Fully recovered from asphyxiation after laughing your asses off at the opening ceremonies? Great. Now we can get on to the more serious business of the Olympics: the events. Because I’m still pissed that softball and baseball were eliminated after Beijing, I’ve decided to start my own Olympic-style competition. This is for a group of athletes who have been training hard, putting in the time, the effort, the blood, sweat, and tears, and are deserving of some well-earned recognition. They’ve broken land-speed records in coffee brewing and set new endurance milestones for keeping one’s rump in one’s chair. This is for…the writers.
So the next time you tell someone you wrote a book or a new blog post and he says, “Whaddya want, a medal?” you can proudly show him yours. Or kill him off in your next novel, but that choice is up to you. Here is merely a sample of our proposed new Olympic events.
The Hundred-Yard Dash: Writers perform a standard “word sprint,” but afterward are scored on proper use of punctuation. Extra points for correct semicolon placement.
Fencing: Make your characters face off in several elimination heats of thrusts and parries as they duel with dialogue. Extra points if the thrusts and parries lead to an actual duel between competing writers. Then, standard Olympic rules apply, but competitors don’t have to wear those silly white uniforms.
Hurdles: Toss a few in front of your protagonist and see she clears the distance or falls on her face. Second chances are encouraged. If she gives up, the writer must kill her off or start over with a new character.
Mental Gymnastics: You get thirty seconds. Explain to a traffic cop that you missed the stop sign because your protagonist just revealed the secrets in her sordid past, which cracked your novel wide open and probably will require it to be a trilogy, at least. Revealing little costumes not required, unless you think it will help your case.
Convoluted Plot Twists: Strength. Poise. Flexibility. All are needed for this grueling yet beautiful event, which beats jumping about with a giant beach ball or a ribbon on a stick.
Head Hopping: Marvel at the skill in which writers leap from POV to POV without losing the readers’ attention or the plot. Points off for confusing the characters’ names, sexual preferences, or modes of transportation.
Weightlifting: Is your prose muscular? Have you pared off all those excess adverbs and adjectives? Show it off! This is word economy at its finest, and no baby oil required. Unless you like that sort of thing.
Endurance Editing: Draft after draft of the same story…changing three words only to change them back again in the next pass…finding seventeen other ways to say “and,” just,” or “that.” How long can they do it without cracking under the monotony and the strain?
Ha. Who says writing isn’t an athletic event? As long as caffeine is not on the banned substances list, we can take on the world!
Laurie Boris is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and former graphic designer. She is the author of two novels, The Joke’s on Me and Drawing Breath. When not playing with the universe of imaginary people in her head, she enjoys baseball, cooking, reading, and helping aspiring novelists as a contributing writer and editor for IndiesUnlimited.com. She wishes chess were an Olympic sport.