Fictionlet

Apr. 20th, 2016 01:20 pm
the_gneech: (Default)

Greg shook his head. “Everyone talks about how sophisticated continental Europe is, but I don’t see it. I mean, can you imagine if Prince had sung about how ‘She came in through the ausfahrt’?”


“Greg darling,” sniffed Isadora. “Would you do me the great favor of putting a sock in it? I am trying to have a conversation with my daughter.”


-The Gneech


<-- previous B&G


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the_gneech: (Writing)
As mentioned elsewhere, I have been concentrating on writing lately. So far my attempts at landing tech writing gigs have been mostly met with generous offers to let me work for exposure, but I'll get through that well enough.

When not working on that, I have been working on my fiction. I've done the last "pre-submission" round of edits on the Airship Pirates novel and marketing it is the next step there, so while that simmers I turned my attention back to the half-completed Brigid and Greg novel that I was working so feverishly on when the house sale bumped it aside. This led to quite a bit of introspection, and a ramble on Twitter which I've cleaned up, edited and elaborated on here:

As much as I love Brigid and Greg, the novel idea has some systemic problems that I’m not sure it can overcome. The core problem with B&G is that they are at heart an affirmation of and succor to a very specific sort of problematic yuppiedom. If you’re inclined to side-eye at Whole Foods and spit “gentrification” like a curse, you’ll have a problem with B&G.

And while my feelings on the matter are mixed at best, I do at least understand where such opinions come from, and am sympathetic. When you're working two jobs just to stay in debt and being called a "taker" by nitwits who don't know how society actually works, seeing a pair of affluent (or at least comfortable) middle class white people be snarky about their non-problems might very well grate.

Another aspect is that the whole gist of B&G’s humor comes basically from them disapproving of (and fleeing) everyone who’s not just like they are. Inkblitzer likened them to Statler and Waldorf, and that’s not a bad analogy. B&G aren’t as toxic, but they are just as insular in their own way. In small doses it can be a “laughing with” look at introversion. But in large doses it starts to look more like xenophobia/classism.

B&G is also very Whitey McWhitebread. NeverNever had the same problem. For somebody banging the diversity drum, I don’t always do a great job. :( The book finally brings in Art as an important character, and retcons Alex as being Chinese, but it’s still hella problematic. (Art, for those unfamiliar, is lifted straight out of my college comic, Whistling In the Dark. He’s a gay black bohemian-type. He has had an oblique mention or two in the Fictionlets, but I don't think he's actually appeared in any of them.)

All of these issues, none of which stand out in any given Fictionlet, become highlighted and magnified when you put them into an extended narrative. What had been "minor gaps" before become a giant pattern stitched together.

The plot I came up with ended up with Art’s disreputable cousin chasing B&G through Brigid’s family reunion with a pack of dogs, who would then be chased off by Brigid's crazy shotgun-toting relatives. It was a funny set piece in my head, but then if you add the race element it suddenly sets off all kinds of red flags. :P

Brigid’s relatives were all based on the sort of people who annoy me IRL; thus having the family reunion trashed by dogs as comeuppance. But then I thought about the church massacre scene in Kingsman, and how sick to my stomach that made me. :-`

It’s like… Brigid and Greg are kinda the same thing, but the difference is degree. A pie in the face is certainly very different from in-your-face graphic violence, but still boils down to "attacking people you don’t like."

But all of B&G is structured this way when I break it down. The core conceit is those two reinforcing their bubble of comfort vs. the world. In that respect, it was quite explicitly modeled on Jeeves & Wooster, which works the same way. But that has a level of removal B&G don’t. J&W is set in an idealized inter-war Britain that never really existed. B&G are in fairly realistic early 21st-century USA. Wodehouse did have a few real-world Take Thats in his stuff, particularly the character of Spode and knocking of A.A. Milne. But he was mostly gentle, non-specific, and very silly. When B&G sneer, they’re sneering at whole classes of real contemporary people.

And realizing that about my own writing, didn’t feel good. :-`

I don’t know if B&G can be retooled into something that actually, y’know, PROMOTES things like diversity and positivity without breaking it. I like the voice of the B&G Fictionlets, and I like B&G as characters. I'd like to turn them into a force for good; but for the moment at least I don't know how. It’s weird that my pulp novel about airship pirates actually tells a story I’m proud of when B&G don’t.

