Writing types, post the best snippet you've written

Or at least a bit you find especially good / fun / interesting.

I’ve been rereading some of my stuff lately (rather than, y’know, getting anything worthwhile done) and one bit jumped out at me as especially good banter. (I love me some banter, I do I do)

It’s from something that I hope I will eventually turn into a comic (probably on the web). A group of villains are playing poker (which is probably stupid on my part, since I don’t) I still need to do more to a couple of them so they’re not such rip-offs of Batman characters, but…

So! I know a bunch of you are working on NaNoWriMo. I know at least one of you (-poke poke-) is working on a Non-NaNo severally awesome novel. Share something!

I no longer have a lot of my best writing…

Of what I do still have easy access to…this passage always manages to pique peoples’ interest… (From my NaNo last year.)

The names should be familiar. >_> They’re swiped from real people.

I’m not one for snippets. It’s hard to take something out a story and make it work. For instance, I’m very proud of this exchange:

“And how many will you have to kill to create your better world?”
He looked at me with steely eyes. “A hell of a lot less than six million,” he said softly.

Trust me that this is a kick-ass exchange in context, but doesn’t really make much of an impact here.

Also, I feel that if you get too involved in particularly good snippets in your writing, you may be missing the bigger picture.

I was in the middle of Cry Me a River when I noticed him.

The set was going all right. But I was going through the motions and the audience knew it. They liked me okay, but they weren’t in love with me. Some nights you’re on, and some nights you’re not, and by then I didn’t care all that much.

Until I saw him in the darkness. He sat alone and very still, his gaze following me around the stage. Most of the crowd never really pays attention to the entertainment, but he was. And he wasn’t impressed. He sat with his drink on the table before him and his face blank, watching me. I wasn’t touching him at all.

You weren’t trying to touch him, Sandy, I thought. You were just calling this one in over the phone.

Of course I was. I was singing jazz that year. Popular jazz, familiar tunes people knew or half-remembered, nothing too way out for the suburbanites. And I was bored. Singing the same songs over and over, to an audience more interested in their highballs and balling later than in me. Still, I didn’t like the way the man in the shadows in front of the stage watched me as if he knew something I didn’t.

I was used to being assessed and judged. But more than an audience’s usual dare–entertain me–came off him. There was a quiet arrogance, and something else maybe I was the only one who felt. It made me a little angry, and so I sang to him the rest of the set. Sometimes I do that–pick out a face in the crowd and make them my only audience. Why not him? He was a good-looking man from what I could see, and that was all right, too. I didn’t have much of a career, and I didn’t have a steady man in my life. So I sang to him. I didn’t figure it would be for the rest of the night though, because who’d stick around that long?

Even I knew I wasn’t that good.

This is an excerpt from a short piece of erotic fiction I wrote about six years ago, called “Serendipitous”. I wrote it with the specific intent of using striking contrasts to tell the story, so it might seem a bit overdone.

The protagonist is a 21-year-old guy named Seth, who plays bass in a garage band with some other 20- & 21-year-old guys, and the story opens with an extremely chaotic scene of the band preparing to start a rehearsal. But Seth has a story to tell his friends, and with some difficulty he gets them to shut the hell up and listen. He describes how he went to a bar the previous night, but got tired of listening to “…all that fuckin’ ancient '70s shit” on the jukebox, and decided to go to the local underage club to listen to something current. There, he encounters a young lady who is out alone, celebrating her 18th birthday …


Alone, in the dark outside the dorm building, Sarah soaked her hands with tears as the night sky soaked the rest of her with tears of its own.

Jeez…how to choose? I spend long enough with my stuff that I can’t tell too easily what’s the “best” I’ve done, and what’s just my favorite. Assuming it’s not just crap to begin with.

Well, here goes…


*The briefcase slid across the desk surface with the smooth, velvety sound of leather against rosewood, belying it’s considerable bulk. A gloved hand reached around it’s manacle, keyed a combination, and opened the lid.

Yet another screen waited inside, immediately flickering to life.

A single, tabbed menu appeared, with a master title “SIOP

The President carefully removed a pair of booklets from the simple integral keyboard, placed a finger to the trackball, and clicked the tab labeled MAJ ATK OPTNS—CENTCOM.

The menu changed into a table of arcane codewords, next to a default map window.

