Short Story: “The Rottweiler”

Pop Fiction

Should the new short story be entertaining?

ONCE, not much over 100 years ago, the short story was the most popular art form. The American public consumed stories voraciously– work by Jack London, Frank Stockton, Richard Connell, O. Henry, Stephen Crane– even from more refined types like Edith Wharton and Henry James.

What was the hallmark of the short story?

They were entertaining.

Build a better story, we believe, and the public will beat a path toward your door. We’ve already seen steps– baby steps anyway– in that direction in the prestigious-and-usually-snobby pages of The New Yorker. which recently for the first time in decades published a story that some people actually wanted to read.

And so, we give you a tale of suspense and mystery– “The Rottweiler” by Alex Bernstein, one of the best new practitioners of the short story art going. You’ll find in the work a touch of humor, and perhaps a rottweiler or two. Jump into the adventure. . . .

“On the plus side – if we kill you – we don’t have to put up with all this fuss and noise all the time. On the negative side…mm…Woolsy, what was the negative side, again?”

*******
(Painting by Claude T. Stanfield-Moore.)

 

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Scenes from a Scary Novel

Pop Fiction

Happy Halloween! We find ourselves without a new Halloween story to present to you– so we dug up from a literary crypt fragments of an unfinished slasher novel, like cut-up pieces of a corpse. The original idea was that the intellectual parts of the novel would be scarier than the scary parts. It’s about a city, a mayor, and his wife, and staff, and a series of murders with which they’re confronted. Read the excerpts here.

The resurrected novel notes anyway are an apt prelude to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which kicks off November 1st. We’ll be doing a presentation for NaNoWriMo in the Detroit area– more info to follow .

The finely-sharpened hunting knife filled the killer’s vision. Staring at the edge of the knife intoxicated him. The image carried resonances of barbarism. Violence and blood. To his warped mind, the killings were necessary, but they’d also become fun.

Ergo Propter Hoc

Pop Lit Fiction

What makes a great short story? What elements create an unforgettable reading experience?

Part of the proper mix has to be character, setting, and reality– crafting a place in space so visceral and authentic you can jump into it with your mind.

Part of it is simply hooking the reader like Hemingway hooking a marlin. Then keeping the reader hooked on the narrative line right to the end.

We believe Scott Cannon achieves this with his newest story for us, “Ergo Propter Hoc.” Why the unusual title? Well, the story has to do with the legal profession, and a process server, a lawyer; a search and a situation. . . . But read the story!

The guy half turned to him. His hand on the bar next to Eddie was the size of a small ham. Dime shaped scabs covered the first three knuckles. “Ever been to San Francisco?” the guy asked.