Tag Archives: short story

Ya Never Know What Might Happen Until What Might Happen, Happens to Happen

son-of-chris-riding-shotgun-playing-guitar-at-pfEarlier in life, I fancied myself a musician headed for the big time. Oh, I guess you could say I had my moment in the small time limelight, but that’s about as far as it got in my world of hard rock mania. I quit the band about six months before my son was born. I figured it wouldn’t be right trying to raise a child and play music every weekend. It turned out to be the right decision.

I did, however, continue to beat on my acoustic and would occasionally fire up the Les Paul for my rock fix. This also turned out to be the right decision. I would hand my little buddy a pick and sit down to play for him some of his favorite tunes. We’d dim the lights in the house, maybe light a candle or two, and I’d begin to play and sing “Wooly Swamp” or  “Black Water Hattie” and let him use his pick to scratch down the strings every once in a while. When he got older, he began to listen to my favorite band, “RUSH.” He began to play bass and after a while we started learning “RUSH” tunes. We saw them in concert in 2002 and every year they toured after that, until their 40th anniversary in 2015, which turned out to be their farewell tour. They were good times.

In fact, my son was the reason I began to write. On a surf fishing trip to Cape Hatteras, after I was informed that a layoff was on the horizon, he suggested I give writing a try. He had read several of my short stories and thought writing may be a good fit. I wasn’t sure I had a novel in me, being so used to penning short stories. I gave it a try, and my fourth novel entitled “DEADLY REIGN” is due to be released in March 2017. Never hurts to try!

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If You’re Gonna Write Then Write…If You’re Gonna Read What You’ve Written, Then Maybe you Ought not Write

bad-writerWriting is an interesting activity…actually it’s moreover a way to circumnavigate reality. It’s the only place I know where you can exist in the past, present, and future simultaneously.

That being said there are different ways this can be accomplished. Now, I want you to imagine the first short story you wrote. I will use my first key board to virtual paper to relate my first writing experience.

I snuggled down in front of my computer to write my first short story. Fearing I would never have the patience to pen a novel, I felt right at home with a less lengthy narrative. As soon as I had a story line (more or less), I happily began to write in earnest, knowing the story flowed well and was full of action to keep any reader’s attention.

It took several days, but I finished my masterpiece and prepared myself mentally to knock out another. Of course, I decided I should take a quick look at the tale I had just woven in case there might be an errant mistake.

I finished the first sentence, pleased as punch that this scrumptious piece of literary work was mine and mine alone. I then moved onto the second sentence. By the time I finished the first paragraph, I wondered if I was reading the same manuscript.

Not to be deterred, I continued to read. Once I completed this 6000 word atrocity, I knew there were one of two ways I could proceed–rewrite the story or push my computer out of the window and never speak of this again.

This story was so badly written that I had to thicken my skin just to be able to absorb insults I hurled at myself. I decided to continue writing and despite the trashy comments I heaped upon my work, I managed to publish 3 novels. Do us both a favor and don’t read any reviews from a guy named Lynn Steigleder; he’ll say nasty things and give away the ending.

If you take anything away from this blog…make it this…don’t read your own work, it’ll just clutter up your writing and give you things to do that you’d rather not do.

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Latest Short Story Post “Gesundheit”

ShortstoryNew short story “Gesundheit” just posted. You will also find a collection of short stories written in genre’s from science fiction to the supernatural. Just click on the short stories tab above to access and enjoy!

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If My Short Stories in Any Way Make You Feel Uncomfortable Then Call My Friend Suzie….She Cares

images (1)Have you ever thought how your writing (be it short story, novel or what have you) may affect your readership?

Well, I’ve had the good fortune…or possibly misfortune (depending on how you want to look at it) of hearing detailed commentary on a short story I penned several years ago.

To give you a brief synopsis, one of the main characters in the story was killed unnecessarily by someone who thought they were performing an act of mercy. (The story can be found on Facebook on my Short Story page or Word Press, “Author Lynn Steigleder.” The story’s title is “Jack in the Box.”)

