Short Story Success!

I’m so happy, actually ecstatic, to report that my first short story will appear this November in the anthology, SNOWBOUND, to be published by Level Best Books.

Here’s how it happened:

I read the call-out for stories via my Guppies listserv. If you’re a mystery writer, I can’t underscore the importance of joining Sisters in Crime and their subgroup for the unpublished – the Guppies. Where would I be without them? Odds are I wouldn’t be a published novelist and a short story wouldn’t be in my cards either. The Guppies are a treasure chest of resources and wisdom, not to mention superb classes, especially those taught by expert editor Ramona Long.

Using high-grade, escape-proof iron, I chained myself to a chair, prepped to plow ahead with my short. There was only one problem: I didn’t know what to write. But I was certain of my setting: Boston. I knew the locale well, and SNOWBOUND required a New England setting. But who would be my hero/heroine?

I scanned Boston news stories and read about a young police cadet who earned a commendation for helping detectives apprehend a felon. My heroine was born.

In my last blog post, I wrote about a character I’d imagined based upon an encounter with an older gent during my day job. Guess who ended up in my short story? The cane-carrying senior with the big black shades was going to encounter my cadet. But what kind of encounter?

For me, the hardest part in writing a novel is the beginning. I discovered the same to be true for a short story. I like action, so I threw my heroine, Cadet Lyndrea Watson, into the police station, manning the front desk, and nearing the end of her shift. Lyndrea needed to behave the way I imagined a heroine to behave: ever helpful, kind, responsible, and conscientious. Always striving to do her best.

Lyndrea is doing just that when confronted by “the nut job,” an older man wearing space invader type shades. He approaches her, asks a few questions, and says he’ll wait for her outside. What does he want?

The answer to that question and Lyndrea’s need to do the right thing is what propelled my story forward. I initially wrote 4700 words. Then I set the story aside and revisited the draft a week later. I shaved off about 600 words. I set that aside and revisited days later. A bit more shaving, and voila! My short story was born.

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6 years ago

I’m learning a lot from your blog posts – thanks for that. Who knows? Maybe I’ll actually become a writer, too. I can dream, right?

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