Saturday, May 10, 2014

Longest short story ever!

Dear friends/fans of mysterious fiction,

Back in 2008, I had a published mystery novel, LONE STAR DEATH, that weighed in around 85,000 words. I wanted to write short stories since I really enjoyed them when I was much younger. I started out with flash fiction and came up with a story of 500 words.  Writing a short story is sometimes harder than writing a novel (yeah it is) because you have to encompass the entire story line in such a small space.

At that time, I thought I'd never be able to write a longer short story.  I wrote a lot of poetry, and of course, it's much shorter.  Over the years, though, I started reading voraciously---collections of mystery and macabre short stories.  I read them online, in older library books, new e-book collections/anthologies I purchased through Amazon for my Kindle and haunted used bookstores for sometimes rare volumes.  Reading those was a huge education for me, and eventually my brain started seeing how I could write longer stories, too.

Eventually, I wrote several stories in the "Nameless, Texas" short story series. These were longer, but not nearly as long as this new one.

So I did.  Yesterday, I finished  a new story that is around 8,550 words.  I did it in four drafts, adding a bit more each time.  And it only took me a month, in addition to all the other writing I'm doing (volunteer work for the local Art Guild, editing friend's work, blogging, e-mails, bits and pieces of my novel in progress, etc.) 

I'm really proud of the story.  I think (and friends agree) that it's the best thing I've written--so far.  "The Passing of Big Mama Mayhall" is a macabre, strange story that could mostly be categorized as Southern Gothic. And maybe a bit "Hitchcockian."   I love it when people tell me my stories are Hitchcockian! :-D

So, writing the story was the FIRST step.  Now I have to decide what to do with it.  I tried not to worry about this while writing the story---that's something I frequently get all jacked up about. Sometimes I write to themes or specific Calls for Submissions, sometimes a line will come to me.  This time, the first line came to me as a bit of dialogue.

"Elsie, honey. I'm so sorry . . . Big Mama has done gone and passed."  From there, the characters started speaking, and the story emerged.

Happy trails from Texas!

bobbi c.

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