View Full Version : "You Write Like a Girl!" Excerpt #1

04-29-2007, 06:13 AM
It'll be less awkward reading excepts if they aren't sandwiched in with our running commentary. :) Here's the first submission.


Jason carefully maneuvered his vehicle off the multi-lane Lakeshore Boulevard and onto a relatively smooth patch of dirt. He parked the car behind a large pillar to hide it from prying eyes. I don't need a parking ticket on top of everything else, he thought. Or another broken windshield.

He climbed out of the car and scanned the area, looking for Sheila's beige Cherokee. In the dim light, he barely picked it out against a graffiti-strewn retaining wall that ran parallel to the highway, about fifty yards from the road's edge.

It figures, she's got it well hidden. She was probably making one of her little deals. He shook his head with disgust and pulled the gas can out of the trunk of his BMW.

He strode toward the Jeep and saw her wide, frightened eyes as she peered through the glass. He pointed at the gas opening at the back of the Jeep and she obligingly popped the remote hatch.

After he filled the tank, he leaned against the roof and rolled his fingers at her. She lowered the window and gave him a rewarding smile. Her eyes widened. "What happened to your face?"

He had almost forgotten about the bruise on his cheek. "I'm a hockey player. What do you think happened to my face? Turn it over and see if it starts."

She turned the key and the Cherokee roared to life. "Thank God! Thank you, Jason; you saved my life." She reached through the window and slid her hand under his jacket.

He pulled away. "Sheila, this is the last time you're ever going to see my face, except on television. Next time you get yourself into a scrape, call somebody else."

Her lips turned into a grim line. Without a word, she put the Jeep into gear and hit the gas. Spinning tires spit gravel into the air as she shot the Cherokee toward Lakeshore. Without stopping, she swerved into traffic. Screeching tires and blaring horns mixed with the hum of traffic from below and above the raised highway.

"You're welcome," he muttered and picked up the gas can.

As he strode toward his car, distant voices drew near. To the east, a group of youths sauntered along the retaining wall, conversing loudly to make their voices heard above the roar of vehicles from above.

Jason immediately tensed when the group detoured and made straight for him. Before he knew it, he was surrounded.

"Hey man, what's a guy like you doin' in a place like this?" The biggest one lifted a brow and reached out to finger Jason's leather jacket.

"Helping a damsel in distress." Jason tried to sound nonchalant, but he felt uneasy. He tightened his grip on the gas can and backed slowly up to a pylon, wondering how many he could take at once. Maybe he could subdue two or three, but not five.

"I don't see no damsel here," the apparent leader challenged. "That's a nice jacket you got there. Care to make a donation to wayward youth?" He laughed at his cleverness and the others joined him.

He reached into his back jeans pocket and produced an insanely small penknife.

Jason fought the urge to laugh. Still, the thing could do some damage. With a serious expression, he stalled for time, ready to swing the gas can. "Did you get that thing in the Cub Scouts?"

"Just take off the fuckin' jacket."

At that moment the sound of a single siren echoed off the underside of the expressway. Jason's gaze switched from the sea of faces to the welcome sight of a police car speeding along The Lakeshore. It slowed and drew parallel to Jason and his unwelcome companions, mounted the curb and bounced over rough ground, picking up speed.

Immediately, the teenagers scattered. He found himself alone, still clutching the gas can. He waited patiently for the police car to draw near.

They'll probably want a description, he thought. Thank God for passing motorists with cell phones. Somebody must have seen these guys causing trouble.

"Excuse me, sir; would you mind putting down the gas can." The policeman, unsmiling, strode across the gravel with his hand on his hip.

Perplexed, Jason complied.

The other cop flipped a notebook open. "Your name, sir?"

"Jason Peterson."

"What's your reason for being in this area at this time?" The policeman's eyes darted about the immediate vicinity, as if looking for an accomplice lurking behind a concrete support.

"I was helping an old friend who ran out of gas." Irritation crept into Jason's voice, and he fought to keep it under control.

