Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Celebration by Breaking the Rules

These were crazy and so very funny. I think my brain is fried from reading so much achingly long and cleverly detailed descriptions done so quickly, slowly, and painfully. But for sheer number of adjectives and adverbs I have to go with @Glowolf143. @Glowolf143, you went above and beyond!  Congrats!

In honor of going over half a million pageviews, I wanted to do something fun! I can't believe It's In the Details went from some place no one visited, to a site where people return for more, all in just two years.

I love filling my blog with helpful content, and I love when writers comment how much the posts have helped them. Thank you for making It's In the Details a successful haven for writers!

To celebrate, I'm giving away a query critique or a paperback copy of KINDAR'S CURE (your choice) and asking you to break the rules to win it.

Post a short bit of flash fiction in the comments of this post. I want you to write a paragraph of the dreaded and forbidden scene--MC looking in a mirror and describing themselves! That's right! You can let your freak flag fly and do what must normally be avoided.

And to break the rules further, I want you to load it with adjectives and adverbs. Let the 'ly words fly! Always, always we're told to avoid these. Great advice under normal circumstances when you're trying to get published. But WHERE'S THE FUN IN NORMAL?

Go past normal and ooze the unthinkable, quickly, beautifully and poetically. Go honestly, inventively crazy. 

So that's a short paragraph of your main character looking in a mirror and describing themselves with lots of adjectives and adverbs. I will pick my favorite for the win.

Contest will stay open until we get at least ten entries, which will hopefully be by May 4th (cause that's when it's ending.) Please leave your twitter handle or email address so I can contact the winner.

Good luck. Have fun. And please help me spread the word. The more who enter, the more silly this will get, I think.     


  1. Strangely, that's harder than I thought it'd be and I didn't get enough lys in there, but here you go, (also we should do one of these but for query letters or pitches and call it IN A WORLD).

    I woke with a start from another dreadful dream with feelings of dread. The mirror on the opposite side of my perfectly painted room reflected back my sky-blue eyes. The gold rims around the dark pupil winked back flirtily, as if my eyes knew more than I did. Even with my tossing and turning, my long, blonde hair hung perfectly in waves, as if I had already brushed it. My gorgeous hair was always like that, the envy of everyone I knew. My cherry red lips looked like they were the product of a fashion magazine, but that was their natural color, much to the envy of all my friends. But my friends didn’t understand how horrible my dreams were at night. How could that person in the mirror do the things I did in my dreams?

  2. Congrats!!! Half a million viewers is so awesome! I hope one day, I can be that amazing. It really is hard not to use adjectives and adverbs. It's like it's programmed in our brain or something. My very first story opened with my MC just waking up and looking in the mirror and peppered with adjectives and adverbs. I know, I know. But I was just starting out and I ended up cutting the scene before I just shelved the whole story later on and hadn't looked at it since. Until now:

    “I look like the Grim Reaper… on crack.” I tiredly lifted a hand to the dark circles under my eyes. A few attempts at rubbing them away proved useless. They always taunted me, a permanent reminder of what was stalking me day in and day out. Combined with my pasty –border-lining ghostly –complexion, I probably resembled something between a panda and a raccoon’s love child. Thankfully, the lack of sleep would catch up to me, allowing me to succumb to blissful oblivion for an hour or two. But then the night terrors would pay me a visit, once again depriving me of any relief I had desperately managed to scrape up and then I was a walking zombie all over again. Today was supposed to have been one of those nights, had it not been for the two freaking idiots loudly going at it downstairs. Lisa and Frank were the two individuals I shared this place with, though some people (not I) would use the term parents. And when they argued -which was about as much as I breathed -well, let’s just say that not even Rip Van Winkle could sleep through that.