“…It’s ‘118_GOCHIHR.’” came a voice at the President’s side. Daria turned to the National Security Advisor, raising an eyebrow. “You wrote it?”

Eulmeyer shrugged. “Not all of it.”

*Good old RAND, *thought the President, clicking the button again.

The map display grew, showing a full representation of the Khalifah.

“Henry, Chief…are you linked up?”

A row of red LEDs blinked by the side of the screen, before the replies came on the comm line.

“I see it on my end, ma’am.”

“Pentagon Actual. We are go.”

“All right, let’s see a full target list…” The President drug an onscreen slider from it’s default position, to it’s opposite extreme. Obligingly, a text window above the slider changed from “MINIMUM” to “DOUBLE PLUS MAXIMUM.

Daria almost forced herself to look look at the map screen…and the multitude of new targets superimposed on the map.

Good god…

Eulmeyer stabbed at the screen with a long index finger. “As you can see, Red is for ‘counterforce’ targets—military, strategic assets. That’s ‘First Strike’ stuff. Yellow is for ‘countervalue’ targets…”

“…‘Second Strike.’ Population centers, industrial assets. Natural resources.” The President finished.

Buzcout’s voice crackled over the line, again. “Now transmitting modifications to SIOP based on Chinese data…”

There was an uncharacteristically long delay, accompanied by the blinking LEDs, as the deeply encrypted data was received, decoded, processed.

About half of the yellow dots disappeared, with a much smaller handful of the red ones, replaced by pulsing orange. Curiously, a rough line of dots seemed to have been planted along the Khalifah’s twisted northern border…apparently away from anything of possible value. The President squinted…and at least one was in the southern Caspian Sea.

“General…the data you sent me looks like they’re making a…‘skirmish line’ to the north. Is this right?”

“It’s right…” Eulmeyer said, leaning across the desk. “General, this looks like the Chinese are trying something we call ‘Fallout Sculpting’…surface-bursting nukes in empty sectors upwind of spots they want to target. Like…crapping in the Mississippi at Baton Rouge to give New Orleans cholera…”

The President’s eyes twisted towards the advisor, almost on their own. Nasty.

There was a pause, and some muffled speech sounds on the line, before the Chairman of the Join Chiefs came back on. “Yes…they’re telling me the same thing, here. It certainly seems to explain some things.”

‘They?’ Ah, of course…“General, is doctor DeWitt there? While we’re on the subject, I’d like to have him start on—”

“Ma’am,” Buzcout interrupted, “There’s something I think you should see, first. Transmitting now…”

Delay, flicker, and a sprinkling of new dots, blue this time, appeared on the Football’s map screen.

“These are the targets that Chinese intel suggests we hit, minus a few that we DID already know about…” The President scanned the image…a number of the pulsing dots—bunkers, or safe houses, Daria imagined—were on the outskirts of cities, a few in the countryside, or in the nooks of mountain ranges…

…and the rest were aligned, filling in gaps, with the line of orange dots to the north.

*“Son…of a bitch…”

Wow, now I wish I could read the rest of all of you guys’ stuff.

I suppose I’ll throw another one out (from my NaNo from 2006.) Actually this bit I had come up with randomly at some point and saved the appropriate story.

Anyone else find writing Medieval style English to be way too much fun?

This is a great thread. I’m loving these. Anyway, I’m not a writer, but I wrote a novel for NaNo 2006. It’s neither good nor memorable, but I wrote it, all 50K+ words. I’ve barely looked at it since, but here’s the part that sticks in my head and still cracks me up to this day:


A red-haired friend once told me that the only hot red-haired people were fake-red-haired people. “What about Conan O’Brien?” I asked, skeptical. He looked at me as if I were crazy.

Whatever. Conan’s wife is a lucky woman.

If anyone of the larger works are posted online could you please include links. I’ve found some of these excerpts fascinating.

This is part of something I started on some time ago. It’s actually an accurate description of my time spent living in St. Thomas, VI.

Had an idea to “update” Aesop’s Fables for a child friend. The gimmick would be that the Tortoise would wander through each story as he undertook his slow, steady race. Here’s one of the stories I toyed with:

THE FOX AND THE GRAPES

A hungry fox came grumbling along the road one sunny buzzing Tuesday. This particular fox, name of Dennis, hadn’t had anything to eat since half past breakfast and his rumbly stomach would not let him forget it. He stopped abruptly: a deliciously grapey smell was fluttering about his nostrils. Now, being a fox, he knew that few things smell as deliciously grapey as delicious grapes, so he began looking around him with juicy thoughts of lunch.

