Alias Smith and Jones Stories

Fanfiction for classic television series Alias Smith and Jones

Welcome!

 

Glad you're here!

 

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These stories are just for fun. I hope you enjoy them! No profit is being made from these stories, and they are purely intended as a fan's tribute to two great characters.

 

 

There are two or more stories on some pages, and a few are non-ASJ things.

 

Please let me know if you have any questions, suggestions, or comments.  My e-mail is anitasanchez123@gmail.com

Check out my blog, http://unmowed.com/

 

 

If you've enjoyed any of these, please check out my website on http://www.anitasanchez.com/ for more stuff to read!

 

 

 

Thank you! It's been great having you stop by. Put up your feet on the porch railing, lean back, and enjoy...until the sheriff recognizes you...

 

                                                                                                 Anita


"Our lives are frittered away by detail. Simplify! Simplify!"

                                    --Henry David Thoreau

If you're a reader but not yet a writer, I really encourage you to give writing a try. There's nothing like the magic of spinning your own tales.

 

About Writing--For Anyone Interested in Writing Fan-Fiction or Writing Anything Else

 

         I started writing Alias Smith and Jones stories almost forty years ago, the night I saw the first episode, “The McCreedy Bust,” on my grandmother’s old black-and-white TV. Heyes pulled the ace out of his sleeve with that perfect Heyes look, and I was hooked forever. I spun stories in my head for years, never dreaming that anyone else would know about them. It was just recently that I discovered the existence of fan fiction, and that if stories were posted on the Internet they might actually be read by someone. Writing ASJ stories became like eating potato chips; I couldn’t seem to stop.

          It’s a weird feeling, when you find that someone has read something you’ve written. It’s a little unsettling at first, like finding out that someone else has been in your house, used your slippers and sat in your chair, and felt at home there. It's a good feeling. And writing these stories has brought me so much pleasure, and been such good practice for me as a writer, that I thought I would share how I write them with anyone who happens to be interested.

          I began writing the stories down purely for writing practice, like a musician practices scales over and over, not really intending them to lead anywhere. So at first I only wrote short scenes, in random order, sometimes just describing scenes in the TV shows. I found I especially needed to practice writing action--not slam-bang action, necessarily, shoot-outs or fist fights, just simple action like having the characters move through a room or go to the store. I find the single hardest part of writing is not coming up with (more-or-less) witty dialog, but describing the logistics of a scene--are they standing or sitting, what furniture is in the room, how do they move across it--inserting the geography without bogging down the story. Beginners' Luck, in which our heroes rob a bank, was originally a practice exercise in logistics: Heyes and Kid and others are in a bank, moving from place to place: over to the safe, behind the counter, out the door. There’s at least eight or ten people in the bank during the robbery: where are they all in relation to each other, and to the safe, and the windows and the door? What time of day is it, what’s the weather like? It’s so hard to slip in all those little details so that the reader gets a sense of place without being bored rigid by paragraphs of description.

 

 

Plotting

          When I worked my way up to writing whole stories with a beginning, middle, and end, I found that plotting is wonderful fun, but very hard. I’d say there are two ways to plot a story. One way is to have a definite ending or climax in mind that you want to reach. One writer said that in this kind of story you take the last line and throw it as far as you can, and then write your way towards it. In the story Hog Nose Snake, for example, the story began because I liked the idea of a scene where the two heroes had to split up, one going to safety, one having (for some yet-unknown reason) to stay in danger. I wrote that scene, which is in the middle of the story, first, and then had to plan and plot to get them into that situation, and then out of it.

         The other way to plot is the more character-driven story, where you take one or more characters, put them in an interesting situation, and just sort of see what happens. You start out on the journey not knowing where you’re going to end up. As another writer pointed out, your car headlights only light up a few yards in front of you, but you can drive all across the country like that. A lot of great books have been written this way; J.R.R. Tolkien said once that when his characters went into the darkness of Moria, he had no more idea than the hobbits did what lay on the other side. It’s fun getting the boys into a tough situation, and then sort of planning along with them how to get out of it. In the story called The Box, for example, I trapped them in a tight place in the first few paragraphs, and only then started wondering what they would talk about, and what would happen next.

          Sometimes I just totally run out of plot ideas, and then I borrow shamelessly. Rafael Sabatini wrote wonderful stories about a pirate called Captain Blood, and Blood Money is Sabatini’s plot in every twist, turn, and detail, updated about two hundred years. It’s very challenging to find ways to update swords and capes to six-guns and cowboy hats. But my biggest lode for story ideas are the old Robin Hood and Little John ballads and legends I’ve always loved. It seemed irresistible to have our “two latter-day Robin Hoods” act out actual Robin Hood plots. The Lesson is a re-telling of a wonderful old ballad, “Robin Hood Meets a Beggar Man,” who bamboozles the merry men by throwing flour in their faces and then dusts their jackets for them with a stick. Guy of Gisborne is one of the creepier bad guys in the Robin Hood stories, and is the only one Robin Hood actually kills, as far as I know. The story of how Robin disguises himself in Guy of Gisborne’s clothes to save Little John, who is tied to a tree and about to be killed by the Sheriff of Nottingham, is an old, old tale, close to a thousand years old, probably.

