love and let it grow."
"He had promised on his life to come back to her, and he meant it."
"Her soft voice echoed in his heart."
"Tristan lay as still as death."
"Tristan stared in awe."
"He had never seen anything so beautiful and terrible at the same time."
"You're depriving a village somewhere of its idiot." (Must ... resist ... urge ...)
"I can see now that we have underestimated you."
"I should have killed you when I had the chance."
"These walls may have ears."
"Something in Tristan snapped."