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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Set 'em up again, my darlin'

A year ago, the Buffalo News ran a short story contest in which I entered. And now they're doing another one, this time requiring that each entry be in the mystery/suspense genre. I have little experience at this genre per se, but I imagine it's pretty difficult to generate suspense in a 1500-word piece of fiction. However, I'm game as always.

I do wish the News folks would, in the future, abandon their apparent habit of requiring that each story contain the same chunk of text. While this year you're allowed to use the required text anywhere in the story (last year you had to start with the text they gave), the required text is still pedestrian and just plain goofy, with one of the lamest Buffalo "hooks" I've ever seen:

"The Bills make me want to SHOUT ..." Angela hunted for the source of the song, clambering up the statue of Nikolai Tesla like so many Goat Island tourists before her, the bronze of the statue polished by their passing.

The cell phone in Tesla's lap was Michael's, of course. And as she reached for it, she remembered mocking his fan boy devotion when he played her the ring tone, that song.

"I see you were smart enough to listen, and come alone," the caller hissed, in a French accent as fake as Groucho glasses. "Now we shall see whether you are smart enough to save your brother's life."


God, who at the News wrote that?! It reads like the teaser of Law and Order: Decaying Rust Belt City Unit.

Oh well, I'm still game. I've already got the basic story mapped out in my head. It'll involve space aliens, of course.

(Well, OK, no, it won't. But I'm not giving my idea out, just in case there are any idea thieves out there. Get yer own ideas!)

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