And there they were. It seems that in his grumbly bumbling, Dennis had stumbled upon a grape arbor. And few arbors, thought Dennis, as he made his way toward the it, are as deliciously grapey as a stumbled upon grape arbor.

Now arbors, being arbors, tend to be higher than they are low. And foxes, tending not to be birds, or even monkeys, tend to find themselves, when compared to a grape arbor, rather lower than they are high. So the position that Dennis found himself in—well below the delicious grapes—was not a unique one, especially in those parts of the world where foxes are likely to find themselves stumbling upon grape arbors.

And so Dennis did the thing that any fox, in such a situation, would find himself compelled to do. He jumped.

Now, if you stop to think along with me, you might find yourself agreeing that a road is called a road because it often finds itself being traveled upon. (How that connection came to be I have no idea, but I think you are hardly likely to deny that there is such a connection.) And on this sunny buzzing Tuesday morning, as it turns out, this road was no exception to this general rule, as it did indeed find itself being traveled upon. That the traveler was a tortoise who had far more important things on his mind than the curious behavior of a hopping fox has very little to do with this story, however, so we will pause just long enough to allow the tortoise a double take, and then return our attention to Dennis.

Well, Dennis, in our momentary absence, had had it just about up to here. He had done the required: he had jumped, and hopped, he had leaped and bounced, he had flung himself into the air at LEAST a hundred and eighty-seven and a half times, and still the grapes remained just out of reach. And don’t let’s forget about gravity. When you fling a thing—even if that thing is yourself, and even if that self is a fox—it just does not stay flung. Every majestic flight that Dennis undertook in his efforts to achieve his lunch goals ended in a dusty thump (sometimes more than one, depending upon wind direction and bounce factor).

And so let us take stock of the situation. Let us freeze a moment in time, and see where we are. We have some delicious grapes hanging plumply from a grape arbor. Beneath these grapes, we have a fox named Dennis, suspended in that bittersweet moment we’re all familiar with: the moment when flight becomes freefall, and anticipation becomes fear: we have not reached the grapes; we will hit the ground. It is at this moment, when time seems to stand still, when the comfy buzz of a summer afternoon is transformed, without changing, into the tinny screech of onrushing mortality, that we say quietly, to ourselves—“Oh great, now that tortoise thinks I’m an idiot”—just as the dusty earth slams us into a moment of darkness.

“And anway,” we say, as we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and run after the tortoise in order to explain, “now that I’ve had a moment to think, those grapes actually looked a little sour.”

ETA: I hesitate to call this my best, but my best tends either to be pretty personal, or about movies. And I didn’t want to hijack the thread into a Verhoeven discussion again :wink:

Here’s a little something for a story I’ve started working on. Not NaNoWriMo. Just a fun little story. This was where I set the ‘voice’ for the story.

Perhaps the oldest story form is that of the ghost story.

I can imagine my great-great-great-great-great-etc-grandfather Untahentupet sitting around the fire pit, and telling a story to the rest of the clan. The way I see it he’s the father of all of us story tellers. And of those of us who like to hear stories, too. So he’s your great-great-great-great-etc-grandfather, too.

Now he was a proper story teller. He’d maybe liven things up with a pile of dried leaves sitting next to him, to make the fire flare at dramatic times. Other times he’d emphasize the tension of the story by pouring a little water onto the flame, making them die down, letting the darkness come closer around the fire. And with his soft, scratchy voice, he’d cast a spell – one of fear, and bravery. Maybe there’d be a lesson in the story. And maybe not. Not every story needs a lesson, after all. Some are just fun.

But, a proper ghost story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Now, Untahuntupet, might muddle things up, by starting in the middle. Or even at the end, and then explaining how things got there. But he was a craftsman, and he’d always make sure that his story had a beginning, a middle and an end.

The ghost story I’m going to tell isn’t a proper ghost story. I’ve got plenty of middle. I’ve got muddle, too. And confusion and daring-do, and all sorts of other story elements. But I don’t really have a beginning. Or I have too many beginnings, and Untahuntupet would not approve of that at all. It’s just not proper.

