kitsjay: (4 a.m.)
Augh. Stretching my writer's muscles, which have apparently atrophied to nearly nothing.

Three snapshots of three places I've lived - each are less than 150 words.

San Antonio )

Austin )

Houston )
kitsjay: (Wisecracks Dresden)
And this, johns and janes, is how you open a hard-boiled detective story:

The man said: "McCary."

"No." I shook my head and started to push past him, and he said: "McCary," again thickly, and then he crumpled into a heap on the wet sidewalk.

It was dark there, there wasn't anyone on the street--I could have walked away. I started to walk away and then the sucker instinct got the best of me and I went back and bent over him.

I shook him and said: "Come on, chump--get up out of the puddle."

A cab came around the corner and its headlights shone on me--and there I was, stooping over a drunk whom I'd never seen before, who thought my name was McCary."

--Black, by Paul Cain

Also, I feel like I need a dictionary to read some of these:

"One of the guys," he growled over his beer. "What's she pulled this time?"

Steve shrugged and said: "I guess it's the usual. The torn-pajama act. Only there's a kickback this time."

"How come? You handling it, huh? Must be a nice cozy one."

Steve nodded. The big man blew smoke from his mouth. "Go ahead and handle it," he said.

"You don't mind a pinch here?"

The big man laughed heartily. "Nuts to you, brother," he said pleasantly enough. "You're a private dick. So it's a hush. O.K. Go out and hush it. And if it was a pinch--that bothers me like a quart of milk. Go into your act. Take all the room you want. Cops don't bother Jack Stoyanoff."

--The King in Yellow, by Raymond Chandler

So alongside, "Tell it to Sweeney", I'm adding, "That bothers me like a quart of milk" to the slang I want to bring back into common usage. Modern lingo just isn't as delightfully opaque as thirties slang was, sadly.

Request

Apr. 24th, 2011 11:15 pm
kitsjay: (Screw Canon)
Guys, this gal is B-O-R-E-D.

So to pass the time, give me a "first line", anything you want, and I will write you a short story in accompaniment.

Weird or witty, peculiar or philosophical, whatever you want.
kitsjay: (Default)
1. If your user-name is any variation of "iheart[Insert Main Lead's Name Here]" or "Mrs. [Last Name of Main Lead]".

Normally, I don't pay much attention to usernames. They're one of those things that tend to go unnoticed, like when your teacher mentions tomorrow's homework assignment, except I'm never going to have to make a late-night phone call to a classmate desperately asking what your username was before class the next morning.

But when I see the above examples, I run. You know what that says to me? Unless it's an older fandom, it says that you watched the show, decided you liked it, and then wrote some schlock to post on the web that consists of OOC versions of my favorite characters, poor grammar, and quite possibly a Mary Sue because you've never been on the web before. It also says that you quite possibly are a 13-year-old girl (i.e., N00b). This is true 99% of the time, so don't bother wailing that I'm denying myself opportunities to read the Next Great American Fanfic. I'm not interested in that 1%.

2. If you misspell anything, but particularly one of the main character's names.

I know the canon. Clearly, you do not. For some reason, people in "Royal Pains", for example, are completely unable to spell "Boris". Seriously, not that hard.

ACTUAL EXAMPLE: What if Boises new doctor had actually hit Hank with her car

"Boises" is actually "Boris'" for those of you with an understanding of basic English.

3. If your summary reads something like this:

ACTUAL EXAMPLE: The first date. Now i know u want to read it. So click the title and read. No likey men kissing, no reading. You been warned. Flames will be used in the taking over of the world.

Congratulations, you almost have a complete sentence describing your fic! I see a... hmm, well, there's no verb, but B- for trying. Oh, wait, you can't capitalize or spell out "you"... maybe just a C+... Oh, and your cutesy way of saying flames (which, judging by my experience on the Internet, actually means "constructive criticism" to certain authors, by which I mean this one) aren't tolerated... Yeah, never mind, you get an F.

4. Speaking of, if your summary contains absolutely nothing describing your fic.

Maybe you're into furries and decided to show your love by painstakingly transcribing that love into fanfic. That's cool, whatever, but me? Not so much. It'd be nice to know that before clicking, except...

I'm not going to click it. Seriously, this annoys me when published books do it--they have a ton of reviews raving about how great the book is on the back, without one thing saying what it's about. Is it about robotic pirates sailing the high seas stealing technology to upgrade their parts? Is it about the epic love story between a boy and his 1973 Mustang? Is it about ex-felons who try to break back into a prison because they forgot their picture of Mr. Fluffy in the cell?

