One benefit of being published by a new, small independent press, is that you get to wear many hats. Second Wind Publishing is preparing an anthology of mystery/crime short stories to be released in September, and as a pinch-hitting copy editor, I get first look. I enjoyed Lazarus Barnhill’s novels, The Medicine People and Lacey Took a Holiday, so last night I printed out Barnhill’s story, “A Whiff of Murder” for a treat.
It’s been a very long time since I considered reading a treat. I still read prodigiously — it’s more than a habit with me, it’s akin to breathing — but I don’t necessarily enjoy it. (It’s like breathing polluted air, you need it, but it isn’t something you look forward too.) But I was right –- “A Whiff of Murder” was a treat. It’s a fun story, with great detecting, a touch of irony, and good characters (Barnhill brought back Robert Vessey from The Medicine People). All in less than 5,000 words.
Now I have to figure out how to write my own story. I have a beginning, though it’s a bit of a cheat. I wrote it for an online writing challenge — to hook readers with the first 650 words of a novel. Since I had no intention of ever writing the novel, I just tossed out the most preposterous scenario I could think of. It wouldn’t really make a good novel — the humor would wear thin — but it would make a good short story. So now all I need is a middle and an end. And a touch of mystery. Or a crime. And some suspense. Hmmmm. Should be fun.
You’re welcome to join the fun. Second WindPublishing is sponsoring a short story contest, and the winner will be published in the anthology. You can find the information here: Murder in the Wind.
Let me know how you do. Maybe together we can figure out how to write a short mystery worthy of publication.