Monday, May 30, 2011

Thought I would share one of my Smitty stories today.  As you may or may not know, Smitty is a dark-eyed hitman of, shall we say, rather unusual talents.  He's very intense in his profession.  Intense, yet with an unsual emotional streak running through his psyche.  Ocassionally he shows compassion.  Mercy.  And always he has this sense of biblical justice which sets him apart from others who work his trade.

Hope you enjoy it.

Something Deadly

In the dead of the night. An hour before dawn. The phone.

Suddenly demanding immediate attention.



The voice is quiet. Measured. Unhurried. Almost a whisper. But there’s something in the voice—something dark and lurking. Something deadly. Something incredibly deadly.

“Listen, Smitty. You got to stop him. Now—tonight! Before it’s too late. Jesus Chirst, this is crazy. Fucking crazy!”

“Stop who?”

“Vinny. He’s gone nuts. Ever since that cop arrested his brother and sent him up to prison. He’s gone off his rocker. Got just enough alcohol in him to go nuts. He’s gone. Said he’s gonna make that fucking cop pay. Make’em all pay for screwing his brother over. Stop him, Smitty. Stop him before it’s too late!”


“Cop lives on Melrose. That’s all I know. But Smitty . . . listen. Vince says he’s going to kill the cop’s family first. One by one and make the cop watch. Took a friggin axe with him. He’s gonna chop’em all to pieces, for chrissakes! I’m tellin’ya, Vince has flat gone off the deep end!”

Click. The phone went dead.

The night.

Cold. Moonless. Fog drifting in off the lowlands. Over empty city streets Smitty drove the car. Black leather gloves on his hands. Black eyes as dark as the ocean abyss. In the darkness of the Caddy Smitty makes no sound. Makes no effort to hurry. Yet the drive across town went by effortlessly. The six or more traffic lights clicking green every one the moment he entered the intersection.

Fate, brother. Fate.

The Angel of Death is Fate itself when he slips through the night looking for his prey.

The Caddy rolls to a quiet stop behind a large red GMC van sitting in front of 11159 Melrose Drive. The passenger side of the van is wide open—hanging from its hinges in the night after being angrily flung open. Rolling out of his car Smitty makes sure each black leather glove is on tightly as he walks around the car and steps up onto the sidewalk leading to the low slung, long ranch house. Eyeing the house Smitty circles around to the back yard—and finds a sliding glass door leading into the dining room wide open.

Darkness litters the interior of the house like a heavy blanket. But it is as if Smitty sees everything in the night as easily as he does in the daylight. Sliding in soundlessly he moves through the dining room—through the living room—turning to enter the long hall which will take him to the bedrooms of the sleeping family.

And pauses.

Ahead to his left he hears the half snoring, half wheezing of a man. Lying on the carpet in the middle of the bedroom door is a toy stuffed animal. Vinny is in one of the kid’s rooms. Axe in both hands. Standing over the bed of a sleeping six year old blond waif. A tiny angel with a thumb stuck securely between her lips. Vinny leers. Vinny licks his lips, grips the axe firmly, and begins to lift it up and over his head. Suffer they will, this cop. Suffer and grieve for sending his brother to prison.

The axe, high in the air, vibrates with pent up rage as he gathers all his strength for the blow. With all his might he starts to hurl the axe toward the child’s face, the mask of a grinning madman alit in Vinny’s eyes.

From behind—from out of the blackness itself—a gloved hand reaches out and grabs the right wrist holding the descending axe blade. A grip as strong as the jaws of a Great White Shark. The gloved hand twists to one side violently and the pulls backward. The pain, flooding through the mind of the madman, is enough to buckle his knees and make him want to scream out in the night. But a second gloved hand comes out from nowhere, claps around his mouth, and yanks him back and away from the child.

In the darkness of the hallway they struggle. Angel of Death and Madness struggle. Veins on their necks and foreheads bulge. Twisting, staggering back, every ounce of strength both can muster being used to counter the other’s hold. The seconds move slowly by. The short coughs of sudden breaths hurriedly taken the only sound the two struggling forms make.

But it ends. Ends with a sudden—definite—finality.

There is a sharp Crack! Like the sound of a thick tree branch suddenly being snapped in two. Instantly one of the black figures in the hallway goes limp and starts to collapse to the carpeted floor. But the second figure catches the falling body, bends down suddenly before standing up. Over his shoulders is the dead form of Vinny. Lifeless. Never to bother another soul. Turning, meaning to leave as silently as he came, Smitty stops in mid-stride and stares.