The individual who read the story (we’ll call her Suzie) became distressed to the point of suffering physical symptoms directly related to the end of the piece.

Now, to me, I feel like I’ve done my job in so far as pulling a reader into a make-believe world and having her express true empathy for human beings that only exist in the mind.

She can actually see the story as it unfolds and knows where this character lives; not far from where she herself lived twenty-eight years prior.

Suzie has developed such an aversion to “Jack in the Box” that she says she wishes she had never read it. It’s etched in her brain and she cringes when it comes to mind.

This happened recently during a book club meeting. Suzie recounted a small portion of the story to her club members. (Great praise for an author, right?…think again…wrong!) Her description was one of such distaste that you thought she was relaying an account of a true story. “I hated it,” she said, in no uncertain terms.

Now, I had to ask her, “If you hate a story, you normally mean the story itself was lacking in plot and the writing’s sub-standard, don’t you?” She assured me this was not the case and reiterated the plot was loathsome in places. Suzie also made a point to tell me the writing was exemplary leading to the graphic nature of her problem with the piece.

So, I thought as my head began to swell, not too shabby. I still got it! Can mak’em cry, cringe, and puke all in under six thousand words.

The title, “Jack in the Box,” even causes Suzie to shake her head along with a slight shudder.


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If You Dream Silly, Off The Wall, Nonsensical Dreams, Think About That Mess Before You Decide to Record It

originalWe all have dreams. I’m not one who puts stock that dreams mean anything other than what they are: either what we’ve done that day, seen on TV, or a thought we’ve stowed away in our subconscious that escapes that particular night.

I’ve never thought of turning one into any kind of blog, short story, etc., until now. We all know how real or muddy a dream can be. Well, hold on to your hats, sister, cuz I’m gonna take you for a ride.

First, allow me to set the stage: I’m traveling down a dirt road in my convertible El Camino. Behind me (in tow) is a thirty to forty foot boat. Beside me sits none other than old blue eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. (And less any rumors begin to circulate from this work of fiction; I am neither now nor have ever been a Sinatra fan.)

We’re cruising down the dirt highway and I run into a ditch. Now, when I say a ditch, I actually mean a six-foot deep twelve-foot wide rut that cuts a path straight across the road. I get out of my ride to survey the situation and calculate a solution. Wouldn’t you just know it that ole lazy bones (Frank) refuses to lend a hand in the operation? So as any good and respectable property owner should do, I lift the car in one hand and the boat in the other onto the opposite side of the road.

We continue down our dirt path which turns into a beach. What I assume are vacationers scatter, dive and jump to get out of the way as I motor across the sand. It’s at this point that the car turns into a rubber life raft. We travel under a pier and I find myself transitioning from sand to surf and finally over sea. (Did I mention the raft was flying?)

I look back and Frankie boy has abandoned ship and latched on to one of the pier columns. (Good riddance, I think. You haven’t contributed anything since you’ve been here.)

I continue on enjoying my flight over the ocean. The life raft begins to deflate, I spread my arms and resume my trek, bobbing, weaving, diving and the like. After a while, I decide I should return to shore before my ability to fly ends and I have no option but to ditch into the ocean.

Alas, this is where my capability to sail upon the winds in true human flight, comes to an end. My only solace comes from the picture of ole blue eyes latched ahold of a pier support, soggy, with a terrified look on his face.

You know, on second thought, maybe one should not record such things for others to read. It makes for unnecessary gatherings around the water cooler.

So, when you speak of me, please speak well.

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Saying What I Said Does Not Necessarily Mean I Said What You Thought I Said. Sometimes It’s What Someone Else Surmised I Said…Just Saying

As I’m writing a novel, short story, or whatever, I attempt to make it feel as though the reader is a part of what woke up deadI’m writing by being descriptive about surroundings, clothing and anything you would normally experience in day-to-day life; including dialogue–the type of which I refer to as “goofy stuff.”

I’ve now learned that make-believe people say, do, and believe the same idiotic things that us real, dad gum, true-to-life people what breathes air and everything do…things like sayings, that, although make absolutely no sense, seem to make perfect sense to a certain percentage of the living/nonliving population.

