R&J Love Affair in Boston — IV

Just a head's up: this is where the story differentiates a lot from canon (not that it hasn't already). Let's face it: Chuck shows at 8/7c on NBC, which means there's not a lot of things like blood spatter or brutal violence, and they skirt a lot of the unseemlier topics, choosing to do the lighthearted instead.

Too bad I didn't get the memo.  Parts of this next segment may not be for the faint of heart, as they say. Or, you know, people with taste.  But I'm still going to post it anyway.


Get Your Vote On!

Less than 24 hours to vote and try to get your choice to win!  Tomorrow, we'll reveal the winners and vault the four other stories (no, we're not going to write them; please stop asking), and mxpw and I will tell you our plans on how to make this summer serial happen.

Here's the poll!  Last day!

Happy voting!

Frea (and Maximus)


The Art of Active Voice

Confession: I love dragons.

I have, for a long time. One of my favorite movies growing up was Pete’s Dragon, as a kid I adored Bruce Coville, then I moved on to Anne McCaffrey. I have an entire collection of eastern and western dragons people have given me over the years (I added to this collection on my vacation), I have written multiple novels about dragons and their riders, both good and evil.

So, by all rights, I should adore Christopher Paolini’s Eragon series. It’s Star Wars! With dragons!

Yeah, not so much. Truth is, I can’t get through the friggin’ first chapter. The voice is just SO passive.

Recently, I came across an article on the passive voice, which got me thinking I should be a big old copycat and talk about this phenomenon myself. If you’re starting to get the feeling I don’t come up with anything original on my own, you’d be right. So what is the passive voice?

Dictionary.com says:
One of the two “voices” of verbs ( see also active voice). A verb is in the passive voice when the subject of the sentence is acted on by the verb. For example, in “The ball was thrown by the pitcher,” the ball (the subject) receives the action of the verb, and was thrown is in the passive voice. The same sentence cast in the active voice would be, “The pitcher threw the ball.”
Then dictionary.com writes my entire article for me by adding this:
Note : It is usually preferable to use the active voice wherever possible, because it gives a sense of immediacy to the sentence.
Really, I should let that sentence do all of my work for me and instead go write Fates or RAJ or Greater, but unfortunately for you non-writers out there, I’m going to go into detail on this subject.


That Which is Greater: Winter Break

I'm still on vacation (well, driving back from it right now), but I wrote this for you before I left.  There was some debate about whether or not I should post it, but it's fun.  Yet another brief excerpt from the future of That Which is Greater, something I wrote for the sheer hell of it.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!



Lazy Summer Serial Voting!

So here it is, your chance to vote at last! You've seen the five excerpts, ratings, and synopses, you've listened to our author comments, now it's time for you to decide what mxpw and I will focus on this summer (when we're not writing other things, working, or taking classes). Will we see Morgan as the Intersect? Will we find out how the West was really won? Take a bow with Sarah Walker? Join Jenny Burton at the Buy More? Or will we find out what GKW really means (ask Michael K!)? The choice is yours (and everybody else's).

I've created this wonderful poll with Polldaddy for all of our handy voting needs. Unlike the polls I've created on Blogger, hopefully this one won't have a cloud crash halfway through and lose all of our results. Also, I've enabled it so that you should only be able to vote once per day (though I know a lot of you know plenty of ways to get around that; I have washed my hands of it and trust that you will be the honorable sots I imagine you to be in my head). On Friday, we will announce the winner, and the Lazy Summer Serial of 2011 will kick off!

Just a few notes: most of the stories are dual POV, switching between Chuck and Sarah (one may not be, I'm not sure).  All stories promise romance, mxpw and Frea working together, and Casey actually features in a few of them (not saying which).  We will have the story finished by the premiere of Chuck S5, too.  We've already made a deal that we're allowed to complain, but if Frea bites mxpw's head off, dire things will happen, minion or no.

Meanwhile, don't forget to hop on the blog tomorrow night to see the fabulous Wepdiggy talk about the first episode of Fringe! I've got some stuff going on, but I'll be back on to share my opinions on the first episode (smiling Olivia! D'awww!), too.

And since I know you're all dying to cast your vote, here it is:

- Frea


Lazy Summer Serial Entry #5

Title: Jenny Burton vs. the World

Genre: Romantic Comedy/Spy Humor

Rating: PG-13

Possibility for SWP: Like Violet Bartowski, the Force is strong with this one.