Packbat's Commentary, and the Nature of Farce


A while after my ramble, Packbat (who is on the Beta Reader team), popped up with some comments, which I've transcribed here to preserve them for my own reference later:

Thank you for talking about this so frankly. I love a lot of the B&G Fictionlets, and I'm okay with missing out on a novel.

Which is to say: I don't feel like I'm missing out. I trust your judgment.

(Random: can I make an unsolicited suggestion? Been thinking about what you said a little.)

Like ... it feels to me like most of what B&G detest in their yuppie world concerns entitlement, arrogance, and privilege.

There's parts that aren't - the sacral dimples thing, for example - but Treville? Brigid's coworkers?

I feel it wouldn't take much for B&G to realize much of the idiocy they're disgusted with is hurting less privileged outsiders.

And that they can find a lot of people they'd want to support who never took any Latin classes.

...I dunno. I feel like they could be in a story about figuring out what privileges you have and what you can do with them.


This commentary was timely, as I was at that moment reading up on the nature of farce (which is the closest thing to a single-genre description of B&G) and watching The Art of Love, a comedy film starring Dick Van Dyke and James Garner (written by Carl Reiner) in the mode of Blake Edwards. The movie itself was far less than the sum of its parts, alas, but looking at what didn't work there gave me some food for thought about what does or doesn't work in B&G.

I also found this little gem on my old nemesis the Idiot Ball, on a Christian culture webpage, to my surprise:

“I grow restless,” Ebert said, when the misunderstandings driving a plot “could be ended by words that the screenplay refuses to allow [the characters] to utter.”

This was less of a pitfall in Shakespeare’s day, and even up through Victorian times, when convoluted and capricious mores and manners were understood to prevent those characters from uttering those words. The characters in
Pride and Prejudice were constrained by social norms that no longer hold sway. So for that same plot to work in Bridget Jones’ Diary, the characters have to be constrained by something else — some limitations within themselves. Thus Elizabeth Bennett comes across as a smart, capable person who is prevented from being fully honest — to others or to herself — by the stifling rules, roles and expectations of class, gender and manners that shaped her life and her time. Bridget Jones, facing fewer such external rules, just comes across as neurotic and indecisive.

The essence of a romantic comedy is pretty simple: Introduce two characters who belong together, then contrive to keep them apart for about 90 minutes. Again, this is trickier now than it was in Austen’s or Shakespeare’s time. A lot of contemporary romantic comedies are annoying because the only obstacle they can imagine to keep their heroes apart is a kind of mutual immaturity. That serves the need of the plot, but it makes the couple less likable, which means we don’t care as much when they finally get together in the end.

One solution is to find a contemporary setting that still involves something like the kind of stifling social constraints in a Jane Austen novel. That’s what Ang Lee did with
The Wedding Banquet, which ... is more of a farce than a romantic comedy. The complications and misunderstandings that drive the plot in Lee’s story could all be cleared up with just a few honest words from the protagonists. But they can’t say those words — not because an arbitrary “Idiot Plot” screenplay prevents them, but because the story involves a closeted gay man in New York and a visit from his ultra-traditional Taiwanese parents.


LiteraryDevices.net also provided:

Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Importance of Being Earnest, is one of the best verbal farces. Just like a typical farce that contains basic elements like mockery of upper class, disgraceful physical humor, absurdity and mistaken identities, this novel also contains demonstrates these features of a farce.


What all of this gets at, I think, is that I discovered to my chagrin that Brigid and Greg, rather than Punching Up, were just sort of punching indiscriminately, which included (unfortunately) both punching sideways, and punching down. I also think that shows me the path towards fixing it.

Once more through the outline, old scout.

-The Gneech

Fictionlet

Mar. 23rd, 2016 11:31 pm
the_gneech: (Default)

“Well, young Greg, do you see anything on the menu that suits you?” Isadora asked.


“Quite a bit actually,” Greg said. “The hard part is narrowing it down to a single dish.”


“Ugh,” said Brigid. “There’s not enough chocolate on this menu. I’m going straight for dessert.”


“It’s an Italian restaurant,” said Greg. “Where would you possibly put chocolate besides a caffé mocha?”


“Lots of places!” said Brigid. “I mean really, eggplant parmesan? Fuck that noise. Smothered in chocolate is the only way you’d get me to eat eggplant.”


“You’ve never even had eggplant,” said Isadora.


“And nobody ever serves it smothered in chocolate,” said Brigid. “I detect a pattern.”