Have you ever “woken up dead?” It seems there are those who have accomplished this feat. I’m still looking for a credible occurrence but all those who claim to have risen from their slumber in this condition are too hard to understand; i.e., teeth falling out, limbs dropping off and you would not believe the smell.

Another interesting quote that I seem to hear entirely too often (in fact, I think it should become a misdemeanor) is, “I’m finding myself.” Boy, if you ain’t found yourself by now, you better stop looking. Let me give you step-by-step instructions on how to accomplish this feat.

1) Walk into the bathroom.
2) Stand in front of the mirror.
3) If your eyes are closed, open them.
4) You are officially “found.”
5) Now, get off whatever part of your body you’ve been lazing around on, get a job, and act like somebody.
6) If by chance you still cannot locate yourself, then it’s quite possible you are wasting oxygen the rest of us can use. Maybe you should consider an exploratory trip to Jupiter. I’m sure you’d have no trouble getting there.

We’re coming down the home stretch.

Wrap your head around this one, “I found it in the last place I looked.” Let’s take a moment to dissect this statement. One could say, “I looked in ten different places, then low and behold, I found it in the 3rd place I looked.” What does this statement say to you? Does it scream idiocrasy or does it imply a more insightful conclusion to this conundrum by way of tenacity?

If you’ve taken time to read the last paragraph, then know this: You have wasted a minute or so of your life that you will never get back.

I will leave you with these words of wisdom for those of you who haven’t departed for Jupiter as of yet. Live, love, laugh, linger in lucidly, lounge in leisure, listen, learn, lavish in lessons and leap into life. Just stay away from stupid stuff.

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Boy! That’s a Lot of Words!

Ah, the written word. I spring from my bedbooks each day, eager to finish the morning’s necessities so that I can continue writing where I left off the night before. I press the computer’s on button with trepidation, fearful that my characters may have become a bit miffed with me for leaving them hanging or in dire straits while I comfortably slept the night away.

Before we go any further I would like to state for the record that I am not psychotic–that’s my other personality, Bob, and he’s afraid of what everyone thinks of him. Me, I don’t care if the little book boogers have an ax to grind or not. Right now, it’s time to get to work.

As I reach for the first key, I glance at the lower left-hand corner of my monitor to check the word count. I pause. Why would I do such a thing? I am confounded at my own thoughts; not to mention, the heckling I receive from my book-bound characters who are now threatening union violations possibly leading to a strike.

“Just try it,” I say. “You’ll never work in this book again.” There, that’ll keep’em quiet for a while.

Now, back to my original question–why such interest in the word count? Could it be that the commercial entities who control the business demand that it be so? I answer my own question with an emphatic, “yes.”

Amidst the grunts and grumbles of my pint-sized page walkers, I delve deeper into the word count conspiracy.

It seems that first and foremost the novel stands alone. Word count can vary anywhere between 55,000 to 125,000 depending on which genre you are writing. War and Peace was an astounding 561,304 words. I’m surprised Tolstoy’s not still writing.

Next the novella will range from 20,000 words to 55,000 words. “Excuse me one moment please.”

“Shut up, you little comic book rejects! Keep it up and I’ll see to it that you end up at the bottom of a slush pile on some editor’s desk in outer Mongolia.”

Sorry about that, my precious little ones are now demanding a raise.

We now have the novelette or long story, if you prefer. We’re talking 7,500 to 20,000 words.

The short story; 2, 500 to 7, 500 words.

The short, short story; up to 2, 500 words.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, up pops another category–flash fiction. This class of literature contains as few as 2 words or as many as 150.
I can’t resist looking in the lower left-hand corner of my monitor. The number tells me that if I were writing this newcomer to the literary stage, I would have nearly completed 230 pieces by now.

“Uh oh, here comes Bob and he’s lookin’ some kinda mad. Now you’re in for it you little pulpwood ingrates.”

“See you next week; I’m outta here.”


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