I Blame the Dutch (mpoetess) wrote,
I Blame the Dutch

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First Lines (A Day Late and Several Dollars Short)

Because I'm kinda burned out on talking about Seeing Red. If I owe you comments or responses, I'll honestly try to answer soon, but... it's just emotionally tiring for everybody, and I'm not immune.


What I think counts as my first solo fanfiction, completed story, first line, from Spring, Like a Virus:

In Washington, the rain is coming down in greysilver sheets across the ashy pavement.

Not awful, but it needed a better verb than "coming," unless someone actually was. Which they didn't. Also, inventing new color words doesn't bode well -- and and indeed, it foreshadowed a story where Mulder smells Scully's hair, and... Sigh. At least I didn't pick strawberries. I think this counts as the only hetfic I've ever written that wasn't part of a mainly slash story, or an understood part of a single-character canon piece.

I'm not giving you the link. Not. It's on my site, if you're masochistic enough.


They can't find us here.

From The Way It Is Now, a character snippet based on Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived In The Castle. Not at all visually descriptive, or lyrical, but it does a decent job of introducing the general insanity and paranoia of the character, I think.


"Bloody hell... we're out of Weetabix again!"

Count Spikeula. The opening story-chapter to Chocolatey Goodness.

Well. You know. Um. I was young, and there were these girls on the street talking about Spike and Xander, and how it really wasn't dangerous or addictive, and all the cool kids were doing it...

But honestly? For a dialogue opener, it sets the character, it riffs on an existing BtVS gag that has a certain comfortable but not cliched (well, at the time this was written) familiarity, and the line is pretty much the crux of a 400+ page still-unfinished series. It all happens because they're out of Weetabix, because Xander is fun to mess with, and Count Chocula stays crunchy in blood.


Gunn stood in the doorway, watching.

Pillow. Serviceable. Sets the scene, sets the story, which is all about watching and not seeing and not wanting to see. But hardly inspired.


Lindsey says: When you've got nothing, you still fight like a bastard to keep it, 'cause it's all you've got.


It should lose the "still." Other than that, it's a dialogue opener, but I think it's a damn fine one. It's an epigram, which runs through the whole story. What Lindsey says. What Oz says. How they mix and don't match. The venerable wisdom of Lindsey McDonald, lonely idiot.


He dips his toothbrush under the water.

Reflections. Bathroom rituals, thank you Puca. It's short, a little bit poetic with the use of "dip" as the verb, an elegant movement as opposed to, say, "dunk" -- yet utterly familiar at the same time. Something everyone does. Like looking in the mirror and not seeing their lover standing behind them.


She watches the raindrops hit the windowpane, and almost sings.

Pianissimo. Bleh. Out of context from the rest of the story, it almost implies that she's happy, which is far from the case. It doesn't even let you know that she is Tara. And rain/pane makes me wince. I much prefer the closing line: She swallows the tears, swallows the stone in her own mouth, trying to imagine how she'll ever sing again when right now she's not sure if she can even breathe.


It's just a little piece of rock.

Rock and a Hard Place. I like this. It's Spike, thinking about his chip. Tying his whole shitty general-season-5 existence to music and immovable sharp stone and the rocks in his head. It's direct, and would make me want to know what's just a little piece of rock, and what's so special about it.


The first thing Doyle did when he realized he was dead was shout out a great and resounding "Feck all!"

Skelping Snicker. So, obviously not a dark, angsty story of mourning and recovery. It's funny, it's unexpected, and it certainly sets the tone for a story where a ghost who can't even be seen, heard or touched manages to drink Guinness, fall in love, get fallen in love with, and have an epiphany on how to manage the shagging part while watching a Steve Gutenberg movie.


He came to my bed on Memorial Day.

Dangerously Thin. Angel, being a bit more poetic than perhaps he should. I dunno how in character the whole piece was, in terms of internal monologue, and this is a good example of it. Not badly written, a bit archaic, basically Angel thinking like Angelus once Darla had him properly civilized. I suppose that's appropriate for an Angel who spends the whole piece whining internally about how much he doesn't deserve Spike and isn't ever going to get him back, when Spike's right there in his arms. (Which would be why the companion piece is called Thick Headed. ) But it's kind of Angel-as-Louis. Or Angel-as-nonspecific-too-literary-vamp, since I'm not a vampchron fan, and have only read the first three novels long ago, not nearly in enough depth to actually pick up Louis as an archetype.


Sunnydale, California.

Dyeing Young. Well. Yes. Kinda says it all. Except anything about the actual story. The opening few lines are a little better: Sunnydale, California. Wal-Mart. Midnight. Summer. Two girls in the middle of the hair-care aisle, arguing good-naturedly about the colors in which the world gets painted. That's the story. Short, fast, and pointless. All about the complete lack of natural color on BtVS, and the dimensional vortex that is Wal-mart if you feed it after midnight.


Just to suprise my co-writers, because I never use co-written stories in these writing-thought-spawn-of-thamiris memes. (I don't feel like I can take credit for them. Feels like I'm cheating.) But these are, iirc, opening lines that I was responsible for.

He waited until they were out of sight.

Company in Hell.

Not very descriptive, but hints of mysterious doings, and the taint of loneliness and desperation that draws Spike and Giles together in the wake of Buffy's death.

A fairly tame opener for a story that saves its descriptive rabbit-punches for further in.


"But I don't like cucumbers!" Spike protested.

Salad Days Um. It's one of the few Domestic Piranha stories that I opened? DP started almost completely as improv, completely unplotted, and usually James would throw out the opening lines. This is Spike being whiney and kinky (because he does like cucumbers, just not to eat) and trying to distract Xander from making salad. Which he finally manages to do by proposing marriage.

My *favourite* passage from this story is, of course, written by James: It made being fucked almost inconsequential. Unimportant, distant as the smell of raw cucumbers and the sound of city traffic, way down below them.

Gah. The smell of raw cucumbers and the sound of city traffic. Fuck me now. My most memorable contribution? (Er, to me, at the moment.)

Spike fought valiantly to actually speak English. Or at least Fyarl, in which he'd taught Xander the three most important phrases:

  1. 'More cookies, please.'
  2. 'Duck!'
  3. 'Fuck me now.'

Number three was the only one that really applied, though, and Xander was well on his way to complying with it anyway, so Spike strove for the English.

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