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By Johannes Helmold

Woman shrugging
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bad writing examplesToday I decided to make an unusual post. I’m usually acting so smart, giving advice—do this, write like that—but have never shown my own work.

To fix this historical injustice, I am posting a fragment from the very first short story ever written by me (okay, the oldest short story that I could find in my archives). I was around 16 years old when I wrote it, and I remember how proud I felt when I finished it. I thought it was perfect, a literary masterpiece at least. Its title was “Transamerican Wanderer.” Now… well, make your own opinion:

“…He was sitting in a cafe close to a highway, listening to some old rock-n-roll band by headphones from a portable CD player, and reading a novel by some unknown Japanese writer. His black clothes looked threadbare, as if it was exposed to the sun, winds, and rains for years; a cigarette in his hand was his proven friend throughout all of his journeys.

A pretty waitress approached his table and asked him if he would like more coffee, but he only shook his head and continued gazing in his book. The waitress pursed her lips, probably offended by such an ignorant attitude, and left. She could not have known that she reminded him of a woman he used to know a long time ago, when he lived a regular life and was still capable of dreaming about happiness…

He sighed and lit another cigarette, pretending to keep reading. How long ago did it happen? Three years? Four? He could not remember. All that remained in his memory was the pain of loss, when she left him for the sake of some older rich moron. So what if he had a lot of money? So what if he could take her to Maldives anytime she wanted? That rich old man could never give her what he could: a sensation of prairie wind on her face, when they would ride his bike straight into the setting sun…”


To give you a perspective, the whole story is like this. A piece of cheesy writing where nothing happens, full of cliches and trivial moments. I keep my old short stories for memory, but frankly, I am glad that only a few people read them.

Do you have any bad writing examples to share? Post them in the comments: it can be fun to share them!

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