Author has written 1 story for Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, and Bones.
My penname is a reference to an episode of Torchwood, also called "Random Shoes." I used it because of this quote: "Life is full of near misses and absolute hits, of great love and small disasters. It's banana milkshakes and loft insulation and random shoes. It's dead ordinary and truly, truly amazing. What you've got to do is realize it's all here, now, so breathe deep and swallow it whole. Because take it from me--life just whizzes by and then all of a sudden it's--" At which point the episode ends. Really.
Language is without reservation my favorite thing in the world, followed closely by storytelling. I hope you have as much fun reading my stories as I have writing them, and that you then go back and watch the shows for the 100th or the first time, because really the whole point of this website is that we all love somebody else's art SO MUCH that we can't bear to let it go.
My Fan Fiction Pet Peeves, Opinions, and Rants:
1. I don't care what the show, the character, or anyone else says, Willow Rosenberg is BISEXUAL. She is attracted to women AND men. Period. Look back at her relationship with Oz, or even (maybe particularly) her short-lived thing with Xander, and then tell me she's only attracted to women. Apparently both Willow and the writers seem to think that being bisexual means being wishy-washy or unable to make up your mind (Grrrr! Argh!).
2. Anya is NOT a mean person. She is a clueless and waaay too honest person. Remember her scene in "The Body"? She cares, she just doesn't usually understand (a bit like Dr. Brennan from Bones, now that I think about it). Watch that scene in "The Body," or anything in "Selfless," or her speech to Andrew in "End of Days," and then just try to hate her.
3. Okay. Chances are, if you are into BtVS, you have very, VERY strong feelings about either Buffy/Angel or Buffy/Spike, so much so that you may be moved to write your very own story about one of these couples. That is lovely. However, please, please, please do not do either of the following: (a) Have Buffy dismiss, ignore, mock, or otherwise belittle her relationship with your non-preferred vampire (in a way she wouldn't naturally; obviously she would say plenty of terrible things about Spike up to season six); (b) Bend, twist, or mangle anyone's character in order to make your ship possible or inevitable. Don't reduce Spike to simple comic relief. Don't have Buffy laugh at Angel or his feelings for her, not ever. Essentially, treat both relationships and all three characters with respect. I'm asking this as a reader who enjoys both ships, and who gets sad when people are mean to the poor vampires.
4. Spike Xander slash is AWESOME. That is all. [This is somewhat off topic. In fact, this is completely off topic. But still true.]
5. Angel is more likable when he's awkward, not to mention adorable. Petty is also a fun thing for Angel to be. Joss said so on his "Chosen" commentary: "...and David doing my all time favorite thing: being petty. Whenever Angel is petty, I think he's at his best."
6. Cordelia is not dumb. Cordelia is not, in fact, even mean. Cordelia simply says what she thinks, all of it, all the time. See "Earshot." She is self-centered, sure, but mostly it's that she's upfront about being self-centered, unlike most people in the known universe. And she doesn't take bullshit from anyone, ever. [I am speaking, of course, of the correct Cordelia, not the blasphemous Cordelia of certain later seasons of Angel.]
7. Okay, so I thought this was self-evident, but...we apparently need to discuss it. BtVS is NOT Twilight. If you wish to write Twilight fanfiction, write Twilight fanfiction. Just because our vampires are sexier doesn't mean you get to play body-swap with Edward/Angel and Bella/Buffy (although, if you took that literally it might make for a pretty great satirical fic...). I mean no disrespect to the Twihards here, this is just a roundabout way of pointing out that these two stories are about different things. In fact, they are about opposite things. Buffy is inherently a feminist show (it doesn't always succeed at its feminism, but it's trying). Twilight is...something else. If you're playing the predator-prey angle in your fic, it is important to remember that BUFFY, not Angel or Spike, is the predator. In other words, Buffy is not a damsel in distress, unless you're writing AU stuff, and even then I can't whole-heartedly approve.
8. Weird trend that sorta bothers me: often in Bangel or Spuffy stories it seems that the prerequisite for the desired ship is that every single Scoobie get killed off in the first five minutes. Why? Do you hate everyone else in the show that much? Do they pose that big a threat to Buffy's sex life? Is Buffy really that incapable of standing up for what she wants? 'cause that's not a trait I've noticed in her. What I'm driving at is that you've eliminated all the interesting (read: character-related) conflicts, and exchanged them for a sort of grief-stricken, possibly apocalyptic haze. Which was probably your intention. So...I should shut up. And stop reading those fics.
