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Stylemash - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Okay, after doing the PJO chapter titles, I got thinking about style and tone, and how they affect expectations that a writer sets. Which naturally led me to thinking, "Wow, it would be fun to take three series I read and swap their styles around!"

It was fun, but not fun enough, really, to do extended chapters. So here's the basic "Hello, this is the book" part from each of them. The THG one is the longest, because I was still thinking of doing the whole chapter at the time. I think I'd really expect very different books from these openings.


Chapter 1: My Sister Wins A Fabulous Death
If you don't know about the Hunger Games, count yourself lucky.

Seriously, if you're just reading this because someone said, "Hey, you'll have fun!" then, first of all, your friends have a weird idea of 'fun,' because this book is mostly about death and danger, tyranny and oppression, and, in case you missed it, death. Also, leg-waxing. None of those things are on my list of "Best Ways To Get A Laugh Out of Life."

Mostly, though, your life will be a lot more comfortable if you don't start thinking about just how easy it would be, a few years down the line, to get to this place. If you can switch on a reality television show and not start thinking, "How much further would they go?" If you can wait in line at the grocery store and not look at the tabloid headlines and think, "Wow, that's as bizarre as entertainment can get."

If you're reading this and thinking, Wow, I'd love to get dressed up and interviewed by famous talk show hosts! I'd be famous, and I could have a great boyfriend, too, just stop. I mean, there are interviews involved, and, yeah, the boy is pretty great, but there are much safer ways to get a date, if you really want one.

It's not going to be comfortable, reading this, if you have any idea how these things work. Because the Hunger Games? We're not that many steps away.


My name is Katniss Everdeen. I'm sixteen. I live in Appalachia, and if you're already humming "Coal Miner's Daughter," go for it, because I am a coal miner's daughter. So are most of the other girls in District Twelve, though, so it doesn't exactly make me special. That's our District Industry (tm), and there aren't a lot of options, employment-wise. Most of us will grow up and go into the mines and have coal miners' daughters of our own.

I won't.

That is definitely not in my plans, especially now.

But other than that, until this spring, I was pretty much like everyone else in District Twelve: Poor, hungry, and hairy-legged.

Unlike most of them, I sometimes got out to hunt (which is totally against the law, I know, but come on), so maybe my mother and sister and I weren't quite as hungry as everyone else, even though everyone knew we should probably be hungrier. I mean, my mom worked -- she was an apothecary, which means she treated deadly illnesses with herbal tea (which, believe it or not, sometimes worked) -- but it's not like that brought in a regular salary. There was no regular money until --

Well, I'm getting ahead of myself.

I went hunting early in the morning in late May. It was already light out. My sister, Primrose, was sleeping with my mom and the family cat. (Yes, cat. We were surviving on what I could scrounge out of the woods, and Prim decided that, sure, we could handle feeding a useless addition to the family. Oh, well. He kept the rats out of the grain, I guess.

Everyone loves Prim, in case you couldn't guess. Even me. Despite the cat.


Chapter One: The Secret Sword
Percy Jackson was like most other boys in most ways. He liked cheeseburgers and video games. He got into trouble with his best friend, a scrawny kid named Grover Underwood. He appreciated a well-timed joke about bodily functions.

He did not appreciate much about his school, Yancey Academy, which was filled with kids who'd been expelled from other places. Unfortunately, as he had been expelled from many other places himself, he didn't have a lot of choice in the matter.

If there was something about Percy that was not like other twelve-year-old boys -- other than the fact that he liked his Latin teacher, Mr. Brunner -- it was just this: He hated bullies.

Not that other boys liked them, but Percy managed to get himself in trouble quite frequently for standing up to them. On the day of the trip to the museum, the bully in question was Nancy Bobofit, an ill-tempered girl with frizzy red hair who decided to spend their lunch break throwing pieces of her wadded up peanut butter and ketchup sandwich at Grover.

(THG style)

I wake up to the sound of my cousin Dudley thundering down the stairs above me. Dim light seeps through the slats, and around the loose door of my cupboard. A few spiders scamper off of my blankets while I look for a pair of socks.

I have to twist around a little bit to get dressed, because the cupboard is getting too small for me. Already, my legs are bent up against the wall while I sleep. It takes too long to get dressed, and I can already hear my aunt in the kitchen, screaming and demanding that I come out to cook.

It's Dudley's birthday. I'd nearly forgotten.

I sigh and go out.

