July 13, 2008

The World of Short Stories

I didn't really set out to write "disturbing" stories, but a reviewer recently described my debut mystery story "Cabin 6" from Resort to Murder with just that label. There's a reason, though, that the story came out the way it did. Let me explain.

When I first met veteran legal mystery/thriller writer Lisa Scottoline (who's one of the most personable and entertaining writers out there), I had not yet begun to write mysteries, but had recently had a bizarre encounter with a scary person that just begged to be written about. I asked Lisa how writers live with the evil and creepiness of some of the characters and scenarios found in a typical mystery. Her answer was that it was important to choose one's on-the-page companions carefully, as you had to be able to live with them for a long, long time while you did the heavy lifting of creating a novel.

Several years later when I began working on Death by the Depot, my current novel-in-progress, I remembered Lisa's words. I began crafting a world populated mostly by people I wouldn't mind meeting, and situations that seemed close to real life. I decided to leave the psychopaths, car chases, and gore to some other writer who could do better by them.

My short stories are another matter. Short stories have become the place where I can take a scary situation or odd personality and let them develop in their own little petri dish. Since a short story can be written in hours instead of years, they have become a way for me to experiment with writing about "darker" sides of life. Thus, the above-described "disturbing" short story. But never fear, not all of my stories can be called disturbing! There are some lighter fare as well.

In any case, here's what the reviewer wrote about my Resort to Murder story: that DaCosta's "disturbing story 'Cabin 6' ... is her first story and it is a good one...."

"Good"? Now, there's a word that doesn't beg any explanation!

Read Kevin Tipple's entire Resort to Murder book review at Blogger News (7/13/08)

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