Sometimes, he doesn’t sleep and instead conducts silly experiments with words.

Tonight on Twitter, I saw a #HorribleWriteTip from author Nat Russo. (Some of these are really funny, by the way, but if you think they’re meant to be taken literally, you may find yourself gently mocked on his blog for exhibiting #HashtagBlindness…) Anyway, this particular “tip” said if you string all the first words from each chapter of a novel together, you’ll discover the novel’s subtext.

What the hell, I thought. I have a few paperbacks here on my shelf

Yep. I went through all of these books and typed the first word from each chapter. You have no idea how difficult that was to do. I kept wanting to stop and read them again!

Well, without further ado, I present to you the “secret subtext” for six sci-fi or fantasy novels. Enjoy the nonsense.

The Remnant, by Paul B. Spence

Sergeant Lieutenant Tebrey dawn Tebrey captain the after Doctor Douglas we Tebrey’s Tebrey Doctor Tebrey Commodore it sir Lieutenant Doctor it looks Captain sir you Tebrey the the Doctor I’m Denton they this Jeroen despite the Rutgers Bauval when the Tebrey the hello Ana Tebrey Tebrey Hunter Sergeant it with here once Tebrey so what Jeroen Tebrey the Doctor rumors the there in Seshadri the the we James not Anderson Tebrey Ana it

The Fallen

The Lieutenant come howling in Fleet Nathan I Admiral Lieutenant the Bruce Mason Ambassador we’ll Ana two Captain as Captain Jennifer Admiral Captain against come we the Ambassador the Tonya the Ana who Tonya Tonya war Ana the Lieutenant sir Captain the Commander the Hiram Ana the Ana Hunter Ana mushroom I’d what Hrothgar Tebrey hmm for the Captain a Daeren Sergeant that captain Lieutenant we’ve Tebrey Lyra two son Commodore damn the Steinway Tebrey the what’s Mandor I’m Tebrey

The Madness Engine

Commander Geoffrey Tebrey the Tebrey the the the Drake the we Nancy do Rachael if when Drake Drake master Deegan Drake Ana the Rachael Commander Tonya the Drake the the Geoffrey Ana Drake Geoffrey Drake the Geoffrey Drake they Geoffrey the Drake I’m Tonya Tilda the the Admiral Ana Tebrey Commander alarms Drake Tonya Tebrey Tebrey

In Siege of Daylight, by Gregory S. Close

The grey Osrith in castle Dieavaul Two-Moons Calvraign Osrith Bloodhawk Calvraign Osrith the Aeolil for Bloodhawk Osrith only Calvraign Calvraign Aeolil the sir Dieavaul Aeolil Osrith Two-Moons Pakh Aeolil the Saint Osrith Aeolil you the Captain Seth Calvraign Brohan Seth the Aeolil Osrith Brohan Seth the Aeolil Osrith Brohan Calvraign Bloodhawk Calvraign Callagh Aeolil panic Vaujn Artygalle the darkness Calvraign Aeolil Callagh Artygalle Jylkir Guillaume turn the Callagh

The Sanctum of the Sphere, by Luther M. Siler

He the the if Namey they somewhat that a then the Namey Sirrys Grond the Kri I then Rhundi Rhundi I’d watching Sirrys they Sirrys not ow Remember ow then this did I’m what Haakoro Grond then it the so Grond Haakoro deep


Flashbulb someone Ezekiel there yeah Kathryn as it I right no by help plant no I need the who’s for it

Please note that these are only the first words from each chapter, and all of these novels have chapters that are further divided into scenes. Had I written down the first word for each scene, perhaps the results would be quite different. 🙂

About Thomas Weaver

For several years, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom (editor). I'm physically disabled, and I currently live with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have eight cats. I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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21 Responses to Sometimes, he doesn’t sleep and instead conducts silly experiments with words.

  1. svrtnsse says:

    I’m now very tempted to go and edit my novel to conform to this – just because.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jay Dee says:

    Sci-fi sounds so militaristic. Interesting experiment.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And I’m sure there a hidden meaning there. DEEPLY hidden. And likely to stay that way 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I couldn’t find any hidden meanings, and I’m mindlinked to the author of the first three of those books… (For the record, I do NOT like how the list for The Madness Engine begins: I’m not comfortable seeing any military rank so close to Geoffrey’s name, even if it does belong to someone else. *sigh* Didn’t he start out as a mild-mannered university student, way back when I first wrote about him?)


  4. Love it. Of course, if you did this for 50 Shades, you would get 25,930 hits. Tempted?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This exercise seems like the epitome of procrastination. Ahem… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have a point. Okay, so I can’t really work on “that novel” now because some of its backstory is subject to revision without notice — my clone is working that into the stuff HE is writing lately… I can work on Changing Magic; it’s out of sequence with the rest of our stories anyway, since chronologically it happens BEFORE just about everything else. And it would be nice if a few characters in the sequel to “that novel” had their backstories more established for when we get to writing that.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hannah G says:

    Skylights is so close to making sense…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. D.T. Nova says:

    So, are the most common ‘subtexts’ in novels “list of names” and “the the the”?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah. Obviously, the characters in Daylight think the story is all about THEM. (Or maybe the story is actually all about Artygalle’s horse, but the author didn’t have the heart to tell anyone else…)


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  9. Laura L. says:

    It is like writing found poetry from my email inbox subject list. (Which I have done, to often hilarious results.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cool idea. What about found poetry with subject lines from spam? ‘The End Times Are Coming! Lower your blood sugar, gain three inches, and triple your IQ with THIS!’ (If it’s not too rude, I should use that as the title for a blog post.)


  10. Hah – believe it or not, I read this after, earlier today, on a complete whim, putting all the first letters of all the chapters in the (just completed!) draft of my first novel into an anagram solver, just to see whether my subconscious might be trying to tell me something. Sadly, there doesn’t appear to be an anagram for TTSTHROOTYNEGMWSDSWSPIFWGTH. Hrmph. I chose to ignore the one obvious word that did jump out at me just from looking at those characters (because it has an additional meaning where I’m from…).

    Now I learn that I’ve been doing it all wrong!

    Liked by 1 person

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