In the hall—for how long?—the dark form of a small child standing in the middle of the carpet and staring up into the night at the black forms in front of him. In one hand the child drags a small blanket behind him. In the other is a baby bottle stuck firmly to his lips. For several seconds child and the Angel of Death laden with his prize stare at each other. Neither sound does one make. It is Smitty who moves first. Stepping around the child, the corpse of Vinny over a shoulder, he makes his way down the hall, through the living room and to the open patio door waiting for him in the dining room. Behind him the child follows dragging his favorite blanket with him.

Closing the sliding glass door behind him Smitty takes two steps away from the house—pauses—and turns to look back at the child standing in the house peering out into the night. For several seconds each observes the other.

And then a light far into the house explodes into life.

“Chuckie! Chuckie! Are you sleep walking again?”

A woman’s voice. A mother’s voice. Filled with worry and love. Hurry she does to find the child standing beside the patio door staring out into the night. She bends down, folds child into loving arms, and stands up. As she do her eyes turn to stare out into the darkness of the back yard.

Nothing. Nothing.

Only darkness and the vague image of patio furniture and children’s toys littering the patio landing.

“Let’s put you back to bed, baby. There’s nothing out there, hon. No monster out there to bother you tonight.”

Sleep, child.

Sleep the sleep of the innocent.

Sleep, mother.

Sleep knowing Fate has been kind, this night, to you and yours.

For the Angel of Death never sleeps.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

 Finally, Roland of the High Crags is out.  I love this series I am trying to write.  Fantasy with a different twist.  So, when Treastle Press agreed to re-issue the first novel, and agreed to possibly continue the series, I leapt at it with both feet flying.

Today, I thought I'd write a synopsis of the book.

For more than a thousand years Dragon and Man have been warring with each other.  A war fought for so long both have forgotten what Honor, Mercy, and Peace actually mean.

But not just mortal Dragon and Man war.  The gods themselves war against each other.  Dragon gods warring against the gods of Man.  A vicious war.  Each the nemesis of the other.  A war that stretches so far back in time no one remembers how it originated.

Therein lies the first mystery of the series.  The reasons why the war began in the first place.

Mankind has been pushed off the rolling plains and fertile valleys, their kingdoms destroyed, and forced to flee high into the snow capped mountain regions.  The high country offers Mankind their only refuge.  Dragons fear mountains.  Their supersititions and mythical stories tell them mountains have spirits that reside within powerful enough to destroy all.  So for a thousand-plus years Dragon and Man have fought every time Man descended from the high peaks--or when one or more daring Dragon lords decided to assault the heights.

But one year a human warrior/monk-wizard feels the stirrings of an ancient Evil.  Dragon prophecy says that one particular Dragon clan will rise again and wage war on mankind.  From this clan will be born a Dragon child--a female who possesses all the powers of the Netherworld.  And when she grows to adulthood, she will unify all the Dragon clans and lead them on the last great war against humanity.

The Netherworld is the supernatural world.  And Infinity.  And the River of Time.  It is where Evil resides.  It is where Knowledge resides.  Where the Past, Present, and the Future resides.  It is the source of magic.  Only a select few have the powers to tap the powers of the Netherworld.

Roland of the High Crags has that power.  A Bretan wizard and warrior monk, Roland has fought the Dragon all his life.  Confronted Evil whenever, and wherever, he has found it.  But when the day comes he discovers a dragon child is the promised Fifth Sister--the female child of the Dragon clan prophecised to come and destroy Mankind--he finds himself in an quandry.

Dragon prophecy says she is the weapon created by the Dragon gods to destroy Mankind.  His holy vows demand he destroy her.  Destroy prophecy.  But he hesitates.  She is only a child.  At the moment, an innocent child with no Evil residing in her heart.  To kill her would mean to destroy an innocent life.  His vows also forbid him from such an act.

To kill the child or not kill the child.  Roland finds himself in a most delicate situation.

But he also sees opportunity.  An idea awakes in his soul.  A way may be at hand which could end the endless warring between foes.  And the key to this offering for peace lies in the hands of the Dragon child.  The weapon designed by the Dragon gods themselves.

Essentially, could he take a Dragon weapon and turn it against those who had so carefully forged it into existence?  Could he destroy Dragon prophecy by using the ultimate Dragon weapon?  The plan is frought with dangers.  The child is already a powerful, but untrained, wizardress.  She has powers far stronger than his own.  Could he guide her, train her, to resist Dragon prophecy and become an ally?