“Not everything is enhanced by adding chocolate,” said Greg.


“Oh yes it is,” said Brigid. “There’s nothing on this menu that wouldn’t be better with chocolate. Spaghetti? Better with chocolate. Lasagna? Better with chocolate. Garlic bread? Better with chocolate. Hell, I’d eat wasps if they were covered in chocolate.”


“Is that something you’re often called upon to do?” Greg asked.


“Well, no,” said Brigid. “But if the situation ever comes up, I know my stance on it.”


“At least you’ve got it well thought-out,” Isadora said, and quaffed some more of her wine sample.


“Shakespeare would be proud,” Greg agreed.


“To thine own chocolate, be true,” Brigid said, and began to raid the bowl of after-dinner mints.


-The Gneech


<-- previous B&G


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Fictionlet

Mar. 17th, 2016 05:15 pm
the_gneech: (Jeeves Nazis)

“Ugh, St. Patrick’s Day, what have they done to you?” said Greg, wincing in dismay at the bar they drove past. “When I was a kid St. Patrick’s Day was ‘wear something green or you get pinched.’ When did it turn into ‘virulent idiots getting drunk on green beer’?”


“When I was a kid Halloween was ‘trick or treat,'” said Brigid. “When did it turn into ‘Sexy Axe Murderer’ costumes? Everything’s been screwed up for ages now. I blame the baby boomers.”


“Oh?”


“Yeah. Growing up being told everything was all about them, they believed it, and have just trashed the country and the culture.”


“Hmm,” said Greg. “Well as much as I’d love to use them as a scapegoat, those aren’t baby boomers wearing plastic leprechaun hats and getting blotto we just passed. And it’s certainly not baby boomers in the Sexy Axe Murderer costume. Not any more, at least. You may have an argument for baby boomers having made the mess, but let’s be honest, generation X isn’t exactly cleaning up after them very well.”


“When you grow up in the asylum, you don’t realize that everyone around you is insane,” said Brigid. “Generation X was screwed from the start. All we can do is try to pave the way for the millennials to un-break the world.”


“…says the woman who thinks children should neither be seen nor heard,” said Greg.


“I believe that children are the future,” Brigid said. “And they can have it.”


-The Gneech


<-- previous B&G


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Fictionlet

Mar. 15th, 2016 02:43 pm
the_gneech: (Jeeves Strangle)

Brigid stalked the edges of the party, looking like nothing so much as a panther looking for a baby rabbit to gobble down. Finally she spotted the rabbit in question, to wit Greg, who was in the center of a cluster of people, holding them spellbound as he told them some ridiculous anecdote. She instantly made her way to him.


“…and so she pulled out a lighter and said, ‘Lean down here so I can set you on fire,'” Greg was saying, as Brigid elbowed her way through the crowd.


“C’mon,” she said, grabbing his arm. “Let’s go.”


“It’s only 9:30,” Greg said.


“Yeah,” said Brigid, “which means I’ve been here a whole 45 minutes and my oath not to commit murder is wearing thin. Let’s go.”


“Fine, fine,” said Greg, and turned back to the faces eagerly hoping for more snappy stories. “Sorry, all. But She Who Must Be Obeyed speaks, and I’m the one driving the car. Good night!”


Coats retrieved, they slipped out into the night. “I do get tired of you wanting to end every party before it begins,” Greg said. “You realize these binges are my main point of contact with the outside world, right?”


“Sorry,” said Brigid, as he unlocked the door. “Work has been bad. We’ll stay longer next time, I promise.”


“I’ll hold you to that,” said Greg, as they got in the car.


“For all your time spent alone, you know how to work a crowd,” Brigid said as they pulled out into traffic.


“Well that particular crowd was not a particularly discerning bunch,” said Greg. “I’ve learned that the secret to success, is to only hang around people who are easily impressed.”


“Uh huh,” said Brigid.


-The Gneech


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Fictionlet

Jan. 8th, 2016 10:04 am
the_gneech: (Jeeves Strangle)
"So," said Greg casually, "what did Zelda say when her would-be rescuer was zapped by a strength-draining ray and couldn't pick up his sword?"

Brigid just looked at him, on the grounds that it was a no-win situation.

Greg grinned. "You are the weakest, Link!"

"Goodbye," she said, and made for the next room.