I don't know and I'm not going to waste my time picking a book I might not like for one I know I probably will. You may be alienating some people by putting that little description there, but I can promise you you're alienating a lot more by not putting anything.

5. If your fic says 235/?

This means that you haven't finished it yet, you have no idea where it's going, and you may never finish it at all. Strike three, you're out.
kitsjay: (Default)
More snippets:

It was not as if she were bad-looking, really. She got over the whole ‘I’m terribly unattractive’ thing a long time ago. Seriously, right after her teens. Okay, so there were a few spurts of low self-esteem now and then, but those were easily rid by a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and those little tequila shots down at the Mexican restaurant down the street, a cure she tried to help herself to at least once a week, three times after finals were over. Looking at his mild sneer, she felt a stab of defensiveness. Her chest had remained stubbornly flat, despite her mother’s constant reassurances that, “they’ll come in soon enough, sweetie,”, and her stomach only had a bit of a bulge which, if she twisted just right, almost looked like muscle. In pictures, if she sucked her cheeks in a bit and held her arms out, she could almost pass as a size ten.

Besides, she had good teeth and no diseases, thank you very much, which she very much doubted this “Kathleen” could lay claim to.

She straightened to her full height, all 5’8” inches of it. “Excuse me?”

“I said that you look like a mangy sheep.”

“And I said excuse me, as in, what the hell gives you the right?”

He flapped a hand in a gesture which seemed to encompass her body, clothes, hair, and make-up-less face. “I was merely pointing out that in my day, women were proud of their looks.”

She glared. “And in my day, women don’t judge themselves by what men think of them.” Not strictly true, but he didn’t know any better. She would just keep him away from the sorority girls and magazine racks in supermarkets. And billboards. And diet pills. Oh, screw it, she might as well lock him in a closet if it came to that.

“Perhaps you might have a man if you did,” he shot back.

“Who wants one?” Bending down, she tugged on a decrepit old pair of sneakers she had bought years ago after promising herself she was going to become healthy and start exercising every day. One painful jog and two packs of Marlboro later, the sneakers had wound up in the back of her closet, hiding under a torture device cleverly disguised as a jump rope and a yoga mat with the packaging still intact. “I do quite fine on my own.”

A hand suddenly ran through her curls and she jerked back.

“Maybe if you just did something with your hair…”

She stared at him in shock. “Oh my god. What are you, Queer Eye? My hair’s fine!” He eyed her skeptically. “It’s sexy! Like, bed-head or sex-kitten or something. It’s in style, even.” His expression didn’t change. She pulled her shoelaces viciously tight and lectured angrily to the floor. “I don’t need to justify myself to you. I’m better than that. I am a modern woman. I have brains, and independence, and skills, and looks? Looks aren’t important. Beauty is only skin deep and all that. So screw you, Mister Highlander Fabio!”

With that, she stood and winced when the shoes rubbed against her arch. Oh, that was going to blister. Feeling exhausted and annoyed already, she snatched her keys from the bowl and beckoned for him to follow. Time to meet Marie.
*************

“Ooh, he’s gorgeous!” Maria cooed, staring at his pert ass encased in a pair of tight blue jeans.

“Yeah, I guess.” At Maria’s look, Jennifer amended, “Okay, yes, he’s gorgeous, fantastic—but he’s a total chauvinist.”

“Uh-huh.”

“Maria!” Jennifer snapped her fingers in front of her friend’s face. “Take the glazed look out of your eyes and focus on helping me, please?”

“Have you had sex yet?”

Jennifer met Maria her sophomore year of college in a government class that neither ever recovered from. If there was such a thing as an anti-twin, Maria would be Jennifer’s: she loved pink frilly dresses, painted her toenails appalling shades of blue that could never be found in nature, and underneath it all, was one of the smartest people Jennifer had ever met. During class, she would lean over and whisper lewd things about their TA or her period, whichever was preoccupying her mind at the given moment, and had only a passing familiarity with the concept of TMI. Jennifer, of course, loved her immediately—except for times like these.

She blinked. “What?”

“Have you had sex yet?” Maria asked again, like Jennifer was the slow one. Maybe she was. Maybe she had missed the part where she had confessed a deep infatuation for the troglodyte currently flirting with the doe-eyed barista across the counter and Maria rightfully assumed she had torn his shirt off and thrown him on the bed to have her wicked way with him.

“I—what?” she repeated dumbly.

“It’s just like a romance novel,” Maria gushed, leaning forward over her double-mocha espresso latte with extra whipped cream and caramel syrup. “You know, the woman too preoccupied with her business slash academic life finds an enchanted mirror and voila! Out steps a gorgeous Scot clad only in a kilt that hides none of his fabulous physique, and on page twenty, they have sex.”