We shall find out.  Interestingly, I don't know how the series is going to end.  Roland could very well lose his life.  Dragon prophecy might indeed be too strong to destroy.  Evil, in the end, could become the victor.

For, as any true believer of the Bretan Way knows;  Evil can never be destroyed.  Only momentarily defeated.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Magical Props in Fantasy

Magic swords.
Or some other prop which has magical properties which, when wielded by the hero or the evil main character, carries along the story.  In movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  we have The Green Destiny.  A magical sword that glows a slight green color when handled by a master swordsman.  In the Lord of the Rings novels and movies we have the evil forged ring everyone seems to be compelled to posses.


I don't know if I am for them or against them.  But I do know that in my fantasy series called Roland of the High Crags a magical sword is indispensable in the overall plot.  The sword is, like the photo above, a scimitar.  But a strange weapon indeed.  It is made of an extremely odd metal that has the color of brightly polished bronze only a few select owners of the weapon can see.  Down the length of the blade, on both sides, is blue lettering of a language long dead and forgotten.  But lettering that, when confronted with genuine evil, visibly moves.  The blade is called Helshvingar.  The Killer of Evil.

The blade has that name for a reason.  Which, ultimately, will be revealed.

Ah.  But is the sword magical?

I think in my last blog I said I've never been really impressed with ordinary fantasy novels.  Magic, dragon, warlocks--all of it.  My dream has always been to write something 'magical' and turn it--eventually--into hard science fiction.  So instead of writing a 'fantasy' novel--it eventually turns into 'heroic' science-fiction.

Like an illusionist I'm trying to weave an act that looks like magic.  But in reality it is nothing but a slight-of-hand magic trick.  Done expertly in front of an audience it creates that 'Wow!' effect.  Okay; that's my challenge.  Write a series with the same set of principals in hand and create that 'Wow!' effect for the reader.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction

Yes, I write fantasy and science fiction as well.  Dark stuff when it comes to fantasy.  The series I've been trying to get up and running for the last few years, Roland of the High Crags, is really dark.  Almost brooding in nature.  As I think good fantasy could be--dark and brooding.
To be honest, Eunice, I've never been a fan of the traditional fantasy novel.  Over the years one epic series has began to sound like the last one I read.  The quest story in fantasy, as it seems all fantasy novels are, can get boring.  Boring and predictable.

And Eunice, dear--boring and predictable is the death knell for any book.  Or series.

So I wanted to create a series dressed in the garments of the traditional quest story; but make it far, far more complex.  I wanted to create a 'hero' who was, occasionally, not so heroic.  He had his flaws.  Tragic flaws.  He struggles to keep himself on the straight-and-narrow of his religious order's training.  But situations happen which makes him slip dangerous close to the Dark Side (how's that for a Star Wars hint, Eunice?)

And magic; what's this with unlimited magic without consequences?  Or limitations?  How about if we make magic like a kind of narcotic--the more you use, the closer you step to the edge of that abyss we call insanity.  How about if we created a place where all supernatural powers originate from.  Where the River of Time flows endlessly.  Where the Past, the Present, and the Future all reside in the same place.  Where, if you had the magical touch, you could meet . . . . you . . . from the past, present, or future and out of a myriad of different universes.

What if we created a fantasy series where both friendship--and treachery--walked hand in hand with each other.  Where enemies might prove to be the most devout of stalwart friends and allies--and normal friends and allies were all too likely to stab you in the back.

Hmm . . . . .see what I'm driving at, dar'lin?

Traditional fantasy that is not so traditional.  That's Roland of the High Crags.  A warrior/monk/wizard who is asked by a dying dragon nobleman to promise him he, Roland, would safe and raise his last remaining heir to his barony; a dragon female child of seven.  An innocent, naive child.  For now.  But soon--very soon--she could be something else.  Something not so innocent.  Not so naive.

Ah, Eunice old girl, when was the last time you read a fantasy novel that promised so much intrigue and moody subterfuge?  Yes . . . yes, grab another bottle of beer and let's talk about writing fantasy novels that make you want to stop and think about what's been revealed as you read.

And don't forget the pretzels, hun.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Guest Blogging: Ben Sobieck

I've know Ben Sobieck now for over a year.  Ben's a gifted writer who has a book recently published by Trestle Press in both ebook format and in traditional print.  Called Cleaning Eden, it is a powerful novel about drugs, addiction, murder, and charismatic personalities who prey upon those in need of something . . . or someone . . . to believe in.

