Last week, I took a break from the usual daily grind and minutiae of everyday life to take three teen girls to Chicago for a college visit. The trip went well, my daughter and her two friends had a great time (I did, too!), and we were impressed with DePaul University.
But one thing that will probably stand out in my mind most of all was the drive there and back.
It’s a 5-6 hour drive, depending on traffic and road construction. Add a 3G-enabled tablet and YouTube, and things get interesting.
For the first hour or so of the drive there, they surfed the web looking at fashion (more on this Thursday!). Then my daughter and her friend with the tablet discovered that their other friend (and I) and never heard of The Worst. Fanfic. Ever: My Immortal. So they needed to enlighten us. Now this is probably old news to many, but I hadn’t heard of it before, so for those who also haven’t, here it is:
My Immortal is (loosely-based) Harry Potter fan fiction, and was originally posted on fanfiction.net in 2006. (It was later removed, and that’s a whole story in itself.) It is an example of everything we’re taught not to do as writers, whether of fanfic or fiction featuring our own, original characters and worlds. It is so badly written that many have theorized that it’s not a real attempt at honest-to-goodness fanfic, but an intentional effort to write the Worst. Fanfic. Ever., much in the vein of Atlanta Nights. Normally I would only discuss a book I don’t like in a “what can I learn from this” spirit, and do my best not to identify the book or author. But after having experienced My Immortal, I’m going with the Tara-is-a-troll theory.
We listened to the series of YouTube videos, narrated by an English guy. The best part was, he pronounced the misspellings phonetically, so we got to enjoy those, too. And boy, were there a lot of them – starting with the main character’s name.
This obvious Mary Sue character was a seventeen-year-old girl named Ebony Dark’ness (sic) Dementia Raven Way – or sometimes, “Enoby.” Her main love interest was Draco Malfoy (or Darko), whom she’s excited to spot her first day at Hogwarts (and that pretty much sums up the first chapter). Some of the other characters keep their original names (or misspellings thereof) – Dumbledore is sometimes Dumblydore, Dumldeor, or Dumbledork; Professor McGonnagal is McGoggle, and Snape is sometimes Snope, Snoop, Snake, or Snap. Other characters have completely new names: Harry is “Vampire,” Ron Weasley is “Diabolo,” and Hermione is “B’loody (sic) Mary,” and they are all gothic, satanic vampires.
Most of the story’s “plot” – and I use the term loosely – consists of Enoby “doing it” with Drako, Vampyr, Snap, or Voldemort; going to see concerts by Good Charlotte or My Chemical Romance; and drawn-out descriptions of her “goffik” outfit (all of which were purchased at Hot Topic). There are frequent author intrusions (e.g., “if u dnot get this, then u r a prep!”), and each chapter begins with a hilarious “Author’s Note” that is usually something on the lines of “STOP FLAMMIN DA STORY” (sic) and threats not to post any more installments until a number of good reviews are received.
There’s effusive use of adverbs – people are always doing something “goffically” or “sexily,” and the only description is of characters’ eyes (usually a “goffik red”) and extensive descriptions of Enoby’s outfits (black leather miniskirt, ripped red fishnets, and “corset stuff”). There’s time travel, with a cameo appearance by “Morty McFli” of Back to the Future in his “tim machine” (sic) that’s painted “blak” so as to be suitably gothic. There are anachronisms, like bands playing in the 80’s that didn’t exist until a decade or more later. There are logistical impossibilities, like Enoby stepping out of Drako’s flying Mercedes while it’s flying and walking away, or when two characters “talked to each other in silence.” While listening (I was driving part of the way, so I didn’t see the videos), I noticed there were many mentions of “one hundred and eleven” and sometimes, “eleven thousand, one hundred and eleven.” The kids explained that this was actually supposed to be exclamation points – many of them – that were typed without the shift key.
And… oh, the malapropisms! Here are a few of my favorites:
- “Dumbledore had constipated the cideo camera they took of me naked.”
- “Snap was spying on me and he was taking a video tape of me! And Loopin was masticating to it!”
- “I had to do somefing more impotent”
- Many times, the main character wants to “silt” her wrists
- “Snap” frequently “laughed statistically”
- She also mentions the time she “lost my virility”
- One chapter starts with a warning in the author’s note: “Viower Excretion Advisd.”
Of course, there are also characters acting out of character, random insertion of other characters, characters appearing out of nowhere, clothes that were taken off (or rather, “of”) and never put back on, only to be taken “of” again in the next chapter, and general writing that looks more like text-message spelling than anything recognizable.
And then there are the sexytimes. I can’t type it, I’d be laughing so hard, so I’ll just leave it to you to read from the beginning, if you dare — or, in My Immortal style, “ef u dar.” Or, watch and listen to the same readings we did on YouTube. The commentary alone is worth it!
So what do you think? Could something this bad have possibly have been written unintentionally? Did you dare to read any of it – and if so, how long did it take you to stop laughing?