Writing Report February 16, 2019
The other night when I came to bed I remembered a minor true crime story I'd heard about in the 1970s.
I also remembered something entirely different that happened at Ft. Huachuca, AZ when I was stationed there about the same time.
The two things combined in my mind and I suddenly saw a short story appear.
(Actually, no; there’s a third thing that happened: I realized the protagonist had to be a person who had experienced brutality and had been powerfully affected by it, but didn’t want that brutality to define them.)
I plotted it out in my head and intended to write it first thing this morning.
...but I had to take my grandson to get a haircut.
...then Soon-ok wanted to go paint shopping.
...then Jeffery cat needed attention.
Once those decks were cleared, I did some quick online research to see how lethal a certain venomous animal -- whoops! -- not lethal at all. Scary, yes. Painful, hell yes. Fatal? Not hardly.
So that changed my original idea for ending it.
Still, I could come up with an alternative, in which the fatalities in question are the result of panic…
Hmmm, still not good enough. To involve said venomous animal at all requires a mild season, not one likely to kill someone through exposure.
Well, I’ll figure something out, sez I to meself.
So it was 6:40 PM when I finally started writing it.
At 9:30 PM or thereabouts, I realized my location had all the ingredients I needed to make for a really spectacular ending, and the resolution flowed swiftly from that point.
At 10:18 PM I finished.
3,000 words (actually a little more; I gave it a polish and added a phrase here and there for clarification).
The question now is what to do with it.
It’s not science fiction or fantasy or strictly speaking even horror, though there are horrific elements.
I wouldn’t call it literary.
It’s certainly not a mystery: Everything happens out in the open.
A crime story, yeah. But the actual crime element, while crucial to the plot, isn’t that big.
It’s the kind of thing William F. Gaines would have chortled at publishing in Shock Suspense Stories, or the old “sweaties” publishers who put out magazines like Gristle or Man’s Throbbing Adventure.
It might have even found a home in the upscale skin-mags. Certainly in the lower grade pulps.
But now? Today?
A hard story to place. I can think of six, maybe seven markets.
© Buzz Dixon