Ben's pinned a formula on how to write a novel/characters.  Put in it mathmatic formulas.  Interesting (and I wish I got past basic Arithmatic in the fifth grade).

Take a peak at it.  Tell us what you think.

"A Literal Formula for Creating Quirky Characters"

by Benjamin Sobieck

At the end of the day, everything is numbers. Even as I type this, the letters are represented as numbers in the computer. They stack up into patterns called formulas. Therefore, everything is a formula.

Is there even a formula for building a quirk into a character? I think so. But this "formula" is usually thrown around as a figure of speech. (i.e. "The characters in that Sobieck guy's latest book are so formulaic, I was surprised when they DIDN'T drink beer in church.")

However, I think the figurative expression can be express as a literal algebraic equation.

Here's my non-scientific scientific-sounding attempt at that:

((W - X) * Y) / Z = C

The algebra breaks down like this:

W = A stereotypical set of character traits. If the character is a private investigator, there are certain things you can expect. X represents the most literal, written-in-stone expectations.

X = The under-ability or over-ability to do something. This doesn't have to be a flaw per se. It also could be a trait that conflicts with the stereotypes in Y. For example, a hit man who doesn't use weapons.

Y = An environmental factor that exacerbates the difference of (W - X). It's no good to have a quirk that doesn't get exploited to the full measure possible. From the example above, the hit man would be tasked to take down a samurai armed like a walking tank. In a gun store.

Z = A grounding force. Whatever the equation equaled up to this point, it is offset by Z ever so slightly. This could be supporting characters that help mitigate the effects of our quirky character. Think of the stereotypical boss screaming, "You're a loose cannon, buy a damn pistol already," at the hit man over the telephone.

C = Your quirky character. Call him Biff, won't you? Biff the Quirky Hit Man.

Plugging those variables into the equation to create Biff would look like this:

((Hit man - doesn't use weapons) * samurai) / Overbearing boss = Biff the Quirky Hit Man

Here's another example using a character most everyone knows:

((Private detective - really smart and addicted to drugs) * Fame) / Watson = Sherlock Holmes

Now plug some of your favorite quirky crime fiction characters into this equation. Does it work?


Benjamin Sobieck is the author of the crime novel, "Cleansing Eden," and numerous flash fiction pieces. His website is

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Meet Frank Morales

 Meet Frank Morales.  The other half of the Turner Hahn/Frank Morales homicide detective team.

Yeah, I know.  I know . . .

With Turner I had a photo of Clark Gable--the spitting image of Turner.  With a few modifications.  But with Frank I have this.  A rendition of a description of Frank.  Not quite the same thing.  Not nearly as impressive.

But there's a reason for that, boyo.

I can't think of anyone famous, or near famous, who comes even close to representing Frank.  Frank is, without a doubt, just fraken . . . . different.

I mean, c'mon.  The guy is a carrot topped lookalike Neanderthal wannabe.  He's got small, little piggy eyes and a jaw that looks like it's made out of hand chiseled  granite.  And no neck.  Apparently there's a head--and a set of shoulders.  How he turns his head and looks to his left and right is a mystery to everyone.  But he does.  The most curious thing about him is his intellect.  Whereas mere mortals around him sport a three digit IO, Frank may have one that has four digits.  No kidding.  He seemingly knows everything and can recall everything.

No.  He's no super hero.  He makes mistakes.  He opens his smart-ass mouth enough times to get people pissed off at him.  Often.  He's married to a drop-dead gorgeous Italian who has a temper that, when it blows, rivals that of Mount Vesuvius.  And four kids.  And dogs.  And cats.  And a parrot.   So . . . . no.  He's not a super hero.  Just a very, very interesting character.

Remember what I said that, as a writer, if you develop interesting characters that have a width and depth about them they will be the ones that keep a reader interested in your writing.  What?!  I didn't mention that in an earlier post?  'Sumbitch!

It's true, Pookie.  Bank on it.

Readers can be fickle.  Choosey.  Even down right mean.  But they also can be loyal.  Loyal to the point of being certifiably nutty.  Give'em someone than can identify with--that they can admire and even fall in love with--and they'll come back to you over and over and over.  Come back even though eventually (and it happens to all successful writers--and not so successful writers) the interesting story plots have dried up and blown away.  They'll still come back.

Now how you get the reading public to discover your interesting characters is a whole new can of worms we should discuss.  And we will.  Just as soon as I figure that out for myself.  So stay tuned.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Meet Turner Hahn

So you're going to write a novel, mon ami!  Swell!  Groovy!  What's it about, hon?