    The second my alarm rang loudly, was also the second I knew that today was about to be the best day in all the history of days. I pushed my mousy brown hair out of my eyes, still hazily coated in the corners with sleepy eye gunk.
    "Time to wake up, Aerys," my mom yelled loudly through my brown, wood door. "Today's the big day!"
    "I'm already up, Mom." I called back rudely.
    I jumped out of bed and walked over to my mirror. The mirror I gladly bought two years ago for a dollar at a garage sale down the street. It was a pretty good sale. Anyways, I looked into the mirror and things were suddenly just the way I had always hoped and longed for. My mousy brown hair was all of sudden looking so glossily attractive.
    "Being sixteen years old is going to be so fun!" I whispered, excitedly. And then out of nowhere jumped a creepily dressed rat.
    "It sure is!" The boisterous but squeakily sounding voice came from the brown, trench coat wearing rat. I started to scream but clasped my hand wildly over my mouth. I'd never seen a rat before. Let alone a talking one. I did have a pet hamster named Jeremy Piven when I was in fifth grade but he ran away. I was incredibly sad but that's probably not relevant.
    I started stammering rapidly. "Where did you...who are...---what is going on? Do I know you? Why are--"
    "Chillax, Aerys," he said calmly. "It's me, Jeremy Piven. I'm back and dressed as a rat for your sixteenth birthday. Surprise!" He winked wickedly.
    I looked back in my cool mirror and smiled widely. "Surprise indeed! I knew this birthday was going to rock awesomely!"
    Jeremy the rat costume wearing hamster jumped bouncily onto my shoulder and squeaked with glee. "Let's get this party started. First thing you need is a makeover!"
    "What a fantastic idea," I agreed with a glimmer of hope in my eyes. And then I happily gave a thumbs up to Jeremy and winked at my excited reflection.

  4. She said this make-over would transform me. I didn't believe her. It couldn't. I slowly walked up to the sparky mirror and eagerly looked at my reflection in it. My bright red lips parted in awe as I looked at my curly dark brown hair that fell past my shaking shoulders in curls. The curled strands made my hair shorter but it was still very long. Slowly, I realized that my perfectly pale complexion and my black painted eyes really had changed me. For many years, I so thought that I needed my gruellingly painful training to defeat my enemy, but no it was this transformation right here. Excitedly, I pushed back my shoulders and tightly gripped onto my new sound belief that I was ready to defeat the bad man that was my enemy, and that for no apparent reason was always tiring to ruin my life. Armed with red lips and black eyes, I was now the new me. The new me that would save the world. Twitter: At joce underscore elizabethh

  5. I used to wake up to an alarm or usually when the Sandman decided he simply no longer wanted to visit me. I also used to have perky boobs, firm skin, beautifully shiny hair and flat abs. Three kids later and all that crap, including my sleep, has diminished. Now I'm woken by the sound of my baby crying loudly from the other room. I sluggishly walk my saggy self to the sink and splash cold water on my wrinkly face. When I look in the mirror that's when I notice it. My lovely brown hair now contains an obnoxiously long and brightly colored silver strand just above my brow.
    "What the hell?" I say. I'm only thirty-five. I've accepted the fact that my perfectly toned abs will forever be wiggly and marked with what annoyingly perfect moms proudly proclaim to be "miracle marks". But gray hair? It isn't a mark of beauty. It's a symbol of stress and a permanent reminder that my three amazingly wonderful children have stolen my youth. I angrily yank the strand from my hair, walk away from the judging glare of the mirror, and quickly go greet my three joyfully, innocent, giggly little ones.

  6. Sorry! BrandyM. email address is Twitter: @MeinhardtBrandy

  7. Congrats on your HALF A MILLION, Michelle! Thanks so much for everything you do for the writing community. Oh, and you said to let the freak flag fly, right?
    – @LauraRueckert

    It had been two days since Sidious had woken me so harshly, forcing me to accept the evilness in my being. Now, I finally steeled my metal-strengthened spine enough to sweep my cape out of the way and sit wretchedly on the bench in front of my dressing room's perfectly polished mirror. As I pivoted my head slowly back and forth, the bright white ceiling lights reflected luminously off my new, shiny helmet. The nearly round eye covers bulged black, staring emptily at me, as if I weren't in here at all. The vertical lines of my speech synthesizer stood like long, barred, angry teeth. The armor that covered my burned cheeks was sunken and skull-like. Only two points of non-black existed—one silver rivet at either side of my jaw. In the glaring light, they shined like Padme's teary eyes the last time I'd seen her. What would she think of me now? A monster? A monster.

  8. Woo-hoo on reaching this monumental achievement! For you I shall use the phrase “milky orbs” and vow to take writing this description VERY SERIOUSLY and add some philosophical rhetoricalness in the end for the heck of it. (Because I'm currently locked out of Candy Crush unless I pay) Hang on to your hat, it’s time to get LITERARY.

