The Grammar of My Younger Self is Making Me Cringe so Much

So, does anyone remember that post where I talked about the fact that I don’t get writer’s block, I’m just a huge writer procrastinator? Yes? No? Well, either way, I’m just going to tell you right now:

Forget that. All of it.

do currently have writer’s block. Recently I managed to start another chapter of the book I’ve posted two excerpts on here, and I’ve written a few things here and there, but it still feels like I’m in a writer’s block. I’m not really enjoying it much.

Long story short, the block led to me reading through some older story drafts to get some inspiration, and to give myself some form of entertainment.  The folder I took out held a lot of writing I’d been doing about two years ago or so. I got a few pages into one draft and had to put it down, because it was so horribly written (round of applause to my family for reading through entire finished books of that stuff).

It’s amazing to look back and see how much my writing has changed in two years alone. Most notably my grammar. I know that even now I will mess up with grammar, but the draft I read was worse. So, so much worse. To prove my point, I’m going to put an excerpt of that older work and then an excerpt of a newer work to compare.

First, we have 2015/2016 (I’m honestly not sure when exactly it was written but it was sometime around then) Rhapsody, with all misspellings present. This story is based around the idea that there’s a city up in the clouds that-well, it will become pretty self-explanatory as you read on.

 

Some people walk by things without giving them a second glance. Have you ever LOOKED at something, like REALLY looked? Because maybe-just maybe-if you look hard enough at the sky, you would catch a glimps of a land hidden from the Surface: Cloudtown.

Cloudtown is well hidden. It floats high in the sky, sorrounded by many puffy clouds. It floats around the world over and over. And the people of Cloudtown are responsible for the making of clouds, and why you see what you see in the sky.

Jaiyniss Carter ran towards Cloud Central in the center of Cloudtown. Jaiyniss (Ji-y-nis) had big blue/green eye’s and curly blond hair. She was not really aloud at Cloud Central, but it didn’t stop her from going there whenever she could. Her older sister, Opal, worked there. (Jaiyniss was 12, Opal was 19) Opal was in charge of Surface (Down on the ground) patrol, which meant she took care of things when someone from the Surface saw Cloudtown.

“Opal!” exclaimed Jaiyniss, bursting into Cloud Central. Many people groaned.

“Jaiyniss” said Opal with a sigh “We talked about this. You can’t bother me when I’m working” Jaiyniss smiled.

“But I LOVE watching you work. Oh, what does this do?” Jaiyniss pressed a big red button. Opal looked outside, and saw a newly formed cloud in the shape of a bottom. She sighed.

“Jaiyniss, can you PLEASE go?” Jaiyniss was about to respond, when many lights flashed red. Cloud Central was a very organized place with many departments: Surface patrol, cloud design, storm check etc. Cloud Central was a giant white room, with all the departments having their seprate parts.

“We have a Spotter!” shouted Opal to the Surface patrolers.

“Oh, oh, I call it!” shouted Jaiyniss, running to a long tube.

“Jaiyniss, don’t-” too late. Jaiyniss had jumped into the tube. She slid down as it led her to the Surface. Jaiyniss didn’t get to go to the Surface often, but she liked it there. It was so different!

“Okay” Jaiyniss mumbled to herself, excited “Where’s the Spotter?” Jaiyniss hadn’t paid much close attention to who the Spotter actually WAS. But she was pretty sure it was the kid standing a few feet away from her with his mouth open and staring up at the sky.

He looked about Jaiyniss’s age. He had tanned skin, amber eye’s and brown hair. He had a ball in his hand. Jaiyniss guessed he had been playing catch with someone, had went to retrieve the ball and seen Cloudtown.

Jaiyniss was about to go over and convince the Spotter that he was just seeing a normal cloud, when a hand clamped her shoulder. She looked around. Opal stood there, holding her back. She made a motion to two other agents of Surface patrol, who went foward towards the boy. Opal steered Jaiyniss over to a camoflauged tube.

“I’m sorry Opal” said Jaiyniss when they got back to Cloud Central.

“You’ve said” Opal told her “Countless times” Jaiyniss hung her head.

“I know” she said quietly “I just wanted to be like you guys” Opal sighed.