-The Gneech

<-- previous B&G

Fictionlet

Aug. 17th, 2015 12:33 pm
the_gneech: (Default)

Greg shook his hand in the air. “Guh, you wouldn’t think stirring cookie dough would hurt so much.”


“Worry not!” said Brigid, shoving her finger into the bowl and pulling it out covered in dough and chocolate chips. “Your sacrifice shall not have been in vain!” She greedily gulped down her prize.


“You shouldn’t eat raw cookie dough!” said Greg. “You could get sick from it!”


“No I couldn’t,” said Brigid. “It’s never actually happened to anyone in the history of ever.”


“Of course it has,” said Greg. “There’s the well-known case of Silas Gunderson. In 1874, he was making cookies to comfort himself after having accidentally slashed his arm open on a sewer grate while trying to fend off the diseased rats who chewed off two of the fingers on his left hand. Took one bite of raw cookie dough, and dropped dead on the spot.”


“What?” said Brigid. “That’s stupid. Even if you hadn’t just made that up on the spot, all that would mean was that he died while eating raw cookie dough, not from eating raw cookie dough.”


“Well, yes, but still. Better safe than sorry, don’t you think?”


“No, I so don’t,” said Brigid, scooping out another dollop with a large spoon.


-The Gneech


<-- previous B&G

Fictionlet

Apr. 17th, 2015 07:43 pm
the_gneech: (Default)

Unfortunately, as she snuck out of the building, Brigid’s cellphone began vibrating stridently in her bag, which just told her she had a lot more hell to get through before the day was over. Pulling out the phone, she barked into it, “I’m not gonna say four hours until you give me details!”


“Well that’s fine,” said Isadora’s voice on the other end. “I don’t want you to say four hours anyway! Why should I? It’s no skin off my nose.”


“Ugh, sorry Mom,” said Brigid. “I thought you were someone else.”


“Well I’m not,” said Isadora. “What’s more, I don’t intend to ever be.”


“What’s up?” said Brigid, hauling her bag up onto the bus and waving her pass in front of the sensor.


“I’m calling to issue yet another invitation,” said Isadora as Brigid collapsed into a seat. “Your Aunt Edna is hosting a family reunion two weeks hence.”


“Oh, hell no,” said Brigid. “No thanks.”


“What do you mean, ‘no thanks’?”


“I mean Aunt Edna can go hump a pool toy. A team of Navy Seals couldn’t get me to go to that.” A woman sitting across from Brigid turned her head and blinked; Brigid just hunkered down into her seat.


“Brigid!” said Isadora.


“No way,” said Brigid.


“She doesn’t have many years left in her, you know,” said Isadora.


“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” said Brigid.


“Don’t be cruel-hearted!” said Isadora.


“Sorry, sorry,” said Brigid. “I’m just… Mom, I can’t take family right now.”


“You’re supposed to take comfort and joy from your family!” said Isadora. “That’s what they’re for!”


“Then I should have a comforting, joyful family for that,” said Brigid. “Not Disdain McJudgealot and the Fifteen Sneerers.”


“I don’t even know what that means,” said Isadora. “In any case it doesn’t matter. We all have obligations, Brigid, and family is one of them. I understand that you don’t necessarily like them, and that can’t be helped. But you’ll be glad to have them later in life, take it from me!”


Brigid just squeezed her eyes shut. Then, quickly pulling a bit of paper out of her bag, she rapidly crumpled it up in front of the microphone. “Sorry, what’s that mom?” she said. “You’re breaking up. What? WHAT?”


“Don’t you try that crumpled paper trick on me you little–” was as far as Isadora got before Brigid had hung up on her.


-The Gneech


<-- previous B&G

Fictionlet

Mar. 19th, 2015 12:05 pm
the_gneech: (Mysterious Beard)

One of the unexpected things I’ve learned over the course of being That Guy at Starbucks, is how much there is to learn about being That Guy at Starbucks. For instance, you discover that there’s a whole shadow-economy of That Guys, many of whom are actually women, making That Guy a terrible moniker but alas the one that has stuck in my head and therefore I shall employ henceforth.


