Wednesday, 29 July 2015

If Characters in Popular Books Were Shovels (I Promise I'm Not Crazy)

I once saw a writing tip that suggested replacing your character with a shovel to see if they were necessary. I've never tried that tip, but it seems like an interesting activity to try with books. So here we have blurbs from 5 popular books, reimagined with shovels as characters.
Warning: 120% high on post-NaNo crackiness.

1. Harry Potter (JK Rowling)

"Yer a shovel, Harry."
The Dursleys abused Harry for the first 11 years of his life. Then a giant, Hagrid, comes to tell Harry he's a shovel under a glamour that makes him appear human. Due to prejudice in the shovel job market, Harry is taken to the school grounds of Hogwarts, where he can enjoy sunlight and soil. But Hogwarts has an extraordinarily high corpse-to-student ratio. Harry is stolen 67 times in the first month.

And why is Professor Quirrell taking him out to the Forbidden Forest?

2. The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)

"With all that alcohol in him, it's probably not advisable to have him around an open grave."
In District 12, people starve to death all the time. So when braided shovel Katniss is forced to provide for her family, she decides to become, not a hunter, not an apothecary, but a grave-digger. She rakes in more than enough to raise herself, her mum, her sis, a goat, and a cat. Sometimes she even grows roses in her backyard.

At the Reaping, the Capitol decides Katniss' sister should go into a gladiator arena. Katniss volunteers as tribute and is pitted against other non-shovel competitors. But she's got more experience with death than any of them.

3. Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)

I feel sorry for you. [snip] Because every morning you have to wake up and be a shovel.
It's Nick and Amy Dunne's wedding anniversary! Right in the faces of the people who said a jerk and a shovel couldn't be the best couple ever. But when Amy, the shovel wife, disappears, the police decide Nick, the jerk husband, is guilty. Nick acts really guilty, but is he just digging himself into the hole Amy prepared for him?

But never mind that. The real question is, how do you bury a shovel?

4. A Game of Thrones (George RR Martin)

The man who passes the sentence should bury the body.

In the game of thrones, you bury or are buried.
As Warden of the North, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. By the old gods and the new, shovels aren't meant to be hands. And while burying corpses is a lucrative venture in King's Landing, the Lannisters have patented that option. A dead enemy is a thing of beauty, and Stark covers bodies up.

Worse, he begins to dig up rumours about the mad crown prince, Joffrey. Joff would've been a valuable customer, considering how creative he is about traitors, except he's a Lannister. But across the Narrow Sea, there are more clientele: the Mad King's children, Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen.

Shovels are going to be needed. A lot of them, especially at weddings.

5. Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien)

One Shovel to rule them all, One Shovel to find them,
One Shovel to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
Frodo's uncle turns eleventy-one and leaves behind an odd gift: a shovel with magic powers. When the shovelwraiths, aka Grim Reapers without scythes, pursue Frodo for the shovel, Frodo forms an unlikely fellowship with a man in his 80s, a pretty elf, a dwarf with a broken axe, and three other hobbits. Oh, and this other man who wants the shovel to re-plant the White Tree of Gondor.

Shovels are much harder to carry on a necklace. And there's a new contender for the One Shovel: Samwise Gamgee. How could a shovel not tempt a gardener?

Hope you enjoyed all the puns and crack! None of these belong to me, clearly, and are only used in a parodic manner.

How high was I? Oh, and make up your own shovel-blurb in the comments!


Twitter-sized takeout:
Catch up with my musings in my monthly letters to my favourite takeout grasshoppers!

34 comments:

  1. Hahahaha. This is funny. I've never thought of shovels or spades as having a personality, or being able to dig graves or be pursued or fend for their families. This was really well done, if I found these in a bookshop I might (and only might, mind you) be sold on the premise.

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    1. Thank you, Shar! I think the original writing prompt was to see what would happen if you took away all the feelings and agency, but pfft, shovels are clearly the best. It would make for a fun parody XD

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  2. I'm not quite sure what I just read.

    But I love it. (Especially the Harry Potter one, skeptical as I am of that series.)

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    1. I'm not quire sure either. But I AM happy you enjoyed it!

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  3. XD Oh my.

    Clearly, whoever came up with that advice did not watch Blue's Clues, because there was actually a character who was a shovel on that show. His best friend was Pail. But anyway.