"And where is this friend now?"

Jason shrugged. "She left."

The first policeman cleared his throat. "Sir, would you mind emptying your pockets?"

"Not at all." Jason dug into his jacket pockets and drew out his keys, wallet, a Sharpie for signing autographs, plus an item he didn't expect.

He stared, nonplussed, at the small zipper-lock plastic bag containing a white powder.

"I think you'd better come with us, sir."

Julie Worth
04-29-2007, 04:41 PM
Oh dang. I see now this wasn't to be critiqued. B should have said something up top. Anyway, my guess is that a girl wrote this.

My reasoning:

The language of the toughs isn't so tough: "what's a guy like you doin' in a place like this," which, if a guy said it, would be, "what's a jerkface like you doing on our turf."
That the toughs wanted an item of clothing instead of money.
The use of the words damsel, policeman, wayward youth, and guys causing trouble.

A girl, but maybe not.

Sohia Rose
04-29-2007, 05:13 PM
I'd say a woman wrote it, triggered by the words, "carefully" and "rewarding."

04-29-2007, 06:40 PM

04-29-2007, 07:06 PM
I'd also say a girl wrote it. The clue for me was "beige Cherokee". No guy I know would think "beige" as a color....

04-29-2007, 09:48 PM
i think a chick wrote this. maybe.

04-29-2007, 11:47 PM
Gonna go with female writer.

04-30-2007, 06:09 AM
I'm the odd one out...the precise distance/location words read more male to me. (stereotype, I know)

JJ Cooper
04-30-2007, 06:43 AM

'relatively smooth patch of dirt'

04-30-2007, 05:38 PM
I'll go with female for this one.

04-30-2007, 07:41 PM
gotta go with a lady on this one!

04-30-2007, 07:42 PM

04-30-2007, 07:55 PM

05-02-2007, 12:08 AM
I'm coming in late, here, but I think a guy wrote this.

OK, so it reads pretty similiar to my own writing...and my first instinct *was* that it was a woman, but that "rescuing a damsel in distress" thing is SO male. I would *never* call a woman a "damsel". It is too often associated with "in distress", and because of this association, it has sort of taken on the connotation of "helpless".

Also, the woman's fit of temper. Trust me, few people are as tempermental as yours truly...but I generally have better reason for my fury, and I *always* want to make sure the person who made me angry gets an earful. When my husband gets mad, he leaves. When I get mad, I yell.

I don't know...you see, all I have to go from here is my own views, and I know that not all women think alike.

I also notice that all of my reasons have to do with my perceptions of what the author must have been thinking...none of them have to do with grammar, and none of them are truly good indicators.

05-03-2007, 06:29 AM
11 of 14 were correct here-- the author was, in fact, female.

Monkey: I think the serious flaw with trying to figure out an author's gender via psychology is that a lot of men and women are good at getting in the other gender's head. I believe that, if we're able to determine an author's sex through their writing, then it will be through some inherent part of their style, not the way they appear to be thinking.

05-03-2007, 07:33 AM
Thanks Barty for the excersise. I was the author. My writing partners commented that I knew how to get into a guy's head, but I guess I have a little more work ahead of me if I want to write in a male POV.

The fact that a few of you weren't really sure is encouraging.

Guys don't think in beige? Oh, and the damsel thing was pretty lame - added at the last moment.

05-03-2007, 07:47 AM
Thanks Barty for the excersise. I was the author. My writing partners commented that I knew how to get into a guy's head, but I guess I have a little more work ahead of me if I want to write in a male POV.

The fact that a few of you weren't really sure is encouraging.

Guys don't think in beige? Oh, and the damsel thing was pretty lame - added at the last moment.

In order to effectively write male, just constantly remind yourself: "I can't cross my legs the way I normally would, that damn dangly thing gets in the way!" Everything else will follow suit. :p

I have no idea of guys think in beige. I'm stuck in yellows and blues. :)