I wrote a novel.  Called it Murderous Passions.  About two homicide detectives named Turner Hahn and Frank Morales working on four separate and unrelated homicide cases.  A case of 'whodunit' overkill for those who are fans of the mystery/detective genre.

Okay.  You write a novel about homicide detectives you need to create a visual image--make an in depth character study--of them.  Make the character(s) strong enough, interesting enough, and the book has a strong chance of actually being read by someone.   In Murderous Passions there are two main characters.  Equals.   Not the traditional main character with a tagalong lap dog following around repeating like a dull echo everything the main character says.  I wanted to write a complex novel.  Among other things, I wanted to create a 'buddy' novel.  Show that it was possible two equally intelligent, tough, interesting mugs could occupy the same space at the same time.  I think I succeeded.

The mugshot above is the spitting image of one of the main characters.  Turner Hahn.   Yeah, you guessed it.  The photo is Clark Gable--the 30's matinee idol of moviedom.  One tough, hard nosed, but likeable main leads in filmland to come down the pike.  I wanted to paint a mental image in the reader's mind what Turner Hahn looks like.  Clark Gable fits the bill.

Turner is bigger.  Stronger.  Has a thicker neck and a thicker mustache.  But there's that same dark hair.  That same smirk like Gable's.  That same smart-ass attitude that marked all of Gable's roles.  I'll be honest with you, pilgrim.  One of the other reasons why I wanted to write a novel, and hopefully an entire series, about two tough, hard headed, smart-ass good guys is because I think we've seen the venerable ol'genre of the mystery/detective turn into a cheering section for the anti-hero.

The bad guys and/or 'I really don't know what they are!' anti-hero is winning out.

Not good, me bucko.  Not good at all.

I think all of us need our heroes.  We need stalwart figures to stand up in literature and hold back the gathering hordes of those who prosper in chaos and mayhem.  That's Turner Hahn.  Big.  Mean when he has to be.  Gentle when he has to be.  A forever smart-ass; but as intelligent as they come.  A working blue collar cop who came off a piss-poor farm in Missouri and left it forever when he got a football scholarship to a major university.  Married once; but divorced.  Likes women but has a hard time keeping one around for long.  And rich.  Yeah, buddy;  I said the guy is rich.

One day a lawyer shows up at the precinct house and tells him a grandmother he thought was long dead left him a sizeable inheritance.  So overnight he goes from being a cop who lives from paycheck to paycheck more or less like the rest of us--suddenly finds himself wallowing in an ocean of money.

Yet he remains a cop.  Still keeps his detective's badge and goes to work every day. 

The second book of the series is coming out soon.  Called A Taste of Old Revenge.  It fills out the character sails of Turner's past and makes him a more complete man.  And you get to meet Turner's grand father.  That in itself is one interesting experience.   With luck the novel will come out in e-book form in June.

If you've read any of the many short stories I have out featuring Turner and Frank, you'll get a feel of the men.  And I'm hoping you'll like'em.  I think they'll remind you of the classic noir/hardboiled main honchos of the past--but discover they are uniquely different as well.  So go hunt up one of their stories, or the novel, and sit down and read it.  You won't be disappointed.

Now that you've met Turner there is the other half of the duo to know.

Tomorrow I'm going to talk about Turner's partner; Frank Morales.  So come back and let's do this again.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Writing in a Fit of Depression

   Depression sets in.  The stark reality of knowing the grim truth.

Buddy, you're just another cog in a machine containing billions of cogs.  You write noir/hardboiled.  Others write noir/hardboiled.  Millions of'em.  Maybe billions.  And they're all like you, Pookie.  Like you, they think they're the greatest thing since sliced-bread.  Chocolate covering caramel. A cold glass of beer on a hot summer's day.

Isn't it true?  If you're a writer you have to believe, deep down, that you're the best damn writer to come along since Raymond Chandler or John D. McDonald.  If you don't have that kind of ego, darlin', you're not going to last long.  Like leaves on the trees of summer, if you don't have that belief in yourself you're going to dry up and blow away when winter comes.

And, brother,  winter comes often in the writing game.

The competition to be seen and recognized is a set of odds stacked up to be phenomenally against you. You soon realize that it's not talent that wins out in this business.  It's luck.  Mindless, random, stupid . . . luck.