Another thing you discover is that paradoxically, “Dream a Little Dream of Me” becomes the most un-soothing song in the world when blasting too loudly in your ear. In short, there are times when having earphones is absolutely vital. I mean, the whole point of being That Guy at Starbucks is you’re working somewhere that has noise and bustle and activity, in order to get something that feels vaguely like human interaction without any of the attendant unpleasantness of going to an actual job– but when the shady character at the next table over pitches a ponzi scheme to his mark in a voice made to rattle windows, or worst of all, some harried suburban mother brings in her five year old, her toddler, and her infant, and shoves them all at a table in the corner while she goes to grab her triple venti caramel macchiatto before she murders someone, the calm bubble of humanity suddenly becomes a loud and intrusive bubble of humanity designed to keep you from getting anything done. Your choices therefore are to take your chances with the next Starbucks over, or to put on headphones and listen to, well, sound clips recorded inside coffeeshops. Because that’s the most effective background ambience for getting work done.


You also quickly learn the importance of scouting out the power plugs, grabbing the seat by the window in the brief moments when it becomes available, knowing which cashiers actually know what they’re doing and will give your drink to the barista correctly, and by extension which baristas actually give a damn when it comes to making the drinks. A mocha made without the proper amount of syrup is much worse than no mocha at all.


Once you get the hang of these things, however, you come to discover that having offices in every city of the world is worth its weight in gold, and as I mentioned, you can’t beat the rent. The only real downside is terminally slippery insides, but even that can be managed with an occasional lemonade and judicious selection of decaf.


-The Gneech


<-- previous B&G

next B&G –>

Fictionlet

Jul. 2nd, 2014 07:44 am
the_gneech: (Jeeves Unsuitable)
"Oh, I found an answer to that question," Brigid said.

"And good day to you, Captain Out-of-Context," Greg replied. "Which question?"

"You remember a while back, I was wondering what the male equivalent of a 'fag hag' was?"

Greg winced. "I was hoping that had been merely a bad dream."

"Turns out the answer is 'lesbro,'" said Brigid.

"Don't tell me these things," said Greg.

"What's wrong with 'lesbro'?" she demanded. "It's a perfectly good slang term. Way better than 'fag hag.'" Greg merely gave a sort of soft whimper, and Brigid continued, "Typical, tho. The guys get a neutral or even guy-positive term, and the women get abuse."

"Excuse me," said Greg, "but I would very much like to be excused from the rest of this conversation now, please."

-The Gneech

<-- previous B&G

Fictionlet

May. 15th, 2014 11:34 am
the_gneech: (Writing)

“You can’t trust a thing kids say any more,” said Greg. “A bunch of girls outside just spend fifteen minutes telling me that London Bridge was falling down, falling down, falling down. But I checked the news, there’s nothing about it.”

“Uh huh,” said Brigid.

“Of course they might have just been confused,” he added. “They seemed to have mistaken me for an attractive woman.”

“I hope you realize,” said Brigid, “that this kind of malarkey is why you don’t have any friends except for that cat.”

“Harumph,” said Greg. “Ozymandias and I share a bond of true friendship, and tuna fish.”

“Don’t kid yourself,” said Brigid. “If Ozzie had opposable thumbs, you would be so evicted.”

-The Gneech

<-- previous B&G
next B&G–>

Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.

Fictionlet

May. 15th, 2014 11:34 am
the_gneech: (Writing)

“You can’t trust a thing kids say any more,” said Greg. “A bunch of girls outside just spend fifteen minutes telling me that London Bridge was falling down, falling down, falling down. But I checked the news, there’s nothing about it.”

“Uh huh,” said Brigid.

“Of course they might have just been confused,” he added. “They seemed to have mistaken me for an attractive woman.”

“I hope you realize,” said Brigid, “that this kind of malarkey is why you don’t have any friends except for that cat.”

“Harumph,” said Greg. “Ozymandias and I share a bond of true friendship, and tuna fish.”

“Don’t kid yourself,” said Brigid. “If Ozzie had opposable thumbs, you would be so evicted.”

-The Gneech

<-- previous B&G

Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.

Fictionlet

Dec. 16th, 2013 09:29 am
the_gneech: (Kero shouting)

“I don’t know why, but I was thinking about Blame It on Rio last night,” said Alex.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” said Greg.

“You were thinking of what?” said Brigid.

Blame It on Rio,” said Alex. “Cheesy rom-com from the ’80s, had Michael Caine and Brooke Shields doing this May-to-September romance–”

“Not Brooke Shields,” said Greg. “It was Demi Moore.”

“Oh, wait, I remember that now,” said Brigid. “You’re thinking of Bo Derek.”