Next to my cupboard, the rest of the house seems quite grand. There's room in the entrance hall, and I use it to stretch out a little bit. The kitchen is spotless, and bright presents are piled up in a carefully arranged pyramid on the table. Dudley inspects them with keen, eager eyes.

I go to the stove and start cooking breakfast.

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17 comments or Leave a comment
beceh From: beceh Date: November 2nd, 2015 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)
That's really cool. That would be a great activity to do with kids in English class. Compare and contrast style and tone... it makes it so much more obvious when you do it like this.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 2nd, 2015 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's fun, but it's actually difficult writing. It was harder in the two I've written in, because I've gotten used to it and started putting my own style in!

But yes, I don't recall a lot of English class talking about how style can make a difference with exactly the same content in the other elements. (Which may explain why the PJO movies are so utterly discordant with the books.)
beceh From: beceh Date: November 2nd, 2015 08:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, it would really depend on the cohort as to whether you'd actually make them have a go at writing it themselves, but just showing them something like this (or even the two/three novels they're studying that year that they've supposedly read) I think would make for a really beneficial lesson! Tone is something my students struggle with quite a bit, and the fact that sometimes authors make stylistic choices and don't just word-vomit onto the page...
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 18th, 2017 01:07 am (UTC) (Link)


I remember a Star Trek/Next Generation fanfic that had fun with this. Data is trying to comprehend "writing style", so he writes one story in the style of Jane Austen, and the other in the style of Ernest Hemingway (mechanically imitating both, of course). Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the fanfic.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: November 2nd, 2015 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
This is great -- I especially like the last one. I'm very glad Suzanne Collins didn't write Harry Potter, though, because the amount of time the poor guy would spend in the psych ward or outpatient therapy would be awful. Realistic, of course, but I don't think HP and realism do excessively well together.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 2nd, 2015 06:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, poor Harry, in the Games-verse, would most likely not be happy at the end (though making a good college try at it, maybe).
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 2nd, 2015 05:09 am (UTC) (Link)
That was totally awesome and I loved every single word and yes, I agree that you have stopped at the right moment for all of them.

'Hairy legs' - so PJ

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 2nd, 2015 06:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was thinking of his description of the Fields of Punishment, which involves fire and ice and opera music. ;p
jaydestarlight From: jaydestarlight Date: November 2nd, 2015 07:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I adore how seamlessly you write the different tones and apply them.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 2nd, 2015 06:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's fun, in a big way. :D
vytresna From: vytresna Date: November 2nd, 2015 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
And judging by the preview chapters of the newest Cormoran Strike, JKR's doing a stint as Stieg Larsson.

I don't know why giving Katniss Percy's narrative voice seems to gel so well with most of her arc. You've seriously struck comedy gold there. The commentary on Buttercup is particularly striking.

I really do need to get on Last Olympian. (Tough luck finding that in libraries as long as school is in session, or I'd have done it already.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 2nd, 2015 06:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wasn't entirely thrilled with Career of Evil. It seems to have lost some of her trademark humor.

Maybe that's Katniss telling the story many years later, having developed a sense of humor about it? ;p

Last Olympian is my favorite PJ book.
zhuhell From: zhuhell Date: November 2nd, 2015 08:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
rosaxx50 From: rosaxx50 Date: November 3rd, 2015 02:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh man, these are both awesome, hilarious, and just a little bit disturbing - especially the PJO version of THG.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 7th, 2015 06:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was just playing with style and voice (1st or 3rd, past or present) for something I'm and this is a great illustration of how those impact. Thanks for food for thought!
nevrafire From: nevrafire Date: November 9th, 2015 03:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I adored these and I'm so impressed at how well you managed to blend the two narratives.

My favorite one was the PJO in HP style, I thought the style worked so well for PJO.

the Hunger Games one in PJO was hilarious and really tone in cheek.

the Harry Potter in Hunger Games style was great too, but really emphasized the bleakness of Harry's home life, and I'm so glad Rowling didn't went that route. (although it seems it might with the Next Generation story- considering the Awfulness of the synopsis for 'The Cursed Child >:()
nevrafire From: nevrafire Date: November 9th, 2015 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
have you done a review of 'Career of Evil' yet?

I haven't read it yet, because I heard a few things about the subject matter she chose to dwell on for it and--- it's making a bit apprehensive.

so I kind of want to heard more how people like you, whose opinion i really trust, thought about it before I read it.

17 comments or Leave a comment