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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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submission to Nancy Stohlman's 2004 Short Story Contest

I just made my first official submission today! I sent my little story to a small contest run by a fiction editor named Nancy Stohlman. The contest has undoubtedly modest means, but what I'm looking for most is professional feedback, which is, contrary to many writing contests, something which all entries to this one will receive. The winner doesn't get a lot of fame and fortune or anything either, but something perhaps more useful to a beginning writer: a free edit of a manuscript-length book.

This is the preamble I included with my submission:
Dear Nancy,

I've attached the short story I'd like to submit for consideration for your contest. You also asked for a short bio and some background to the piece:

I'm a 31-year-old married father of one who lives on Canada's east coast. I'm originally a jazz tenor saxophone player by trade, but I've also worked extensively in the software and marketing research industries in the past several years. I'm a lifelong fan of short crime fiction, mystery novels, and psychological thrillers, and I just recently gave myself license to pursue a longtime dream of writing in those genres myself.

My submission to your contest, which I've tentatively entitled "The Motel Bar", is my very first work of fiction. What I hope to evoke in this story, which is admittedly very short, is how calmly a murder can be committed by someone so apparently normal. I enjoy delving into how one's psychopathology can manifest in one's life and how it might affect (or on the surface in this story, not affect) the people close to them.

This piece is meant to be a bit chilling, and yet by the end, I hope that the reader might almost empathize with the narrator. I very much look forward to reading your impressions and feedback. I'm also looking for a better title, if you have one to suggest.

I'd also like to make note that this story is purely a product of my imagination and does not represent any hidden desires that I might have in common with this narrator. I also feel compelled to say that I have not personally suffered the particular experience that motivates this narrator to murder his victims.

Many thanks for accepting my entry to your contest. I look forward very much to reading your feedback.