She sipped her drink calmly as Jennifer processed this.

“This is real life, Maria. These things aren’t supposed to happen at all, and no, we have not had sex yet!” The people at the table next to her tittered then quickly went back to their biscotti at Jennifer’s annoyed glare.

Maria raised a delicately waxed eyebrow. “Yet?”

“Shut up. That was unintentional.”

“Freudian slip?” Maria’s grin managed to convey a knowing smugness and devilish glee simultaneously.

“No. The regular slip. The slip where I haven’t had sleep in three days—stop smirking like that—and am exhausted and want him gone.” She leaned across the table, capturing Maria’s hands in her own. “Please. Take him. I’ll pay you.”

“Like you could afford me,” Maria dismissed her casually, her eyes straying back to Keiron’s long legs. “And as much as I would want to, I doubt Steven would approve.”

“I’ll pay him too,” Jennifer insisted. “Really. Credit companies keep sending me pre-approved cards, I’ll give them all to you.”

“Jennifer, no, you have to discover the female inside of you who deep down, wants to be taken by a studly alpha male.”

“I don’t have time to be taken by a studly alpha male, Maria. I have class. I have exams to grade. I have an apartment to clean.” She paused. “Okay, that one was lame, but still. And who actually wants that?”

“Uh, every girl? Don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it.”

“I haven’t thought about it,” Jennifer said honestly. Mostly she had been thinking about whether or not she could kick him out without suffering from a guilty conscience and had finally come to the conclusion that if he called her ‘wench’ again, she could do so cheerfully and without reserve.

“You need help,” Maria said sincerely. “When was the last time you got laid?”

“We’re not having this discussion. We’re having that other discussion, the one I originally started, where you help me figure out how to get him back to where he came from.”

“Hello, lass,” Keiron purred as he slid in next to Maria, who visibly melted at the endearment. Jennifer could have slapped her.

“Don’t encourage him,” she hissed. She needed more coffee if she had to sit here and watch her friend make goo-goo eyes at a man who thought the definition of a “good woman” meant a fertile baby-making machine worth three ewes and a ram.

“I am Keiron,” he said proudly, doing the head-toss again. It reminded Jennifer of a stallion marking his territory—not going there, she thought savagely as she pushed the image aside. The last thing he needed was to know that she had actively compared him to a virile beast, emphasis on the beast.

“I’m Maria,” her traitorous friend said in a low-pitched voice that sounded like it had lost its panties an introduction ago. Keiron took her hand and brushed a kiss against the back of her knuckles with those sinful lips.

“She’s got a boyfriend!” she interjected desperately and somewhat indignantly.

“Kind of,” Maria said, not taking her eyes off of Keiron. “We’re practically strangers, really.”

“Maria, you’re engaged,” Jennifer reminded her viciously. She grabbed her friend’s hand and waved it in front of Keiron’s face. “See? See the pretty ring?”

“You are promised to a man already?” Keiron said with surprise in his voice. “Pity.”

“Oh, you have no idea,” Maria muttered darkly. She tore herself away from him to take a sip of her drink. Typical. A fiancé wasn’t enough to take her attention away, but apparently chocolate-laden-caffeine worked fine. She turned back to Jennifer and shrugged helplessly, admitting, “I’m not sure what you want me to do.”

“Help!”

“With what? Does he need to know what stocks to invest in? This is more your area, honey, not mine,” Maria pointed out reasonably. To tell the truth, Jennifer had called her without any real plan, just a vague idea that a person who wouldn’t think she had crumpled under the pressure of impending oral exams would be a good person to talk to. It’s not like she had any previous experience to work with or anything, and so far her only solution included sending a relatively helpless Scottish sex-god into the streets of Boston and wishing him the best of luck. She heaved a sigh. He’d probably do better than her, she thought resentfully, and become some national TV star or something. Who Wants to Date an Ancient Scotsman? She could hear the strains of a techno bagpipe theme song already.

She felt like pulling out her day-timer and showing it to Maria. Graduate with a 4.0 (3.96, close enough), check. Get into the best graduate school, check. Work as an indentured servant for the next eight years and get her Ph.D., almost. Playing babysitter to a man who made male models look like Erkel (oh god, she was showing her age) and spoke with a delicious Scottish brogue that made her forget her name was not part of the plan. She was quite sure she would remember writing that one down, thank you very much. Burying her face in her hands, she gave a low moan. “What am I supposed to do?”