Flantering Rating: Flirting, friendship, miscommunication, humor, all rolled up into one. It's like Chuck vs. the Suburbs without the totally strange beginning. Oh, and the Suburbs, too.

Movie Influences: She's All That, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Mrs. Doubtfire

Synopsis: On a temporary assignment to investigate an underground smuggling ring, working for an electronics chain with very little supervision and structure might seem like the perfect cover identity. Too bad Sarah Walker didn't take the Nerd Herd supervisor into account when she donned her nerd glasses and became Jenny Burton. Now it's a comedy of errors vs. a case of mistaken identity and Sarah's biggest romantic foe isn't Lou the Sandwich Girl anymore.

It's Jenny Burton.

Why You Should Vote for This One: Sarah, as a nerd. What could possibly go wrong? (Answer: oh, so, so, so much) Frea and mxpw tackle the Buy More together for the first time, too, and you wouldn't want to miss that, would you?


Lazy Summer Serial Entry #4

Title: Curtain Call

Genre: Romantic Comedy/Spy Humor

Rating: PG-13

Possibility for SWP: The "p" could be literal in this case, but Sarah just ain't that type of actress, y'all.

Flantering Rating: High enough to make Frea sit up and go, "Hell yeah!"

Movie Influences: Romancing the Stone,  Notting Hill, Tropic Thunder

Synopsis: Sarah Walker is all set to be Hollywood's Next Big Thing.  She's done her time on the D-list, has a few stinkers under her belt, has earned critical acclaim, and now casting directors are calling her, not the other way around.  But even having one of Hollywood's most famous faces can't always save you from a case of mistaken identity.  When a mixup lands her in trouble , the CIA sends their best agent for protection.  Well, they meant to...but those agents are all unavailable.  So they send Chuck Bartowski instead.  Now it's a fish out of water tale in the fishbowl of Beverly Hills, and the only thing scarier than the bad guys are the Paparazzi.

Why You Want to Vote for this Story: Sarah. Skimpy dresses.  Red carpets.  Dragging along an awkwardly tuxedoed Chuck to random Hollywood events.  Did we mention the skimpy dresses?  Let's mention the skimpy dresses again.

Author's Notes: This one reminds us a little bit of that story Walker's Eleven, but without a con.  Only in this universe, both Chuck and Sarah's storyline altered at some point to be different than canon.  Honestly, this story just sounds like a lot of fun for both Frea and mxpw.  And we can't be sure, but Chuck might randomly break out into song with, "And I will always looooooooove you."  Just saying.


Lazy Summer Serial Entry #3

Title: Outpost GKW

Genre: Action/Adventure/Spy Thriller

Rating: PG-13

Possibility for SWP: If Sarah isn't stripped down to her underwear in the first eight pages, Maximus is a monkey's uncle.

Flantering Rating: Pretty much the equivalent of Chuck vs. the Role Models, but, you know, fewer tigers

Movie Influences: Sahara, Are the Gods Crazy?, Escape from New York

Synopsis: What if Chuck had had the choice to join the CIA in college, and had said no?  Driven back to the Agency's arms by a crisis of conscience, Chuck enlists and find the CIA is not exactly a cakewalk.  This is the story of Chuck Bartowski, Charles Carmichael, Bryce Larkin, Sarah Walker, and the things they did to land them into the CIA's Hall of Fame...or was that the Hall of Infamy?

Why You Want to Vote for this Story: So that all of Frea's research into dehydration wasn't for naught.  And to make mxpw actually listen to all of one of Frea's plots.

Author's Notes: The first time I told Chris about this story, he was like, "So it's your version of Twist of Fate, huh?"  And in a way, it might be, but I don't think the stories are actually all that similar.  For one thing, I can promise you no Red Test drama.  This is a story that will feature a confident version of Chuck, and competent versions of Sarah and Bryce.


Lazy Summer Serial Entry #2

Title: Courting Ms. Sarah

Genre: Historical/Action/Adventure/Romance

Rating: PG

Possibility for SWP: We might catch a glimpse of Sarah's rather shapely ankles.  How scandalous!  And plenty of CBP for the ladies.

Flantering Rating: Fairly low, but it makes up for it in heart.

TV/Movie Influences: The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., Maverick

Synopsis: It's a time for railroads and ranching, for lawlessness and cowboys. Chuck Bartowski, youngest son of Stephen Bartowski, wants nothing more than to be left alone to his daydreams and inventions. But with Marshal Shaw gunning for the deed to Orion Ranch, Chuck must save his father's land any way he can.

