Daily Short Story Diary - Week 12

March 23, 2019

Day 78: March 17, 2019

A THOUSAND STITCHES by Kate Jonez

Lady Bits – 2019 (story originally published in Visible Delight, 2013)

General – 16 Pages (digital, about)

This is a fun one where you’re following along, thinking gee, not much happening and you get to the end and the old switcheroo has taken place. Much fun. Engaging writing, good characters, unexpected red herring.

****

 

Day 79: March 18, 2019

SHAME THE DEVIL by James T. Shannon

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine July 2012

Mystery – 8 Pages

A bit of a sideways cop story. Guy happens to be a cop, but the thing he’s looking into is a family matter and out of his jurisdiction. It’s a slow unravel, but doesn’t lag. I didn’t see the unveiling of the truth until it was right there on the page, but it all made sense, so good on that. Good characters. Clean writing. Completely logical A to B to C to Z.

****

 

Day 80: March 19, 2019

LENA’S GHOST by Nico Bell

The Second Book of Corona Horror Stories – 2018

Horror – 12 Pages (about, digital)

This one unravels with a mystery, there’s no suspense to it really, but the sinister hues carry it a good way and the couple reveals packed a good one-two. Fun idea. Good dialogue. Easy read.

****

 

Day 81: March 20, 2019

NEIGHBORS by Raymond Carver

Where I’m Calling From – Selected Stories 1989 (story originally published in Esquire, 1971)

General – 7 Pages

Ah, the addictive nature of voyeurism. This is something that turned up more in stories written prior to social media in the way we know it. To slip into someone else’s shoes, hear their secrets, see their hidden dick pics... We’ve become numb to it a bit, probably. This one delves into the need to know and even begins to mount a little bit of suspense as you’re so fully with the characters, you’re constantly doing the what if the neighbors come home? Great writing. Great characters. Great backdrop.

*****

 

Day 82: March 21, 2019

THE RENEGADE by Shirley Jackson

The Lottery and Other Stories – 1949 (story originally published in Harper’s Magazine, 1948)

General – 15 Pages

So often Shirley Jackson’s protagonists are befuddled and helpless, it’s a fantastic recipe for empathy in the reader. Here, you get the relatable mother surrounded by the thankless as well as the cold-hearted. One side is her family and the other are the townsfolk, but then the lines blur and mom is the only compassionate one left. Wonderful writing. Great pace and structure.

*****

 

Day 83: March 22, 2019

THE REMAINING by Ellen Rhudy

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 38

General – 21 Pages (about, digital)

So the premise has promise—village up a mountain that’s been empty for year...or has it?—but my god, absolutely nothing happens in the story. There are hikers who’ve come to check out the place, they go up the hill, and when they don’t come back, the people who own the place where they are staying go to the abandoned village to look for them and nothing happens. For about twenty-one pages, nothing happens. Nothing. There’s not really even any atmosphere beyond things aren’t what the locals thought, maybe its ghosts, but maybe I just wanted something to be something more than people walking.

*

 

Day 84: March 23, 2019

DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE by Horace Torys

The Second Book of Corona Horror Stories – 2018

Horror – 5 Pages (about, digital)

This one has a fun idea with a big body count (or small body count?). It’s fast and extremely strange, I was really hoping it rounded into something semi-logical, but it doesn’t, which really lessens the weight, as the sum of the story has no meaning. Still, intriguing and good weird.

****

 

Favorite story of the week was Raymond Carver’s NEIGHBORS.

 

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