    Her eyes were startling, a pair of milky orbs on a mask of blood and clay. It was a stranger looking back at her. She--It--looked like an animal with its hair matted into brown clumps that touched its shoulders and black cuts that zigzagged across its face. Instinctively she brought her hand to her own hair, the creature mimicked the movement. And so it was, but what, she wasn’t sure—was she the animal or the animal she? She couldn’t remember the last time she had looked in a mirror, or had a shower--a meal!--for that matter. She watched as its fingers traced across its lips but it was her that felt the cracked, dried skin. She had been gone a week, maybe. She wasn’t certain. Though, however much, it was both too little and too great.

  9. Rosa stared at herself in the gilt-framed mirror while an attendant brushed out her hair and frowned silently at the bi-colored locks. The ends were brown and ragged, the last remnant of Rosa's catastrophically unsuccessful attempt at disguise; the rest, blond, but not the sun-bleached shade she was accustomed to. Her skin, too, showed the signs of her long imprisonment--pale and colorless. A second attendant saw to that with a palette of powders and creams, skillfully hiding the T-shaped scar Wickowski had drawn on Rosa's cheek. She traced that with her left hand, and the glint of Caleb's ring caught her eye--the price of her freedom--while a tailor hurriedly adjusted her dress. She'd always been slim, but the woman who peered back at Rosa with haunted blue eyes nearly disappeared among the shimmering white satin and pearl-dotted lace.

    A flash of silver; the hairdresser held a knife in one hand. Instantly, Rosa grabbed the woman's wrist and twisted, throwing the would-be assassin to the ground. Only when she had the shrieking woman pinned with her weapon pressed against her own throat did Rosa realize it was no knife at all, but a pair of scissors. The door burst open upon that scene; Caleb in his white suit, come to check on her. Rosa dropped the scissors, but it was too late. The disapproval in his eyes stung worse than any rebuke would have.



  10. I gaze into my clearly reflected mirror image in the elegantly carved faux shabby chic faux mid century modern gilded framed mirror in my personal ensuite bathroom. I love how crackle-shiny my mirror frame is. It totally sets off the perfectly placed golden flecks in my grassy green, goddesses-wish-they-had-these eye. And the way the artfully designed octagonal window lets in the brightly magnified and filtered rays of yellowy bronze, sunbeams sets off my natural red, slightly wavy, but not quite curly hair. I just wish I hadn’t clutzily sauntered into that hook at tango class last night. The brightly reflected rainbowy bruise on my artfully sculpted naturally high left cheekbone is blue, purple, green, yellow, brown, and black. It’s really messing up my perfect, not too much, not too little, just right dusting, definitely not a sprinkling of medium warm sienna freckled. such a totally huge bummer for what would’ve been the most epically perfect, fantastically fabulous, awesomely outstandingly terrific picture day.


    Thanks Michelle, this was wicked terrible fun!
    Twitter: @Glowolf143

  11. I am all decked out in my new ruby red dress, a swirly satiny fabulous dress! And my hair, my lovely and superbly soft and shiny hair is breathtaking! Ooooh, the sparkles adorning my dress! I can’t help but stare at them! I curtsy in front of my mirror, and I know I look fabulous! I’m awe-inspiring! And enchanting! I am! I really am! I spin, and my exquisite, blissfully magnificent dress poofed! It poofed! I spin and I spin, and the red sparkles and dazzles like rainbows and stars, because I’m magical! I’m brilliant! I look in the mirror when I’m done my spinning, because I am absolutely and utterlyremarkably amazing – hey look! There are three of me!


  12. I raced through the woods with the trees clawing and scratching at me. I was terrified of the monster behind me. I could hear its slobbering breath as it hunted me. A root stuck up out of the ground. My foot caught on the root. And no! I was falling! I screamed and my voice sounded like music as it sang through the treetops. I landed in a graceful sprawl on a mirror. The monster was gone. The own reflection stared back at me. My ebony hair rippled in disheveled waves that splashed to my waist like an obsidian river sparkling and dripping with deep blue highlights. My emerald eyes were wide with shock and terror, showing off the glimmering golden flecks that hid among the screaming-green of my irises. My fire-engine red lips were parted in a mou of surprise, my normally alabaster skin flushed with strawberry pink roses blooming in my cheeks. My frothy white nightgown was torn, revealing the creamy white globes of my heaving breasts. I sat up slowly, my eyes still locked on my own reflection. But I was no longer looking at the ordinary girl in the mirror, the average girl I saw every day, the boring girl who had no friends or self-confidence. Instead, I was looking at a reflection of the boy standing behind me. The most beautiful boy I had ever seen. He smirked at me and my heart was lost to him forever.

