Thoughtful Thursday: The Game of Groans 2015

It’s time for our second annual GAME OF GROANS contest! This is Fantasy Literature‘s version of the Bad Hemingway, Faux Faulkner, and Bulwer-Lytton fiction contests.

Your task is to write an atrocious example of original fantasy fiction. Something that really makes us groan! It could be several paragraphs long, or only a couple of sentences.

To inspire you, we offer the winning entry from last year’s GAME OF GROANS contest. This little gem was written by E.J. Jones:mummy

The Sleeper: A Retelling of “Sleeping Beauty”


Her beauty was paralyzing, he thought, his own immobility only exceeded by her deathlike slumber on her bed of angel-wing feathers. He admired every inch, shuddering with joy as he proceeded: her cascade of golden-sunlight locks, her cobalt-blue eyes (these, of course, were shut, but they were open and wakeful in his memory), her flawless peach skin that was marred only by the streaks of ebony lashes upon her nobly high cheekbones, her… lips.


He had never actually kissed a girl before (save his good mother and sisters), but he would have thrust a dagger through his own breast rather than leave the princess when he had the faintest hope of saving her from a century’s nightmares and, possibly, horrific sleep apnea. With another shudder, this one of anticipation, he pressed his own, rather inferior lips against hers –


A deep, rumbling voice emanated from her willowy throat. “Villain, unhand me! I am not the fair princess that you believe me to be, but her true love and favorite ninepins partner, in that order! Just as the curse took hold, I took her place upon her bed in order to protect her from foul knaves such as yourself from laying their meaty paws upon her!”


“Fear not,” breathed the prince in a surprisingly high, melodic voice. “For I am the very same princess you protected so well! Your love has set me free from my curse!”


The two embraced.


“Shall we play once more at ninepins, my love?” he murmured into her hair.


“Let us go at once! But,” she added, wagging her slender finger at him, “we must take care to avoid… THE DREADED SLEEPER!”

Can you top that? The reader who writes the worst paragraph will choose a book from our stacks.

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BILL CAPOSSERE, who's been with us since June 2007, lives in Rochester NY, where he is an English adjunct by day and a writer by night. His essays and stories have appeared in Colorado Review, Rosebud, Alaska Quarterly, and other literary journals, along with a few anthologies, and been recognized in the "Notable Essays" section of Best American Essays. His children's work has appeared in several magazines, while his plays have been given stage readings at GEVA Theatre and Bristol Valley Playhouse. When he's not writing, reading, reviewing, or teaching, he can usually be found with his wife and son on the frisbee golf course or the ultimate frisbee field.

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  1. April /

    There is absolutely no way I could do any better than the masterpiece above. I’ll try though.

  2. Me either. Maybe April and I can write every other line. That ought to be interesting at least!

  3. Izzy A. /

    The land was dark and foggy, but that was risebells’ favorite style of places. The sound of howling, the sense of unknown lurking within the fog or hiding in the shadows, was like home to him.

    “No one would dare look for me here” he giggled. “Why wonder in a place like this looking for a single soul. In this place, danger lurks in every corner. One would probably fall into harm before finding me” he chuckled “or be wise and leave this place as quickly as possible before risking the danger. Just the sight of this land is enough to place a great amount of fear into a man..”
    “But I am no man” a whisper came behind him.

    Risebell turned his head slowly and found leena standing there. Looking as haunting as she has ever looked.

    “Did you really think I would be too frightened to look for you here, risebell? Knowing your favorite place to hide is a place you think everyone would be too scared to look.” She said with an obvious smirk.
    “I guess I was too predictable” Risebell said with disappointment.
    “Well, time is up. I’ve caught you, you know what that means”
    “Please leena, give me another chance.” Begged risebell, “I bet that you won’t find me again and if you do I promise to submit to the law.”
    “Promises won’t do risebell, it’s over and I’ve caught you. The law is the law and must be obeyed otherwise there is no point of it.”
    “Please don’t do this leena! One more chance!”
    “Enough!” shouted leena, “It’s my turn to have some fun.”

    Risebell looked at her with a look of wanting to escape. He wished he had not been caught. He would have used his spell to vanish from the land quickly and escape to another city. But that was too late now. For according to the laws of the game spirits and hunters, which was another version of hide and seek, it was his turn to be the hunter and find leena.

  4. Ben /

    The golden life-giving orb shone down upon the desert, shooting its brutally hot rays of scorching sunshine into the desiccated earth below, actually robbing this barren land of life in a change from its usual approach.

    Barbadian the Barbarian strode across the cracked and crumbling sandy dust, his massive footsteps thundering and shaking the ground beneath his feet. If there was water anywhere to be found in this dry and parched sandy land of dust, ripples would have been rippling outward in time with the beats of his steps. But in the absence of water, the only thing that rippled was the crowd of men ahead of him as their conversation hushed and their heads turned in silenced awe at the giant of a man who approached them now.

    A very ugly man strode out from the crowd, the only one either brave or foolish enough or maybe both to dare challenge the giant barbarian, though a third, previously unimagined motivation was also possible. His disfigured countenance was the type of visage that could only belong to a sinister soul beneath its twisted flesh. An eye patch covered one eye and his nose was lumped and misshapen and just generally he was rather unpleasant to look upon.

    “Halt right there, barbarian, or prepare to meet your doom,” the ugly man spat. He spat on the ground too. “Your final doom!” he then intoned.

    The crystal blue spheres beneath the barbarian’s brow flashed straight into the ugly man’s soul, and the ugly man’s bravado faltered beneath the withering gaze of those icy cerulean spherical depths.

    “I seek the Princess Jablonica. Stand aside and none here shall feel the wrath of my blade today. But dare to challenge me and the dusty earth of this sandy place will drink its fill of blood,” Barbadian intoned back. He cast his deadly chalybeous stare around the crowd for emphasis. “Your blood.”

    But stand aside they did not. Indeed, the ugly man charged straight at the barbarian, howling a wordless cry of rage and whirling his sword over his head like the famous sketches of a whirling flying machine that many had seen but could scarcely envision its eventual construction at this time.

    Barbadian held his ground and swung the fist dangling from the end of his arm in a powerful arc and slammed his meaty paw straight into the misshapen nose of the ugly charging man, throttling his neck backwards and severing the delicate threads of his spinal cord with a single mighty blow. And then it was Barbadian’s turn to whirl, and whirl he did, into a spinning, roaring cloud of masculine death. He spun through the crowd of swarthy bandits who had kidnapped his beloved princess, and battered men with the fleshy clubs of annihilation that in more peaceful times served as mere hands.

    When the barbarian man ceased his bloody massacre, bodies lay strewn across the desert floor, leaking the red fluid that gives life to us all into the dusty sand. Barbadian gasped as the steely blue cobalt of his scrutiny fell upon the lifeless body of his beloved Princess Jablonica, her own red fluid of life pooling into the sand instead of circulating throughout her body. In the killing fire of his battle rage he must have accidentally crushed the life from her frail form. He would mourn the fair princess’s passing.

    “Fair princess,” Barbadian wailed stoically. “In the killing fire of my battle rage I must have accidentally crushed the life from your fail form. I shall mourn thy passing.”

    And mourn he did. But his journey was long and there would be other princesses.

  5. We have two winners.

    Ben, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address.

    Izzy, I will select a book for you.If you live in the US,
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address.

    Happy reading to both our winners.

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