It’s easy to look at the books written by the Great Authors and get discouraged. How can you hope to compare with their perfectly crafted sentences, their vivid imagery, their full, fleshed out characters? Well, the Greats came up with some pretty rotten lines too. Check these out.
1) “…though he was wrapped in fire and wounded with many wounds; but at the last he was smitten to the ground by Gothmog…” -The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien. Maybe he was tired of describing the carnage. Maybe he thought he would edit that bit later, but never did. In any case, it lacks Tolkien’s usual finesse.
2) “…his large nostrils dilated; his eye blazed..” Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. She is describing Mr. Rochester having a heated argument with Jane, but this line always makes me picture a cranky horse. I also think it’s strange she chose to describe his nostrils as “large.” I’m sure I’ve never looked at a man and thought, “My, what large nostrils you have.” Perhaps the better to smell you with, my dear?
Consider this: Hemingway wrote one of his worst received books, Across the River and Into the Trees two years before the wildly popular The Old Man and the Sea. Lord of the Flies, Gone with the Wind, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone were all rejected multiple times. So write. Write to the best of your ability. You are going to produce some cringe-worthy lines ( I know I have) and that’s okay, as long as you keep writing, keep improving. Who knows? You may be the next Margaret Mitchell.