    These made me laugh, although these shovels seem rather monopolized by grave digging! There are lots of other purposes for shovels. Digging spontaneous pools. Creating trenches for warfare. Flowerbeds. Cellar creations. Tunneling into banks. Hitting people on the head when they are threatening people. Implements to use in battle. Thanksgiving decorations. Soil sample-getters. Poor surgical supplies. Implements of fence repair. Something to put pails on so you can carry water home. Paint can openers. Sand castle tools. Makeshift pie server.

    Your shovels have a lot of death, is all I'm saying. Which is not bad, of course. And remarkably appropriate for all five of these stories. XD I could easily see all of these still being wild successes, with the exception of I'm not sure how mobile shovels are. I think we have a shovel. It sits in our garage and does nothing. But beyond that, this is still a fun idea!

    (And, for the record, it is not the most writing-high idea I've ever read, so you're good. :) )

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    1. Oh wow, really? I have not watched Blue's Clues either, it seems, but hmm. Shovels are such wonderful characters.

      Well, my blog description DOES say "murder" in it, so clearly I forgot to consider the more innocuous uses of a shovel. Although if there's pie involved, I can forgive it. And pfft, novels with death are the best kind of novels.

      (I am interested in hearing that idea. Or maybe not, for the sake of my sanity.)

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  4. Replacing a character with "shovel" is such a weird piece of writing advice, because I don't really understand how that could show whether they're needed or not. I mean ... they just wouldn't have a name? They'd be "shovel" instead? I don't know. Myabe I'm not getting it, haha!

    I loved the Lord of the Rings one! :D I just binge watched the three movies, so I am on such a LotR wave of feels, so it was fun to see it re-imagined in a totally comical way! XD

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    1. Ah no, it's just assumed that shovels have no personality or agency. Which clearly is not true, from my blurbs XD OH WOW, LOTR MARATHON. That's hardcore -- I've only done Hobbit myself, but I swear I will do LOTR sometime. Parodies are clearly the best XD Thanks for dropping by, Chiara!

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  5. THIS POST IS A THING OF BEAUTY. (Have you noticed how all my comments on your posts start with excited statements in all caps?)

    Then again, I'm also slightly writing-high right now, because I'm currently revising poems for my mentorship portfolio and also trying to EXPLAIN my revisions. (Yes, they want explanations. It's kind of stressful to have to make my writerly train of thought sound coherent.)

    So this is not only a thing of beauty but a VERY WELL-TIMED thing of beauty. The last lines in the Harry Potter and LotR ones—oh man. I was going to crack up in front of my laptop screen, which I stopped doing ages ago because it makes my family very concerned for my sanity + makes them think I'm sleep-deprived. (WHAT DO YOU MEAN, SLEEP DEPRIVED. I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT SLEEP DEPRIVATION HAHAHA—)

    The only other potential shovel-blurb I can think of is Twilight: Shovel Edition. As in this werewolf and vampire in a tiny PNW town keep fighting over a very plain, ordinary, dependent shovel—but ehh, probably because they're picking off each others' races one by one and using the shovel to hide the evidence.

    (See, what did I tell you? Writing-high and leaving all-over-the-place blog comments to boot. :O)

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    1. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. (And the caps are a wonderful thing to behold, so do continue.)

      Wow, explaining revisions? That does sound tough -- normally it's just "it looked really horrible the old way so I tweaked some things randomly and maybe it looks possibly a little better perhaps?" XD I'm glad I nearly made you laugh, which is totally a comeback for your "a wild Chantilly appears" remark a while ago. And here, have some sleep and cookies. You'll feel better.

      THAT IS LITERALLY FABULOUS, THOUGH. I wonder if the non-romantic bits of the Twilight plot would still work like that! :P

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  6. HAHAHA. I bookmarked this for more laughing in the future. :') Oh my...I'm actually lost for words. Brilliant. Brilliantly done. :)

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    1. *flourishes bow* Why thank you, Jo. Thank you very much indeed.

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  7. When I read the title of this post, I must admit that my first thought was "Alyssa has been kidnapped and a lunatic has taken over her blog".

    Then I actually read the post, and I can honestly say that I have never read one quite like it.

    (I've also never laughed as much at one, but anyways)

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    1. I'm flattered by your concern for my wellbeing, but why do you think a lunatic is not in charge of the blog right now? ;P It's great, I suppose, that this post was unique and made you laugh. Even if it was weird.