Maria avoided stating the obvious, though her leering gaze at Keiron practically screamed that any normal female would know exactly what to do with him. “Do what you do best, Jen.”

Jennifer stared at her blankly.

“Research.”
kitsjay: (Default)
Castigate:
–verb
1. to criticize or reprimand severely.
2. to punish in order to correct.

Castrate:
–verb
1. to remove the testes of; emasculate; geld.

The next person who tells me that they're "pretty sure" I can't be castigated, I swear by the forces of English, I am going to give them a manual demonstration of the differences between these words.
kitsjay: (Default)
afjsakj My dad's writing short stories!

Okay, okay, so I'm overwhelmed by how adorable this is, but back-story. My family is the personification of Southern oral tradition. If you thought oral tradition was just some weird anthropological case study of New Guinea or somewhere, come to my house on any weekend night. We sit around telling stories passed down from generation to generation and adding our own new ones as it goes along. Everyone in my family can tell you stories about the two draft horses my great-grandpa owned, or the way he got called up for WWI twice, or any number of things. I've always loved sitting around and hearing these stories, even though I could recite them by heart, because they're so comfortably Southern. They're all a part of me, these bits and pieces that all accumulated until I'm sitting here now. The more outrageous the stories, the better (and trust me, our family has some outrageous ones).

So I've always wanted to collect and preserve these stories but never got around to it. For some reason, my dad did though. And he sent me one! He was all embarrassed and sent it to me and Sean to look over, because he hasn't written in a really long time, but I think it's awesome.

Here's my dad's short story!

Smokin' Holes )

Both he and I would love it if you have any constructive criticism that I can pass along.
kitsjay: (Default)
Story Time )
kitsjay: (Default)
Dressing yourself in the mornings is such an accomplishment when you're a woman... )

In other news, Starbucks has released a new (limited time, I suspect) bottled coffee drink, Peppermint Dark Chocolate Frappuccino, which tastes as delicious as it sounds. With the first sip, you hold it in your mouth and wait, gradually sifting the chilly bite of peppermint, then the wash of decadent warmth that is dark chocolate, with just the slightest bitterness of coffee following. It's like drinking Christmas. With the first sip, I was fairly certain I had discovered the key to world peace, goodwill to man, and possibly the answer to where socks eaten by the dryer disappear to.

My brother Mike has recently become addicted to these drinks, though the vanilla flavor, so yesterday I brought two of this new flavor and put one in the fridge and gave him the other one. He fell in love, saying it was like drinking candy.

Anyway, he was having a miserable day yesterday, so instead of drinking the other one I bought for me, I put a note on his desk saying, "Mike, there's a drink for you in the fridge. Happy Thursday, Kitty" at the end of the day and left.

So this morning I get an email from him:

Hey Kittycat:

Thanks for the note and drink – it really made my day –I’ve been feeling ill all morning (I got up at five with a headache and queasiness)and a kind gesture has helped. If I don’t end up coming down withsomething we still will be on for tomorrow for X-files.

Thanks,
Mike


I'd forgotten how wonderful it feels to do a nice thing for someone.

In regards to the music I'm listening to currently, Mike had to make a rule a long time ago that I wasn't allowed to sing Christmas songs until after Thanksgiving, as I showed a penchant for humming them starting as early as July. The other day, he stopped and said, "What are you humming?"

"Winter Wonderland," I admitted guiltily.

"Kitty, you know the rule," he said.

Stef asked what rule and we explained. She looked at me askance and said, "It's sad that he had to make this rule up."

"What's even sadder," I replied cheerfully, "is how many times he's had to invoke it."
kitsjay: (bird)
Short Story, Original Fiction: Third Rate Romance )

So two things I'm especially looking for, one of which do you think the diner needs to be described more, and two, which ending do you like best.

Any other feedback, of course, is very appreciated. :))
kitsjay: (emotions)
Angel fanfic! The first (and only) idea I've had for this fandom so far, and all because, honestly--what does he tell them?

Title: Virgin Pig's Blood for Eternal Youth
Author: Kits
Fandom: Angel
Rating: K
Summary: "So, what exactly do you need this blood for?" the butcher asked curiously, handing over the filled ice chest.

Virgin Pig's Blood for Eternal Youth )

As always, comments, suggestions, feedback welcomed and encouraged.

Coming soon: A short that features Angel using all of the excuses he mentions in earlier fic!
kitsjay: (emotions)
More fanfiction pet peeves:

1. Randomly throwing in Japanese.

Don't get me wrong, Japanese is cool. It has its place, particularly in fics based around anime and manga, or fandoms where characters are (a) Japanese, (b) have a canonical interest in Japan, or (c) may have an interest in Japanese where it's relevant.