  13. Oops. Somehow I left off the note in the beginning and at the end. I meant to say that this was a really fun contest! I love stuff like this. It always makes me giggle to get to break all the rules. I want to write a whole book in this style! haha

    Also, I'm @tamaradwalsh

    Thanks for the laugh!

  14. Congrats! What an accomplishment!

  15. This is so awesome, I love it.

    With a deep sigh I sit on the bed and let my fingers run slowly over my face. Eventually, they stop at my chin and my gaze rises to stare at the dirty, warped, cracked mirror in front of me. The face that looks back at me isn't one i recognize. It's balmly, with a layer of glistening sweat on it from the sticky air and wet blanket that looms over us in Florida as it does every time this year. Heavily, I sigh and stand up, feeling the weight of my strong form cause my muscles to creak and brace for each clopping impact of my bulky, animal like feet. I move forward quickly to the greasy mirror, putting my large, wrinkly hand against it. As I get closer, the mirror warps my features, reducing that, as my sister calls it 'James Dean, Day Dream' look into something more like a monster. Silky and wet black hair dangles in front of my round eyes like a emo kid's wet dream. My full lips are parted slightly, the mirror fogging up from my breath. The clothes I wear hang off my form lankly, a few sizes too large, and look more like a moo moo. A male moo moo. The new fashion statement. If fashion was going to strange looking giants then I would win. Then again, fashion always liked the freaky. Sadly, I sigh and push off the mirror harshly before breathing heavily. Today was going to be a great day.

    Kosoko Jackson

  16. The mirror rippled subtly. Sparks of flickering light and sparkling shadows swirled within the glass like the edges of my fan fiction blog. My teal framed mirror was cold and damp to the touch, the glass not quite solid. I could see my bedroom backwards through the glass-- my iPod on its charger, and poster of 1D stapled to the fuchsia walls. Everything was exactly as it should be.
    Except my reflection was missing.
    This was no great loss, to be totally honest. I’m so used to not looking into the mirror, so used to avoiding looking at the zits on my chin or the extra flab around my waist, or ignoring the fact that despite the effort used in choosing an outfit, it will be wrong and everyone at school will let me know that these fancy pants with those lacy socks and that I-totally-want-to-be-frizzy-but-John-Frieda-and-I-will-force-you -to-not-be hair just didn’t work and… Mirrors should totally be avoided. Almost as a rule.
    So when I glanced at the mirror and couldn’t see myself, I know I should have felt scared, or confused, or maybe even mystified. I didn’t.
    I felt relieved.
    There is something seriously wrong with me. And I’m literally not even talking about my clothes right now.


  17. Is it a mirror or a window? I used to wonder. Is a mirror just one of a billion tiny connections between this world and the next, where everything is almost exactly the same as this one, atom by atom and moment by moment?
    She'd look at me and wonder the same thing. We had lived every moment of our lives in parallel, in lock step. We had looked into each other's eyes a thousand times and known... known? Yes, known... that we were not the same person and yet no random act, no sudden movement, no lunge forward, fade back, sudden drop to the ground, punch at the glass or bizarre face could break the illusion that we were the same.
    I knew that one day we would be different, and she knew it too. I had tried to imagine what it would be, the clue that would prove it. A pimple on my cheek instead of my chin? A slightly different shade of red on my lips? A single hair falling across my eyes while my reflection's remained in place?
    But I had never imagined this.


  18. Well, someone was obviously lying with duplicitous intent. Or, rather, "something." My eyes quickly darted between the superbly Windexed mirror and my cute phone's too-tiny, too-square playback screen. What happened between the slippery seconds when I gently applied pressure to the picture-taking button? My mirror showcased ringlets of brown hair that took over an hour of pain-stakingly torturous labor to create. Not to mention the layers of expertly applied, designer-brand make-up caked on my face. Enough to make the Earth's crumbly crust, marbley mantle and blistery core insanely jealous. In the mirror, my face was jealousy-inducingly perfect. In the camera's sneaky lens...not so much. Not even one of the fifty fantastic angles I'd tried (contortionist for the world's wacky win! FTWWW.) showcased my lovely face properly. This just wouldn't do. No sassy selfie update for me today. My Instagram followers would be so heart-achingly disappointed. Tragic tears, for seriously sure. Sincerely sorry, guys. #apologeticallyabsent

    My twitter is @EmilyLayneWriter

    Thanks! That was actually kind of fun haha.