Things only get more interesting when Chuck's older sister rolls into town with a companion in tow. Sarah Walker, born and bred in Boston, has no idea what to expect out West. She certainly never expects to be pulled in two directions by the smooth talking Bryce or his earnest younger brother Chuck. Now it's brother versus brother and lawman versus anarchy in a place where the land is as unforgiving as the locals.

Why You Want to Vote for this Story: To make mxpw have to type the absurd Bryce Bartowski name over and over again.  Also, to slowly torture Frea by making her research historical things.

Author's Notes: We promise not to copy ninjaVanish with this, though if you're going to mimic somebody, he'd be the way to go.  And we solemnly swear to show as much of Sarah's ankles as we possibly can.  Because we're generous like that.


Lazy Summer Serial Entry #1

Title: My Best Friend’s Girlfriend is a Spy

Genre: Action/Adventure/Romance

Rating: PG-13

Possibility for SWP: Stronger than Fates, not as likely as Banality

Flantering Rating: Closer to Greater than R&J

Movie Influences: The Italian Job, Sniper

Synopsis: Months ago, Morgan Grimes intercepted an email meant for one Chuck Bartowski and since then, life has never been the same for our gangly nerd. To start off, things just get stranger and stranger around the Burbank Buy More, until one day Morgan disappears completely.

Now, armed only with the idea that something just isn't right with John Casey and Morgan's girlfriend Sarah, Chuck launches a one-man investigation. His search will take him around the world, gaining him the oddest of companions and uncovering years of secrets. Will he and the mysterious Sarah be able to bust the bearded Intersect out of his hiding place? And who is this equally-mysterious benefactor?

Author's Notes: I know we all groaned when Morgan put on the sunglasses in Chuck vs. the Cliffhanger and that the term “Morgan’s girlfriend Sarah” probably made quite a few of you give out a short scream of horror, but things are never as they seem in a Frea story. Lots of quality Sarah and Chuck time in this one.


The Great Fringe Rewatch 2011

Thirty years from now, when you're sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks you, “What did you do in the great Fringe Rewatch 2011,” you won’t have to say, “Well…I shoveled shiz in Louisiana.” — George C. Scott, Patton 1970

It was forty-one years ago that now famous line was spoken on the Silver Screen, but it still holds true today. How the makers of that film had the foresight to predict the awesomeness of Fringe, I'll never know. And more than that, if they knew how awesome it would be, why didn't they make the show then?

Wait a tick, I'm being told that's not how the line went. Apparently the Patton character was talking about some war, or something. I guess my brain has just been taken over by Anna Torv and company, and now I inject Fringe into every moment of my life. Want to see what that feels like? Well, my friends, join me as we rewatch the awesomeness that is Fringe unfold, from the beginning.

Lazy Summer Serial

As I’m sure the regular followers (both on this blog and on twitter) of Frea know, she likes to imagine different Chuck fic scenarios. Most of the time, I indulge her in this, and even encourage her flights of fantasy. Yes, I say that like if I didn’t, she’d stop. Yeah right.

Most often, the readers reap the rewards of this. Many of her Fatesverse side stories, Greater, Greater: Disneyland, and R&J are all the result of her and I (or her and her other minions), bouncing ideas back and forth about whatever plot bunny bursts into her brain. And believe me, they are legion.

R&J is actually what got me thinking. The way she posts it on the blog, a little section at a time, is like how serial writing used to be back in the day. For those who don’t know, a serial story (Charles Dickens is a famous example of somebody who did this) is a story that is published periodically, and by that I mean that a chapter would be published like once a month in a magazine or newspaper. And you would read it as each new chapter came out. In many ways, that’s what Frea does with R&J. The difference between what Frea does with R&J and a normal writer who posts their fanfic on FF.net is that R&J is in many ways a piecemeal story.

But wouldn’t it be great if we could do what she’s doing with R&J, but actually have it adapt to a full blown story, with reader input, and all the works? Only it wouldn’t be published on FF.net like normal fanfic, but here on the blog? I think it would be great, so that’s what we’re going to do. Plus, I’m gonna be honest, the hope is to get the blog eyeballs, but also I think this format allows you, the readers, to have more input in how the story unfolds than you would on FF.net. We’ll see how it goes. This is really an experiment.

