Between the ages of 10 and 14, I wrote a novel. It's about 65 000 words long, and every one of them is crap. Looking through it for a suitably embarrassing passage to share, I was struck by how totally and thoroughly I stole from other books. It's like a list of my teenaged reading:
(Cold Comfort Farm)
The gateman closed one eye in speculation, and scratched his head. “Wull,” he said in his simple countryman's accent. “If ye follow this 'ere road, down over th' bridge, then it's th' first buildin' on yer roight.”
“Thank you,” said Nellwyn, and they turned away.
“'Ere!” said the man, waving at them. “Y' mun stay on this road, an' down't stray int' th' back-streets, loike, for there be some nasty characters about.”
(Lord of the Rings)
The next evening, Nellwyn came down reporting bad news, he had not seen the explosions because of the high mountain peaks, but he had seen a gigantic flock of evil-looking crows flying in their direction.
“Crows?” said Flontale, looking up from where he was sitting cross-legged by their campfire. “What could crows do to us?”
“These aren't just a few crows,” Nellwyn said, frowning at the thought Flontale might be braver than one of the best fighters in the village. “They're huge! Each one has a wingspan of about three feet, and their eyes - ugh.” He shuddered.
“How many?” asked Dadoe, reaching for his axe and testing the point with his thumb. Dadoe was never one to mince words.
“I don't know. They were stretching off over the top of the mountain beyond my line of vision.”
Dadoe put down the axe carefully. “Ah. Maybe fighting them wouldn't be such a good idea.”
(Chronicles of Prydain)
“You cannot treat me this way!” cried Dylarn, “I am ill!”
“And I'm the great God Tefflar!” snapped Leyha, “Stop whining and get on with the packing!”
“But I am ill!”
“I know, you said it before.” She turned to the others, “And he says that he's a warrior, hmph!”
The Third of the Yswin reached into the three's minds.
He projected images of home, of death, of killing, all three saw Leyha burying a black sword with a yellow jewel embedded in the hilt into Sul's chest....
He sighed, and called for Elondwar. He hadn't really wanted to become a God. Of course it was nice having the power to make the kingliest of kings bow down to Him, but a lot of hardships came with being a God.
“You called, Divine One?”
He looked up, “Entertain me, Elondwar.” He said wearily.
She grinned mirthlessly, showing her long, blood-red fangs.
“I think I can manage that.”
He leapt, catlike over a fence, and slid in the window of a peasants house. Inside, four peasants were asleep. Tel crept over to one of them, and raised their wrist to his lips. Ari saw him bite down hard, and the peasant jolted in pain, but slept on. As Tel drank, the colour came back into his face, and he straightened, sliding a gold coin into the still-sleeping peasant's clenched fist.