Saturday, January 07, 2017


I'm at the office, continuing to work on our grammar-vocab textbooks. I'm working on a section that gets students to think about inconsistencies in prose: sentence structure, style/tone, and verb tense. To that end, I wanted to write a paragraph that the students would have to analyze, the goal being to have the students identify the inconsistencies they find. (Not to worry: there will be other exercises devoted to having students actually correct these problems on their own.)

I wrote a paragraph that I found amusing, but upon rereading and reconsideration, I decided to delete it and start over. The paragraph contained wild inconsistencies in style and tone, and I could have laced it with verb-tense errors, etc., to provide students with a target-rich environment. In the end, though, I decided that the paragraph's inconsistencies weren't actually problematic because they worked to comic effect.

Here's what I wrote (and then deleted):

Clark hated fishing, but his friend Simon loved to fish. One day, Simon knocked on Clark’s front door. The moment he saw Clark, Simon asked excitedly, “Hey—wanna go fishing?” Clark sighed, looked down at his feet, and finally said yes. Clark and Simon got into Simon’s truck and drove to the local lake. Simon’s boat was already there, so they carried the fishing equipment from the truck to the boat, then rowed out into the middle of the lake. Clark noticed how beautiful and quiet the scenery was and thought, You know…this isn’t so bad. At that very moment, the terrible underworld god Agoroth rose from the lake’s eldritch, obsidian depths, flailing its muscular tentacles, opening its horrifically fanged maw, and swallowing the two terrified friends whole, carrying them—screaming piteously—down into the infernal abyss that burned within the evil god’s very being.

So, yeah... that almost went into my company's textbook.

ADDENDUM: it appears that the name "Agoroth" is already taken: Agoroth is a "boss monster" in some video game. If you're an old fuddy-duddy who doesn't know what a video-game "boss" is (the term has been around since at least the 1980s): it's the the beast that your video-game character must face at the end of any given level. You must defeat the boss before you can advance to the next level. The old Nintendo game Contra (and its sequels) had a hilariously bloated, HR Giger-ish boss. In this case, I think you were supposed to fight the boss's head first, then you had to fight its ass or its guts or something. The boss was constantly spewing these nasty little offspring, somewhat like how the monster in "Cloverfield" kept dropping little critters (offspring? parasites?) off its body.

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