“No,” said Alex, “I’m pretty sure it was Brooke Shields. Anyway, her father and Michael Caine were like best friends, and Michael Caine’s wife was having an affair with Brooke Shields’s father while Michael Caine was having an affair with Brooke Shields.”

“Demi Moore,” said Greg.

“That movie did crazy things to my hormones when I was a kid,” said Alex.

“It certainly didn’t improve your long-term memory,” said Greg.

“Wait, I thought Blame It on Rio was the one where the guy spills Pepsi on his keyboard and suddenly his computer comes to life and starts fixing his love problems,” said Brigid.

“That was Electric Dreams,” said Greg.

“Then what was Woman In Red?”

“You mean who was the Woman in Red?” said Alex.

“Kelly LeBrock,” said Greg.

“Sigourney Weaver,” said Brigid.

“Kim Cattrall!” said Alex.

“Pam Dawber?” said Greg.

“Clara Peller,” said Brigid.

“Shields and Yarnell,” said Alex.

“Joe Isuzu!” said Greg.

“The Dunkin Donuts guy!” said Brigid.

There was a long pause.

“What were we talking about, again?” said Greg.

“Your long term memory’s not the greatest either, it seems,” said Brigid.

-The Gneech

<-- previous B&G
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Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.

Fictionlet

Oct. 18th, 2013 10:51 am
the_gneech: (Default)

When driving a car on such a gorgeous day, there was no recourse but to roll all the windows down and sing at the top of one’s lungs, and Greg did so. “Non te deseram, non fraudabo te! Non infidelem, et non te deserant! Non te calamus, nolo dicere vale! Et ego nolo fallere laedere…”

Brigid, curled up in the far corner of the passenger seat looking vaguely like a long-dead spider, said, “Did you really just rick-roll me in Latin?”

“What’s ‘rick-roll’?” said Greg.

“You know,” said Brigid, “I could yank that wheel and run us into oncoming traffic. It would be easy. EASY! And no jury would ever convict me!”

“How can you be so cranky on a day like this?” said Greg.

-The Gneech

<-- previous B&G
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Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.

Fictionlet

Oct. 14th, 2013 02:04 pm
the_gneech: (NIMH Scariest Icon)

“Halloween, Halloween, the most wonderful time of the year!” Greg said in a happy sing-song as he swooped in with the mail. “Check it out, a retro-style actual paper catalog of Halloween costumes!”

“Wow, there’s a blast from the past,” said Brigid. “Lemme see.”

“I thought you hated Halloween,” said Greg, dropping the catalog into her lap.

“I do,” said Brigid. “I just like catalogs.” She opened it up and started flipping through it. “Ugh. No. Gah! Jeeze, this is awful. This isn’t Halloween at all!”

“Hmm?” said Greg. “What is it?”

“Halloween is supposed to be spooky. This crap is all just stupid! Gory rubber body parts, prop roadkill, yuck. And what’s with these costumes? ‘Sexy nurse.’ ‘Sexy devil girl.’ ‘Sexy vampire girl.’”

Greg sighed. “Ah. Yes, I do hate that.”

“‘Sexy witch,’” Brigid continued. “‘Sexy pirate girl.’ ‘Sexy maid.’ ‘Sexy prison inmate.’ ‘Sexy nun.’”

“Too bad they don’t have ‘sexy celibate monk,’” said Greg.

“Think again, buster,” said Brigid, and showed Greg a page.

“I hate what our culture has become,” Greg replied.

-The Gneech

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Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.

Fictionlet

Oct. 2nd, 2013 03:05 pm
the_gneech: (Jeeves Strangle)

“My next book will be a non-fiction,” Greg said. “I’ve already got a contract and advance on the title alone.”

“Oh really!” said Brigid. “What is it?”

The World Is Going to Hell, and It’s Your Fault: A Bestseller.

“Um,” said Brigid.

“The subtitle is, If You’d Spanked Your Children, Obama Would Not Have Been Elected.”

Brigid just shook her head, finally managing to say, “…Wow. I assume you’ll be releasing this under a pseudonym.”

“Well naturally,” said Greg. “I’m also looking into an older, doughy guy to play me at book signings.”

“Of all the times I’ve wanted to kill you,” Brigid said, “this is the first time it was for the good of humanity.”

-The Gneech

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Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.

Fictionlet

Sep. 6th, 2013 09:46 am
the_gneech: (Jeeves Strangle)

“Exposure is the first step on the road to tolerance,” said Greg. “By spending time with people different from yourself, and getting to understand them, you learn to value who they are and what they believe.”