I also don’t have an end. I have a place I plan to end my narrative, but it’s not really an end to the story, since, in the real world, things don’t just stop. At least not unless everyone involved is dead. And even then there are bugs and other gross things going on, so you can’t say that everything has ended. So I don’t have an end.

I don’t even know if this is a ghost story.

I think it is. But it’s awfully hard to get a ghost to stand still be measured and tested, and compared to the accepted standards of ghostology. And my ghost is even more problematical than most. First off, while this story will supply us with a body, or two, it’s not the right body. After all, in a proper ghost story at least one of the bodies is going to be that the ghost used to inhabit. At the moment, however, the body that my ghost came from is upstairs in his room, playing his hip-hop too damned loud, and not dead at all. Like I said, it’s not a proper dead body for a ghost.

So, if one needs a dead body for my ghost, and the ghost’s body is still alive, was it really a ghost? I don’t know. Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn’t.

Untahuntupet definitely would be shaking his head at me, now and telling me that I’m going about this all wrong. And muttering to himself, so we could all hear – all of us around the fire pit, “Not a proper ghost story at all. This younger generation – no respect. Not proper at all.”

So, I have to begin by apologizing to Untahuntupet. This isn’t a proper ghost story. I don’t have a single, clear beginning. I know where it began for me. And I can point to some beginnings for other people – but no one person’s beginning will work for all of us involved in this story. Not proper at all.

Untahuntupet will have to admit I’ve plenty of middle. And I’ve got all the things that a middle should have, too: Derring-do, scoundrels, and heros. And lots of people in-between. And some of the scoundrels become heros. And maybe a hero is really scoundrel. All of this Untahuntupet would approve of. These are all hallowed traditions that he began for us, all those many years ago around the fire pit.

And I have a ghost. I think. It’s mysterious, and a ghost is supposed to be mysterious. Untahuntupet would have to agree with that. But my ghost lacks a dead body to go with it. If, it’s a ghost at all. Maybe it’s an angel. Or just a meddler of some kind. I think it’s a ghost, though, and since this is my story, that’s what I’m going to call it. Even if it’s not a proper ghost.

But as for endings? I’m afraid if you’re looking for a proper ghost story with an ending that ties everything up, and explains it all so it makes sense, you’re bound to be disappointed, just like Untahuntupet would be. He’d be muttering even louder when I get where I plan to finish my story. He’d be telling us all in a loud voice now, that none of his ghost stories ever left so many loose ends. He’d point to every character I’d left dangling – introduced for a few moments on stage, and then sent back to their lives – and tell us all, how in a proper ghost story all the characters have a purpose. And their purpose would be obvious at the end of the story.

But, as I pointed out earlier, this is my story – and it’s from my life. And things in life just don’t quite work out the way they do in stories. I’ll certainly agree with Untahuntupet that it would be more tidy if things would work out in life they way they do in proper stories. But, here I have to disagree with our revered ancestor. Life may imitate art, but it doesn’t follow the same rules as art. And since my story involves other people, they have their own stories that began outside my own story. They’ll go on doing their own stories, and only dance into my story by accident.

It’s the way of life. And in this case I have to tell Untahuntupet that life, especially my life, in my story is always going to trump what he says is a proper story form. And I hope that after he was done grumping, he’d smile his gap-toothed smile and tell me that I have the one thing that every story teller needs: a stubborn heart.

Even if my ghost story is improper.

Ah, why not. A bit from YA Fantasy Novel With Art:

From a short story of mine:

Great idea for a thread-- and I want to read more from you all - snippets are fun, but I’m sure the actual stories are even better! Here are a few of mine…

From a Fantasy story I wrote a couple of years ago:

From a short erotic horror:

ok. :slight_smile: I’ll stop boring you now.

::Looks over shoulder, and back, giving best ‘who, me?’ look::

Well, that one o’ mine is here, if you’re interested.

You can probably recognize the characters quickly enough. :wink:

Ah, hell with it…Mine starts here. Be warned, it was a NaNo, so it rambles a little under word count pressure.

And…for no particular reason, another passage from the same work…a visual that spawned a plotline so I could use it…

From “Kattawagami Untouched” on my website: http://my.tbaytel.net/culpeper/index2.html