“Jaiyniss, your time will come when you can work at Cloud Central” said Opal. Some people muttered something about “That will be the day we’re all doomed”. “But you’re just too young”

“Yeah” Jaiyniss muttered sadly “Too young”

 

…The less said about what was going through my head at that point, the better. I still like the concept I had for that, however that excerpt alone could be seriously edited.

Now, for my comparison, here’s a surprise excerpt of Forevermore. I know this is out of order, but here is chapter two. This one sort of explains how General Gonosz and Ms. Stone meet.

 

The next morning, Gonosz figured he had a bit of time before he had to go interrogate the newest prisoner of the palace. So he slipped by Lake and Marty and went out into the village, cars and horse drawn carriages alike moving through the streets. He walked quickly and with purpose. Gonosz was going to take this assignment very seriously, despite his reservations.

People avoided the general left and right. Although, they would avoid anyone wearing the wooden mask, the brand of the empire. That also meant citizens wouldn’t attack him, so he appreciated it. He had no time for a fight.

Gonosz stopped directly in front of an old building, looking up and reading the sign: Stone Family Orphanage. From what he’d gathered, this was where Cowen had lived, ergo this was where he needed to be. Grumbling under his breath, the general knocked on the door harshly.

“Coming,” said a muffled voice from inside. He heard a lock slide, and the smiling face of the woman at the trial the previous day quickly switched into a frown. “General Gonosz. Err…What are you doing here, sir?”

“I’ve come to ask you a few questions about Cowen,” Gonosz replied.

Ms. Stone swallowed and had no choice but to let the general inside. The general walked in and looked around. There was the sound of children playing in the distance, and flames crackled cheerfully in the fireplace. Even though it was a poor building, it radiated warmth and kindness, which Gonosz instinctively recoiled from.

The woman began fiddling with her skirt nervously. “Erm. What would you like to know?”

“Any information you have on the child. Files, records.”

“Yes. Right. Follow me, sir.”       

Ms. Stone took him to a back room full of shelves. Shelves, shelves, and more shelves, all stacked with dusty piles of paper. The orphanage caretaker ran a trembling finger along one, muttering the names of each file under her breath, until she found what she was looking for. Ms. Stone picked it up and handed it to Gonosz.

It was a miserable excuse for a file. Only one page, with Cowen’s birth date, a poor quality black and white photograph, and things like his height and skin colour. In short, either info that was unimportant or info that anyone would be able to tell just by looking at him. The general looked up at Ms. Stone quizzically.

“We really don’t know anything about him, General. We don’t know about most children that show up here. His parents probably perished or couldn’t afford to take care of him! Cowen’s a good boy, sir, he wouldn’t do anything to hurt anyone, I have no idea what he was thinking…” All of this was said very fast and Ms. Stone had to stop and catch her breath.

“Are you finished?” Gonosz asked dryly. Ms. Stone nodded her head and the general put Cowen’s file back. “Is there anything else you can tell me about him?” Conveniently, Gonosz had both a pistol and a knife on him, so Ms. Stone didn’t hesitate to reply.

“He…He sometimes talked to himself at night in the past few months, sir. We never found out why. Cowen’s usually very kind to his fellow orphans and he’s friends with all of them. Everyone’s very fond of him, sir, but there’s not much else to say.”

“Hmm. Alright,” Gonosz muttered. “If you think of something else, come straight to the palace and tell someone, okay?”

Ms. Stone visibly relaxed. “Okay. Yes, General.”

You probably won’t, Gonosz decided as he left the orphanage. But it’s always easier to get information from the source, anyway.

 

Cowen was curled up against one wall of his cell. He’d cried all night, of course no one could hear him. Sure, the guards brought him meals, but the experience wasn’t pleasant. Wasn’t pleasant at all. Cowen couldn’t leave, though, not until he got what he came to the palace for.

The door to his cell opened, making Cowen jump. There was the general again. And of course he brought his weapons. Cowen watched him as he closed the door behind him and walked across the room, with Gonosz watching him back. He opened his mouth to say something when Cowen beat him to it.

“What’s your real name?”

Gonosz stared. “What?”

“What’s your real name?” Cowen asked again, curiously. “It’s not Gonosz. Your parents wouldn’t have named you Evil.”

“Now you just-” Gonosz froze, staring at him. “You understand Harvanian.”

Cowen nodded.

“It’s practically a dead language.”

Cowen shrugged. “What’s your name, then?”