“Mmhmm…?” said Brigid.

“However, having spent the entire weekend at your family reunion, I have come to the conclusion that yes, you’re right, most of your family is made up of horrible people the world would be a better place without.”

“I told you,” said Brigid.

-The Gneech

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Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.

Fictionlet

Sep. 3rd, 2013 09:20 am
the_gneech: (Alex Spaz)

Brigid slammed open the door. “Greg! Greg, you miserable little popinjay, don’t just sit there staring at me with your mouth hanging open, get up! Come on! We’re celebrating!”

Greg blinked at his obviously-already-sloshed roommate, as outside one of Brigid’s co-workers honked the horn of his car several times to hurry along proceedings. “Hello? What brings on all this indecent merriment?” said Greg.

“The entire office is having a party,” Brigid said, “and we’re all supposed to bring guests. Since I don’t have a date, I’m taking you. Now come on!”

“Yes, yes,” said Greg, standing. “I get that part. What I want to know is why?”

“It’s huge!” said Brigid. “It’s colossal. It’s a first in the entire history of the company and quite possibly in the history of American business!”

What is?” demanded Greg.

“You won’t believe it,” said Brigid. “I e-mailed a client about a work order they sent over…”

“Yes…?”

“And they sent me a reasonable response!”

Greg sank back into his chair. “…for real? You wouldn’t lie to me about something like this?”

“You should have seen my boss!” Brigid said. “She wept openly.”

“I don’t blame her,” said Greg.

-The Gneech

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Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.

Fictionlet

Aug. 20th, 2013 09:53 am
the_gneech: (Writing)

“‘Gone are the days when you could expect your reader to hang around waiting for the story to get good,’” said Greg, reading a blog post on his laptop screen. “‘Today’s busy editors and readers want to get to the good stuff right away.’”

Brigid rolled her eyes. “Let me guess: another post on crafting the perfect opening sentence?”

Greg didn’t answer directly, merely kept reading. “‘It used to be that crafting the perfect opening sentence was the key to getting published. But even that’s not good enough any more– these days, you have to grab the editor with your very first word! How many manuscripts have started with a lackluster The?’”

Brigid narrowed her eyes. “Seriously?”

“‘You should never begin with an article. The readers want to know your hero. They want to see action from the very first syllable! Try to begin with a word that conveys strong emotion, such as bleeding or gunshots.’”

“You’re making this up, aren’t you?” said Brigid.

Greg raised a finger, continuing to read. “‘Above all else, make sure the very first letter of your story is a hard consonant. Never start with a vowel or a weak consonant such as H, S, or W.’”

Brigid shook her head and headed for the kitchen. “The need to fill column space has wreaked more evil upon the world than malice ever did.”

Greg continued reading aloud, apparently enthralled. “‘The letter R is good because it sounds like the growling of a dangerous animal, but your best bet is probably a T, P, or an elusive Q to create a sense of mystery.’”

-The Gneech

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next B&G –>

Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.

Fictionlet

Aug. 7th, 2013 09:22 am
the_gneech: (Jeeves Strangle)

“Wait,” said Brigid. “You’re not writing another sequel to Retrograde Maneuvers? It’s your biggest success so far.”

“I know,” said Greg, “and I fully intend to go back to that, but this horror novel idea has really grabbed me, so to speak. Like Mary Shelley did with Frankenstein, I think I could really explore not just what means to be human, but how to–”

“When do they have sex?” said Brigid. “The marketers will need to know.”

“Uh, what?” said Greg.

“The vampire and the werewolf, when do they have sex?”

“You mean, like, with each other?” said Greg.

Brigid shifted her weight, switching into lecture mode. “I don’t know that much about literary fic, I realize, but I can teach you something about publishing horror. Where in the story the vampire and the werewolf have sex determines your genre, and in publishing, genre is everything. If it happens in act three, it’s ‘fantasy/horror.’ If it happens in act two, it’s ‘paranormal romance.’”

“There aren’t actually any vampires or werew–”

“If it’s acts one, two, and three, of course, it’s porn. Which honestly, is your best bet for sales. I can suggest some authors if you want to study their technique.”

“Yes, well,” said Greg. “You’ve certainly taught me something about publishing horror.”

“That’s what friends are for,” said Brigid.

-The Gneech

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next B&G–>

Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.

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