But then you have just the, "I learned this from anime and want to use it in my fic, k, reader-san?" wherein Johnny of Fantastic Four miraculously speaks Japanese and randomly decides to call Ben "brother" in Japanese.

Why?

Oh, no reason.

But, is there any documented cases where he called Ben that before?

No.

Any comics where Johnny's shown an interest in Japanese?

Not really.

Then for God's sakes, why?

Parts of you will come through in fic. It's unavoidable. Your beliefs, your philosophy, to some degree your slang--it will come through on its own. Don't force it by changing the characters to fit your interests.

2. Making up nicknames.

Okay, just, no. If there isn't a documented case of Angel calling Spike "Spikey", there's probably a really great reason for it. Mostly, it's out of character. Also, it makes any sane human being want to hurl.

Be wary of nicknames in fic to begin with. They're extremely easy to overuse, and it's really annoying when one unfortunate nickname (this means you, Spacemonkey) is used ad nauseum. If everyone calls Daniel "Danny" in the show, go for it.

But no one calls Sam "Sammy", so keep it to yourself.

3. First person.

We all know my hatred of second person because it's extremely hard to do well. If you can do it, then it's great, but if you can't, it's worse than awful. I hate to say it, but play it safe and stick with third person, at least until you have a better handle of writing in general. First person is complicated because it requires a lot more thought. The reader has a limited insight and it's very easy to lose track of some things unless it's a very short, simple piece.

If you're writing a full-fledged story, then pretty soon you have the reader thinking, "But wait, he wasn't there when that happened and no one told him..." or the, "How the hell did he know that the other character was thinking that?" syndrome.

It also leads to really confusing paragraphs because the author suddenly realized that they really needed to impart some piece of information or thought but had no way of doing so. Most of the time, they forego the rules of point of view completely and throw in a brief insight into Character B's mind, then go back to seeing only Character A's.

So just do readers a favor: unless you're really comfortable with writing, stick to third person.

4. Emotions.

55% of our information in a conversation comes from body language. 38% comes from tone of voice. Only 7% comes from the actual words.

Apply this to writing, and you have a serious problem unless you account for it.

Saying:

"Why are you doing this?" he said.

doesn't tell me anything. Is the speaker angry or just confused? Maybe he's just curious. I don't know.

When you add:

"Why are you doing this?" he said in a confused manner.

helps, but sounds rather cheap. Dressing it up further:

His forehead wrinkled. "Why are you doing this?"

And so on, so forth. And be sure and build up the emotions. I cannot tell you how many fanfics I have read that are going only with mostly dialogue, then suddenly the author adds in, "Now they were shouting at me". Whoa, wait up! When did they get angry? I mean, a second ago, they were just talking.

Build gradually.

5. "I say this," she began, "but please don't go the other way and abuse dialogue tags."

She paused. "I think I would almost prefer 'he said, she said' to 'he opined, she sobbed'," she lectured.

"So," she sighed, "try not to do what I'm doing now."

The Triad

Jun. 29th, 2007 11:44 am
kitsjay: (Default)
1. Fanfiction:

It is definitely, not defiantly. If you have trouble remembering the difference, pronounce them phonetically.

I'll help you out. Definitely begins like "deaf", whereas defiantly begins "deef".

And also they mean absolutely different things.

Now, I'm struggling to accept "loose" and "lose", but this one I'm not backing down on.

2. Simon and Simon. AJ and Rick break into a building in the middle of the night and the phone rings.

Rick reaches for it.

AJ stops him. "What the hell are you doing?" he asks incredulously.

"No one calls a real estate agency in the middle of the night," he replies. "It could be something."

So he answers and it's their police contact, Downtown Brown.

"What are you calling for?" Rick says. "One does not get calls in the middle of a black-bag job. It just isn't done!"

They have a chat.

"Oh, and guys?" Downtown Brown says before he hangs up. "Get out of the there!"

I love this show.

Speaking of which--

3. The ubiquitous "real estate" plot of '80s detective shows. If at least 3/4 of the plots don't include real estate companies throwing their muscle out to clear out poor homeowners so they may build their strip mall, then clearly the writers are suffering from creative bouts and should be silenced immediately.
kitsjay: (Default)
College Essay; A Bit About My Life )

Comments, thoughts, editing, rallying war cries for the patrician ruling class to step down and create a communist utopia?
kitsjay: (Default)
I wish to be as witty as Dorothy Parker,
As sensational as Zsa Zsa Gabor,
As darling as Audrey Hepburn—
But mostly I wish,
Never, ever to be poor.


*bows*

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