“I don’t need to tell the likes of you,” Gonosz snapped. Cowen continued to watch him intently until a name suddenly sprung to his tongue unwillingly. “Taylor.”

That was a lie, alright. Even so, it still startled Gonosz when he said it. He hadn’t thought of the real Taylor for years. Why did the name come to his mind now? Gonosz was awoken to the fact that, like yesterday, Cowen was making him feel off. Something began to nag at him from the very back of his mind. As the general tried to place his finger on it, Cowen’s eyes flickered, then he smiled.

“Taylor.” Gonosz gave him a sharp look, and he added, “sir.” The general sighed and decided to get on with it.

“I’m going to guess that your family comes from Harvan, correct?”

Cowen made a vague movement that could have been a nod. Then again, it could have been him drifting off to sleep for a second because the stone bed didn’t give him much of a chance to catch the stuff. Gonosz still figured it was a nod, though. The trademark green Harvanian eyes should have given it away.

“But you don’t know anything about your ancestry?” he pushed, eyeing the child.

“Not much, Taylor, sir. Mr. Lil always said that I looked like someone from his home kingdom. He taught me some Harvanian, and his wife always gave me and the other orphans baked cookies.”

“Mr. Lil?” Gonosz immediately planned on tracking down the man, whoever he was, because perhaps he could be of more help than the Stone lady. Cowen looked down sadly.

“He was eighty six, Taylor, sir. He died of a heart attack a few months ago,” he mumbled.

“Oh,” said Gonosz. Cowen looked back up at him, and Gonosz wondered whether he was expecting some sort of comfort or he was shocked by his lack of emotion. Either option seemed ridiculous. Obviously he wasn’t going to comfort him on this, and heart attacks happened all the time. Mr. Lil was old, and no one in the kingdoms were medically advanced, so his death was bound to come up. What was he supposed to say?

Probably not this: “The emperors and empresses have you here because they still think you’re in league with the rebellion. I don’t think that’s true. The rebels wouldn’t send in a child, but that doesn’t help me narrow down why you would sneak into the palace on your own at night. The only explanation I can think of is that you’re an idiot.”

Gonosz knew he wasn’t an idiot. He had displayed several times that he knew when to keep quiet, and he never attempted to lie when answering anything, he only chose to reveal small pieces of the truth. Small enough pieces that they didn’t aid Gonosz at all, which was extremely annoying.

The little boy stared up at him, even now giving nothing away. Gonosz clenched and unclenched his fists threateningly.

“So why,” he breathed. “Why on earth. Would you. Come here.”

“I was looking for something, Taylor, sir,” Cowen said.

“What?”

“Something important, Taylor, sir.”

“Like what?”

“I can’t tell you, Tay-”

“All right, look, if you’re going to call me anything you will call me General,” said Gonosz.

Cowen sighed. “General.”

“Good. Now tell me what you were searching for, and the rulers will set you free.”

“No they won’t.”

“Oh, yes they will.” Gonosz barked a laugh. “Feeding so many prisoners wastes precious resources. Believe me, they’ll be only too happy to get rid of you and send you along back to the orphanage.”

“Won’t they want to kill me?” Cowen asked, cocking his head to one side.

Gonosz frowned. He answered tactfully. “Probably not. They won’t think it’s worth it, of course that depends on what you came here to steal.”

“I wasn’t going to steal anything!” Cowen denied, taking his turn to frown. Gonosz blinked.

“Then what was the point of coming here to just look for something and risk your life in the process if you weren’t going to steal it?”

“I told you,” Cowen mumbled, slumping against the wall. “It was something important.”

Gonosz weighed his options. He’d found a few things out, and it was only the first day, plus he still had other things to do. The general didn’t think he was going to get much further with Cowen, so he turned around to leave.

“Búcsú, General,” Cowen called after him. Gonosz paused in the doorway.

“Farewell to you too,” he muttered sarcastically, before closing the cell with a clang.

 

And there you have it. Turns out, writing can change a lot over the course of even a couple of years. I’m sure mine will continue to change. All it takes is practice. That, and perhaps a dictionary to help with spelling.

 

2 thoughts on “The Grammar of My Younger Self is Making Me Cringe so Much”

    1. Think less of a what and more of a who (*winkedy wink wink wink*). Not much I can give away without any spoilers.

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