             When I start a story, I find I usually begin in the middle, with a moment or a scene, that’s the high point, the heart of the story, and that moment is what the story is really all about.

 

 

Point of View

 

         Sometimes Heyes is the star of a story, sometimes it’s Kid Curry. (Heyes is my favorite; can you tell?) Sometimes they get equal billing. Since they’re such strong personalities, they would react differently in the same situations. Sometimes, just for practice, I try a story both ways. The Cell and Bank Job are actually the exact same story, in fact several paragraphs use identical words.  In one story Heyes is injured and Kid is trying to rescue him, and it's all Kid's point of view, in the other it’s Kid who’s hurt and Heyes is the rescuer as well as the main character. 

 

             Much harder to write (but good practice) are the ones where it’s a complete stranger’s point of view, like Can’t Trust Anyone, where we see the heroes completely though someone else’s eyes. Sometimes we see them clearly, like in A Good Night’s Sleep, in which the narrator feels about them basically the same way we do. Sometimes the outsider interprets their actions differently than we do; this is a trick known as the “unreliable narrator,” where although the narrator is giving us his true perceptions, we (the readers) know more than he does. Unlike the prospector in Can’t Trust Anyone we know that Heyes is not a bad guy out to shoot Kid. 

 

              Sometimes I change the ages of the heroes, and it’s funny how much that changes many details. For example, Only the Wind, in which they think someone's following them, was originally written about a more mature Heyes and Kid. They decide someone is following them, and that they should split up and circle around to see who it is. Kid says teasingly, "Please try not to shoot me," and Heyes just grins, because it’s an old joke between them that he’s not a great marksman. But I changed them to a younger age, because it seemed that after ten years of robbing banks they wouldn’t be so nervous about being followed and so quick to jump at noises. As a very young man, Heyes gets quite indignant when Kid implies he's not a good shot.

 

           Then sometimes I love writing them as children, and hinting at the men we know they're going to turn into. In The Lesson, they’re eleven and thirteen, wildly excited at their first robbery, and so different from the men of twenty-seven and twenty-nine they are in Beats Digging Ditches, tired and disillusioned. I have to remember to add little details to show that they’re young, like Heyes having to stand on tip-toe to reach the top shelf, or wondering uneasily what his mother would have said about committing a crime.

 

           Also, be warned, I have several different versions of how Heyes and Kid met. Sometimes I think they grew up together, and sometimes I think they met as adults. (I think the TV writers were similarly conflicted.) But whenever and however they met, I'm definitely in the camp of those who think that they're not cousins. 

 

 

 Setting

 

           To me setting is almost like a character in the story.  Most of the settings in the stories are places I’ve visited. I’m an American Easterner, but I love the West.  I never take a camera when I go on vacation (too high-tech for me) but when I write I try to make word pictures of places and the plants and animals that I’ve seen. There are a few exceptions where there’s a tad of poetic license, like the big willow perched at the top of the canyon in The Willow. It’s hard, though, to describe the setting without sounding like a travel brochure—I have to restrain myself from going on and on for paragraphs about the beauties of nature.

            Other crucial details are the weather and the time of day. Without coming right out and saying “It was a dark and stormy night,” I try to give an indication of where the sun is, if it’s cloudy, or what the moon’s doing. In our modern world I find I can get so wrapped up in indoor life that I forget to check what phase the moon is in or what constellations are visible.

 

 

 Alamo Canyon, Organpipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

 

 

Reading About Writing       

           I really enjoy reading about writing. I’ve learned so much from Anne Lamott’s lovely funny book Bird by Bird. Stephen King has a brilliant book called On Writing. And a science fiction writer, Ursula LeGuin, has a great book on technique, with practice exercises, called Steering the Craft.

 

           But my favorite writing book of all time is by William Goldman. He’s the Academy-Award-winning author of the screenplay of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (and a lot of other movies and books) and so he’s the person who I feel is really most responsible for creating Heyes and the Kid, who are of course based on Butch and Sundance.  His book Adventures in the Screen Trade is the best book on writing there is, I think.    

 

The End                    

         Finally, though, the thing I have to remember about fan fiction is that, in the end, it’s cheating. Because the single hardest thing in writing is to create a truly memorable character, one that will live in peoples’ imaginations and hearts, and in fan fiction that work has already been done for me. But fan fiction has been, for me, the bridge that leads to being more relaxed and at ease with the tools of the trade, and to writing other things which are original.

 

 

 

            Anyway. I don’t mean to go on about these little stories as if they were Shakespearean sonnets. But I slave over them, dream about them, and put many, many hours into each one, and it thrills me to the marrow to think of anyone actually reading them. So put on those slippers, pull up a chair, make yourself at home, and welcome!