And when you finally come to this conclusion, that's when the depression sets in.  A morass of black fuming invectives and deep pits of bubbling anger barely kept in check.  Or not kept in check, depending on how strong you are in controlling your emotions.  A sense of pointlessness overwhelms you.  You keep asking yourself over and over again, "Why keep doing this shit?  Why beat myself up on something that no one . . NO ONE . . . is ever going to read?"

Welcome, brother or sister, to the Brotherhood of The Writer.  You are now a charter member.

So how do you get out of the slime pit of pitying yourself?  How do you shake off the depression and get back to an even keel?  What's the secret, Merlin, in finding the light again?  The Answer?  

From within yourself.

Nothing external is going to help you.  It's got to come from inside your creative soul to pull you out of your doldrums.  It's a far easier  effort if you have a well-developed, warped sense of humor.  Humor . . . laughter . . . may be the greatest penicillin for depression ever invented.  If you can laugh at yourself, first and foremost, and then at the world in general--well then, you're going to be okay.  Yeah, there will be bad days.  But with that sense of humor of yours, you're gonna get through it.

But what if you haven't got a humorous bone in your body?  What then, Pookie?

Ask yourself two questions:  And answer them with brutal honesty.

  1.  Do you write because, deep down, you want to be rich and famous?


  2.  Do you write because there are stories in you  . . . characters in you . . . who demand to be heard.

The answer to getting over your depression rests in which question is your driving force for the writing you do.  So, I guess, I can't help you anymore.  I wish I could offer more suggestions.  But I can't. You have to decide for yourself.

Good luck, kid.  I'm pulling for you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011



You sit down and start to write a short story.  Or a novel.  Or a movie script.  You slave over the keyboard.  You bleed all over your computer screen.  You litter the keyboard with cake crumbs and spill coffee . . . or bourbon . . . or Coke . . . everywhere.

It's a fraken war.  It's like dragging a nine hundred pound gorilla through the front door of a baby's doll house.

Okay, Pookie.  Time's up. Time to throw that piece of shit out and start over.

No--I'm not kidding.  It's time to go.

Let's face it, the real artist in you isn't too thrilled about what you're writing.  In fact it thinks it's . . . well . . . . literately a piece of shit.  So why fight it?  The real artist in you knows what's good for you.

The real artist is the subconscious.  Your subconscious.  That strange old man who lives in the basement and is never seen when the sun's out.  Day in/day out he's down there pounding away on the keys writing something.  And you--the fresh faced, pimple-assed young kid living up on the top floor (the conscious, bucko!) damn well better listen to the Ole' Man.  And nine times out of ten you do and don't even know it.  When the story flows like the biblical Honey of Plenty, when your fingers fly over the keys and the story just rolls out, that's when you and the Ole' Man are on the same page.

But when the story declares war on you and won't take any prisoners--nor expect to be taken prisoner-- well then, Pookie;  you know now what to do.  It's the Ole' Man is talking to you.

Want my advice?

Listen to the Ole' Man.  He'll  save you hours upon hours of useless rewrites.  And a few gray hairs.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Writing the short story

Writing the short story. How do you do it?

Got a theory/idea on what constitutes a great short story?

Yes . . . and no, baby. I do and I don't. For the last 18 months I've been writing a lot of short stories. Playing with them. Slicing and dicing and trying to come up with a form that moves with a smooth flow; like drinking the first glass of Coke Cola of the day (my preferred drink). Kinda goes down the throat with a hot kick and a squirming growl--but tastes soooooooooo good doing it!

What I've come up with is this. First, I like innuendo in telling a story instead of throwing a brick through a store front window. What you imply in the story is as important as saying something. Critically so--since it gives the reader the luxury of allowing his imagination to build all kinds of mental images and implications around the main story.

Secondly, Raymond Chandler had it right: brevity in dialogue. Short, vicious body punches straight to the gut when it comes to dialogue. Crisp, tight dialogue--and not too much of it--is the icing on the cake. It offers the best vehicle for you to spring that surpise ending. Or tug the emotional strings of the heart in a profound way.

Thirdly--and possibly controversially--leave a few holes in the plot. Yes, the plot has to make sense. If the plot isn't laid down into a believable carpet, everything else falls to pieces. But it's not important to explain every detail. Again, it goes back to the Number One thingee--the implications. Half the joy for a reader, I think, is figuring out how the crime/hit/love note/whatever . . . was actually done/created.

Fourthly--one sentence descriptions. Vivid descriptions to describe scene settings, people, actions. In one sentence (not one sentence for all! One sentence for each item). Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely critical.

There. That's it. The Perfect Short Story!!

Or is it?

You tell me.