Over the next week, Frea and I are going to post excerpts of FIVE different story ideas. They range from the absurd (Morgan as the Intersect? That’s so crazy, it could never happen!) to a complete alternate universe (Chuck and Sarah in the old West? WHAT? And no, this is nothing like Chuck vs. the Frontier). Each day will have a new excerpt and the order is as follows:
TuesdayMy Best Friend's Girlfriend is a Spy (An Intersected Morgan tale)
WednesdayCourting Miss Sarah
ThursdayOutpost GKW
FridayCurtain Call
SaturdayJenny Burton vs. the World
On Sunday, we will open a poll and allow the blog readers to vote on which serial we will do. You will have till Friday of the following week to decide. And yes, emphasis on the “we.” This is a joint project between Frea and myself, so whichever one you pick, we will both be writing for it. I hope that doesn’t discourage you.

So enjoy and by all means, let us know what you think! Part of the point of this idea is to get the readers involved, so don’t be shy. Share your thoughts!

- mxpw and Frea



Okay, just one present.  Sorry for the lack of blogging lately, I've been, uh...well, you probably know what I've been up to, honestly.


And you can get the ebooks of that majestic story here.




What the Frak is Wepdiggy Reading? The Wedding Edition

So in honor of the recent nuptials of our favorite spy couple, I've decided a very special Wedding Edition of What the Frak is Wepdiggy Reading was in order. Because as we all know, nothing screams "wedding" like fanfiction, right? RIGHT!?

Well, right or not, I have not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR stories you should be reading, or should have already read. Check them out, after the cut.


Moar Goodies!

Okay, now that I'm done cringing at my spelling of "more," I'll let you know there are several new additions to the Downloads page.  Jimmy 144 sent me several of his books to convert into ebooks, so you can find those here.  And then I went and converted an oldie for my own reading pleasure, and decided to share (and I found a new use for the famous T-shirt pic, too!), so you can get a copy of Moe23's fabulous Sarah vs. Green Bay here.

And of course, I've been a really, really bad friend lately.  I've made all of these ebooks, but I have yet to immortalize anything belonging to the great mxpw (besides Double Agent, of course) into an ebook.

So I did that today, creating Chuck vs. the Man in Black and The mxpw Collection, which contains all of mxpw's greatest hits, including Chuck vs. the Cabin in the Woods, Sarah vs. It's a Not So Wonderful Life, and my personal favorite, Chuck vs. Two Smoking Barrels.

You can get all of those here, of course.

Hope your weekend's fabulous!



Help a Guy Out!

So Frea asked me to do a blog post today and I have to admit, it was a struggle. After an exhausting day, my brain was fried. But thanks to an e-mail by the smart and awesome zappeej, as well as my own curiosity, I started thinking about how to write a good female character. I mean, most of us here love Sarah Walker (at least the sane among us). We love her on the show and we love her in fic. But she can sometimes be a struggle to write "right." I know I struggle with her in my own fic. How exactly does one write a strong female character? Well, fortunately, Frea, being the most benevolent overlord that she is, was more than willing to help me figure out this question.

Borrowing the mxpw vs. Frea format for this post, what follows after the link is our conversation. Here, Frea gives some great tips on how to write a female character, as well as gives some examples of strong female characters for those of us who want to learn more about this important writing topic.


Pardon Our Dust

Frea just can't leave a good thing (Sarah's T-shirt) alone, apparently.

Things will be changing on the blog over the next couple of weeks, so please ignore any construction crews that track mud through your office and home in the meantime.




Oh, fine, here you go:


R&J — A Love Affair in Boston, Part III

Here's the third installment of hopefully five installments to this little adventure.  Just remember: Chuck doesn't hit girls, so it comes down to some fisticuffs or something, he's at a distinct disadvantage.




mxpw vs. Frea - Chuck vs. the Last Details

Chuck vs. the Last Details
Season 4, Episode 23, original air-date May 9, 2011

Chuck and Sarah's wedding planning includes one final detail: ensuring that the mother-of-the-groom makes it to the ceremony on time and alive. Meanwhile, Morgan's responsibilities as Best Man include his most dangerous mission yet, as he faces Vivian Volkoff. Elsewhere, Ellie tends to the last details of the rehearsal dinner and seeks help from an unlikely source.

Nearly a month late, here's what mxpw and Frea thought of Last Details. And yes, this episode was half-written by Frea's favorite Chuck writer. Did that save it? Click the link to find out.


R&J — A Love Affair in Boston, Part II

Continued from where the last one left off!


Have a good one.


R&J - A Love Affair in Boston

This excerpt takes place a month after Chuck knocked Sarah out and left her in an alley in Spain. Enjoy!