General Pet Peeves:
1. Don't start your story with a character sighing. It's not interesting. The first paragraph is the chance you have to grab a reader's attention; do something unexpected. This is particularly important with fanfiction because it is incredibly easy for your reader to just click away. Force them to stay for a little while by making it really hard not to read the next sentence.
2. And, on the subject of first sentences, it's usually best to keep it short and sweet. This may be partially a personal taste thing, but when I read run-on or borderline run-on first sentences like this: "Clem turned from his half-finished sandwich to the screen showing Passions as Spike began to tap his empty bottle of Jack Daniel's harder and harder against the battered chair leg, his frustration evident in every taunt angle of his body," my eyes begin to wander, and I start to take a good hard look at myself and how I'm spending my time, and you just don't come back for a second sentence after that level of depressing. Particularly when writing fanfiction based on television or films, try to think in more cinematic terms. Set up a scene piece by piece, the way a camera might register it. Maybe the first thing we see is Clem's half-demolished sandwich. Then we see Passions on the screen. Then we hear the Jack Daniel's. Then we see the bottle, tapping against the chair leg. Then, finally, we see Spike's face. Granted, this is very much a screenwriter's conceit, but I like to take my images one at a time. "Clem blinked at his half-eaten sandwich. Pickles and cream cheese didn't seem like such a good idea, halfway in. On the screen Theresa was making an impassioned speech of some kind. He couldn't seem to focus on what she was feeling passionate about at the moment, however, as his attention was being inexorably drawn to the thumping emanating from his right." Etc. Give us a simple, vivid image to start.
3. The best fic writers are able to sympathize with every character, even the ones they find annoying, even the ones that have a tendency to come between their favorite ship, even the ones they flat out hate. Try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. It makes for a better, more complex story. Plus, you don't alienate any readers by insulting and/or twisting characters they like. (See above rants about Anya, Cordelia, and Buffy/Angel vs. Buffy/Spike.)
4. Commas are your friend. They give the reader time to breath, time to blink, time to scratch their ear. You can't write music without rests. Punctuation matters.
5. THE ADVERBS ARE ALIENS!!! THEY'VE COME TO TEAR OUT YOUR FINGERNAILS AND EAT YOUR BABIES AND MAKE SWEET SWEET LOVE TO YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER! So, yeah...you should watch out for those.
6. Don't be afraid of the word 'said.' You don't need to come up with a new and brilliant synonym for every line of dialogue. It's distracting and unnecessary. But don't think you need to amend this little maligned word with adverbs either (see above). Between the dramatic context, the characters' actions, and your brilliant dialogue itself, the reader will usually understand how the character is speaking. Also, words like "replied" are even less useful, because they always tell us something we already know.
7. Apostrophe Rant:
--> Apostrophes do two things: first, they indicate possession of something, as in "Buffy's pants." Second, they tell you that letters have been left out, usually when two words have been squished together ("you" and "are" into "you're," "have" and "not" into "haven't"). Otherwise you shouldn't be using an apostrophe. Apostrophes don't belong in plurals, such as "demons, erasers, robots"; just the presence of a final "s" does not demand an apostrophe. [Also, for those who read the fine print, if you are making a plural noun possessive, you put the apostrophe at the end. Example: Buffy's stake = "the slayer's stake," whereas a stake collectively belonging to Buffy, Vi, and Kennedy would be "the slayers' stake."]
--> "Its" (no apostrophe) is possessive, as in "The soulless demon dyes its hair." "It's" is a contraction of "it" and "is," (or "it" and "was," or "it" and "has") as in "It's raining goldfish today." If you can't logically replace your "it's" with "it is," "it was," or "it has" then it's (heh) wrong. I understand this is a bit confusing, as you would usually use an apostrophe to indicate possession, but it's a clarity thing (if a bit arbitrary).
--> "They're" is "they are." "Their" is possessive. "There" is a place. ("Spike is getting his ass kicked by demons in that alley over there. They're hitting him with their umbrellas.")
--> And again, in the same vein: "your" is possessive, while "you're" is a contraction of "you" and "are." Just so that we avoid unintentionally writing things like "you are elbow," or similar nonsense. That way, when we write nonsense, it shall be intentional nonsense. I'm all for intentional nonsense. It's kind of my reason for being.