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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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lymphoma story update

I'm working on the section two of my murder short story right now (story opening here). Had some fun with some pure creative this morning as I worked up some details about the fictional company that the protagonist works for. This section will begin with few paragraphs of this background before giving way to to the story narrative itself, which will begin with the protagonist working late at home one Sunday night.

When the narrative kicks in, it will be 8 weeks after this hard-ass boss Janet has arrived at the company. Janet has imposed some very strict productivity standards which have put everyone under great pressure to perform. On the other hand, morale is also flagging and a lot of people feel undervalued if not worthless for what they bring to the company. At one time, they felt like a team of highly-skilled partners working together to create sophisticated solutions to complex problems. Now felt like a line of factory workers that fabricated software applications by assembling code snippets prepared by various other teams whom they never work with directly. Janet's reforms were not taking hold at the root level, to be sure.

By the end of this week, the tempo will increase to a feverish pitch for the protagonist himself. He will have been served notice that if he doesn't do X, Y and Z he'll be fired. And things aren't going well at home at all. His infant son is afflicted with a mysterious illness that causes him to be disagreeable most of the time. The fallout from this illness has also exacerbated some serious problems he's been having with his wife. And finally, after succumbing to pressure from his doctor (who's also a close friend from college), he agrees to investigate the source of the very bad headaches he's been getting recently. This leads to him receiving some very bad news about his own health that same week.

Soon after this, he will find himself in a situation in which he can take his boss's life in the heat of the moment. I don't yet have a detailed picture of how that will happen, but I know that it will reveal itself as I complete the sections leading up to it. I expect that the stuff I just described will itself generate a few thousand words.

On a side note re length, I've found myself almost obsessively checking my cumulative story length to make sure it's not too long. I'm mindful of the fact that I can write a lot of quantity pretty quickly, so I want to be sure that I'm not including too much extraneous content. Working on a short story is good practice for that because there's simply not enough room to write too much about anything. Short crime stories have to be concise and fast-moving. That's how the suspense and tension is created.