Archive for June, 2011

Short Story Writing

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

A short story can be fun to write, but a writer has to be very judicious with words to describe the characters and the story line. I remember in school having to do those dreaded 1000 word essays. I would carefully try to pad the document with extra words rather than actually say anything significant about the topic. I didn’t get top marks from my English teacher in those days, but she also had a way of turning literature into something the class hated.

Today 1000 words are easy for me to write. Too easy if you’re interested in conserving words for a short story. For example try to describe yourself in fifty words. Now try to do it in one sentence.  In Castle One I described one of the characters like this; “Jon was a big man, and not soft, but he didn’t scare anyone when he entered a room.” 

The reason I mention all this is that I’m writing a story and the words just seem to keep adding up. I wanted to keep it around 50,000 words, a novelette. It now looks like it will hit 60,000. That’s not too bad but I know if I wrote it the same way as I do short stories I can chop of the extra 10,000 words. Those old essay habits are coming back to haunt me. 

So I am going to write a short story or two to get my focus back on being stingy with words. There is a contest for a short paranormal story at All Romance, 2500 to 3000 words. I just have to find a theme to write about. I might use the old stand-by, vampires.

It would be interesting if one of my old teacher as judging the contest. I’ll know if it is her if my submission is returned with a big red F circled on it. 

This is a picture of my old grade school Spruce Avenue School. It is where I learned lots of things, such as there are great teachers and horrible teachers. I had a few of each and despite my English teacher’s best effort, I passed.  Anyway all is forgiven because maybe her words drove me a bit harder to succeed as a writer.

Spruce Avenue School

Whitewood Horror

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

Grain elevator

I managed to find time to upload some photos on my website. Take a look at the gallery and you’ll see a couple of photos of Whitewood, Saskatchewan. These were taken a few years ago but if you want to define Small Town, just use Whitewood as an example. You’ll note that the main street photo was devoid of traffic and people. This picture was not taken at rush hour, but it was during the middle of the day. To say it is quiet here might be the understatement of the year.

Like many small towns it does have an interesting past and actually was a bustling town back in the days of taming the Wild West.  It was founded in 1892 and seems to have been home to fur trading, French culture and the pioneer versions of 7-11 stores.

The reason I’m talking about Whitewood is that I’m going to a family reunion there. (My wife’s sister lives there and it seems she thinks everyone will want to journey a thousand miles to visit grasshoppers. She has a kind heart but I think Las Vegas would be a better place to get together.) So with Whitewood on my mind I became inspired to use it for a story. A horror story as a matter of fact.

Now I don’t want to ruin the tourist industry of Whitewood, so I’ll likely change the name to something a bit more ominous. Maybe Blackwood or Deadlywood. However I like the idea of a small town where everyone thinks they know everyone. But do they? (Add sinister laugh)

I’m not sure if I’ll have a serial killer or come up some evil creature, like a vampire.  But my mind is coming up with different ideas how to use the deserted streets of Whitewood. Let’s face it; if the streets are empty during the day, can you guess what they’ll be like at the middle of the night under a pale moonlight?  

Main street

A frightened woman running down the sidewalk, gasping for air as she pounds on locked doors of the businesses. Her attacker gains on her but at the last moment the headlights of pickup truck illuminate them as it roars down the street. She calls out to the driver…

I guess I’ll have to do some editing on that but I think Whitewood is a great location for a horror story. Who knows, it may become famous for something other than grasshoppers.

Jack