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  8. "In the game of thrones, you bury or are buried."

    I mean that's pretty much what actually happens.

    Aaaanyways, this was certainly the weirdest post I've ever read hahaha. Like your blurbs; they kinda reminded me of Loony Blurbs. Well, Loony Blurbs with shovels.

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    1. ... that is. For the luckier ones who have graves, that is. And ooh yes, I hadn't noticed at all. I do so love Loony Blurbs, even if I don't participate much.

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  9. This post is hilarious! Lord of the Rings with a shovel? Sign me up please! And "But never mind that. The real question is, how do you bury a shovel?", that is sheer genius. Thanks for the laugh Alyssa

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    1. Thank you, Imogen! I'm happy the post made you laugh :D

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  10. OMG why did I only see this now? ;P I have never heard of such a tip that would tell you to replace your characters with shovels, but i think it's pretty hilarious! I love the Harry Potter one. ("Yer a shovel, Harry." HAHAHA.) I love the other ones as well, and the way you worded up everything is perfect ^-^ Can you make more posts like this? LOL I seriously enjoy reading posts like these! <3

    Jillian @ Jillian's Books

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    1. It was actually a pretty interesting tip to test whether your characters have agency, but my mind ran away with it. And I'm so happy you liked these blurbs. These posts are really based on how often I get inspired, and it'll depend on whether my audience at large enjoys it, but I do hope I can! Thank you for dropping by, Jillian!

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  11. This is FABULOUS! How did I miss this until today!? DYING. Especially Katniss, of course. I am just picturing this weird shovel with a braid hanging down the handle hahha. And of course she'd win, because she could use HERSELF as a weapon. Seriously, this post is GENIUS, I am so mad I didn't include it in this week's links- next week though, because I do NOT want people to miss it!

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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    1. Thank you, Shannon! Hmm, someone else mentioned missing it, so I wonder if Bloglovin' had an issue or the like? I shall double-check. And that is exactly the image I was picturing, so I'm glad you feel the same :D Aww, thank you so much for the preemptive recognition!

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  12. You... did this perfectly. I had no idea what I was coming into, Alyssa, but this was beyond any hopes or dreams or anticipation I could have possibly come up with. I want that Harry Potter version badly. I mean, it might make me look totally obsessed with the series (how interesting could the adventures of a shovel get? Probably a lot more interesting than I just gave credit for, truthfully), but you just made it sound so completely marvellous. And The Hunger Games one! You are epic and marvellous. Epic and Marvellous. xx

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    1. I'm so happy I managed to amuse you. The adventures of a shovel WOULD be fabulous ... it would only be better if David Handler aka Lemony Snicket wrote it. Thank you Very much for The random Capitals XD

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  13. Thanks for the laugh! That was awesome!

    All right...here's my own shovel blurb for The Girl of Fire and Thorns:

    Elisa is no ordinary princes--she is God's chosen shovel, signified by the godstone embedded in her handle. But the princess of metal and wood has never been or done anything remarkable. Her handle is too plump; her blade too bulky to be considered attractive.

    So when she is to be married off to the handsome non-shovel ruler of a neighboring kingdom, insecurities plague her. For the king is looking for a capable queen--not a garden tool.

    When dark magic threatens the kingdom, it's up to Elisa to shovel their way out of trouble. If she doesn't die young.

    Most of the shovels do.

    Pahaha. Yours were better, but I can see how much fun you had with this.

    Ally @ The Scribbling Sprite

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    1. You're welcome; thank YOU for dropping by, Ally! And OH. Your shovel blurb is lovely :D I haven't read TGOFAT, but I do want to now XD

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  14. This was so hilarious I think I peed myself!

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  15. I am not sure what the heck I just read, but I loved every word of it. Kudos to you!

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  16. Why is this so hilarious? I don't understand why but I laughed way more than I should be.

    Jennilyn @ RurouniJenniReads

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    1. Eh, I'm not sure what was going through my head either, but so long as you laughed :D

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  17. I laughed too much at this XD
    I especially liked the Game of Thrones one and the Harry Potter one. "Yer a shovel, Harry." Perfect.

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    1. Thank you, Kelly! That was the first line that popped into my head of this blog post, so it's fitting it should be the most hilarious XD

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