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Still Swamped, But ...

... if you have time to kill, you could read this short story I am working on for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and give with the constructive criticism. You could totally do that. It would be swell.

At 6,500 words its of a print-out-and-read-on-the-bus length, but y'all provided such great feedback last time that I thought I'd return to the well.

Update: Ha! Yeah, okay: the New York Times Sunday paper doesn't have a comics section. You got me there. See, this is why I run things past you guys first.

A big thanks to everyone who provided feedback. Those who missed it--well, with any luck it will be in print someday ...

Posted on February 27, 2008 to Misc


Great! One little nit-pic..maybe say it was Kendall earlier in the 911 call. I had to go back.
Maybe you could tighten up that great ending. Just say someting like ...'I already have....
A wife for a wife, and even more.'

Fun reading, start to finish. Thanks.

Posted by: Notamused on February 27, 2008 11:52 PM

But the New York Times doesn't have a comics section. Not even on Sundays.

Posted by: Anonymous on February 28, 2008 4:19 AM

Great story -- very deftly told. Thanks for sharing it. I didn't mean to read it until later, but I got pulled in and couldn't stop. Since you asked:

- A typo: "I sleepwalked thought my days"
- When he finds the gun in a closet it's a .45, but later it's a .22.
- I found "cursory examination" to be distracting--why not just say it was loaded?
- I loved the reference to stygian darkness. Makes me think of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
- NYT has no comics section.

Posted by: Dan on February 28, 2008 6:57 AM

Oh, so you have time to write your stories, but no time for us? I see. That's how it is now.

Great story though, and well written. Nice twist. A few typos, but I assume their editor will take care of those.

One point I thought was a little cheap (in retrospect) - he carefully tracks Byre's movements and jots down notes about his closest neighbors as well. If he were tracking Mrs. Byre, it's glaringly missing from there. (I understand why you left it out, but I don't think it quite works for him to leave it out.)

Posted by: Reuven on February 28, 2008 7:17 AM

Ummm... having posted it may have compromised your ability to sell it. They almost certainly buy first publication rights, and, well, you just published it. (It's up to them, of course.)

Posted by: Zed on February 28, 2008 8:02 AM

Unless the narrator and his beloved were setting hens, they wouldn't "lay under the covers", they would lie under the covers.

Posted by: Molly on February 28, 2008 2:03 PM

I also had to go back and re-read the 911 call scene. It's because you're in first person just before it, then the call goes right into first person, but the narrator has changed.

At the end, I also went back to re-read, but I suspect you'd see *that* as a good thing...

Posted by: Brian Greenberg on February 28, 2008 2:51 PM

"His attorney structured his case around a two arguments."

I'm guessing the 'a' is spurious :-)

Posted by: Jan Ives on February 28, 2008 4:49 PM

I don't know if I'm too late but here are my thoughts:
I really liked it.
If people have a "box of cigarettes" it's a carton not a pack like someone would normally carry even if the pack itself is an actual box.
Your gun changes from a 45 when the protaganist finds it to a 22 when he is buying the silencer.
A run through for grammatical errors and I think you are done!
Nice job. I'm a subscriber to AHMM and I would love to read this again in print!

Posted by: tulip on February 29, 2008 5:25 AM

By "gibbets" I assume you mean "giblets"? Unless of course you want to turn birds into guillotines/gallows.

I felt (aside from the "Mr. Vocabulary Prick" comments above) that the ending felt a little bit rushed to me. I loved the reveal of the fact that the wife was killed, beautifully snuck in.

Posted by: pantaloonfan on February 29, 2008 6:53 AM

I'm with tulip.

I would just add that I thought the bit about the dinosaur and the broken flower vase was a bit lacking in development and could've been foreshadowed better.

(Yes. You're right. A little bitter that I missed it? You could say that.)

Posted by: ondioline on February 29, 2008 1:52 PM

The New York Times Magazine has comics, of a sort, on Sunday.

Posted by: Fred on February 29, 2008 2:46 PM

And William F. Buckley is still dead. Hooray!

Posted by: Garth Vader on February 29, 2008 8:48 PM

Keep your day job.

Posted by: Fred on March 1, 2008 10:00 PM

You stop posting for many weeks, so I adjust my visitation schedule. I came on the 26th. No post. I return today. I missed literature.

This simply will not do. Any chance of getting a late-arrival story pass?

Posted by: MBCBUYB on March 3, 2008 1:46 PM

You aren't some sort of liberal Jew? Because if you were, I'd never hire you to be editor of my prestigious, big word usin', Negro-hatin' magazine The Weekly Standard. Perhaps if you were liberal, I'd let it slide.

Now I must dine with Generalissimo Franco and Adolf Hitler in Conservative Catholic Heaven. I'm playing my harpsichord for Ken Lay and Pablo Escobar.


Posted by: The Ghost of William F. Buckley on March 3, 2008 7:28 PM