I’ve been writing fiction since I was an adolescent. Along the way have been short stories that, though completed, are probably disintegrating in a landfill somewhere. They aren’t lost works of art, but works that are lost for a reason. They were terrible.
Think I’m being harsh? Think of it this way: as a young writer writes, they develop and craft stories where they learn how not to write.
I like to further think of it this way. Fans used to ask parody musician “Weird Al” Yankovic why he won’t release a director’s cut of his movie, UHF. The original cut was 2.5 hours long, while the theatrical cut was 90 minutes. Al said this: most of the deleted scenes were cut either because the pacing was wrong or, frankly, they sucked.
Still, here’s a short list of short stories I wrote in my younger years that probably will never see the night of day:
Scorpion Lake — I wrote this one-page story when I was eight. It was about a lake filled with scorpions. Someone died while swimming in it. Long ago, I abandoned hope of Steven Spielberg’s people negotiating with my people for the movie rights.
Tom Morder and His Nitwit Brother — Largely inspired by Judy Blume’s Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, I wrote four chapters of a book about a cool older brother and an annoying younger brother. I seem to remember the two brothers were originally from West Monroe, Louisiana, which is where I was born.
The Water Man — Based on my childhood fear of water towers. A man is angry about being bested in a swimming competition and gets revenge on the winner by having his henchmen strap him down with weights and throw him into a water tower to drown. The winning swimmer, dead, a few weeks later emerges through his opponent’s toilet and drags him to the water tower for revenge.
The House on Birch Street — What aspiring young writer doesn’t at some point tackle the “haunted house” story line? A man buys a house from an older man, only to learn the older man is a Satanist who, along with his ancestors who have lived in the house since the Colonial Days, has murdered/buried many people in the house’s basement. The young man ends up killing the older man, killing all the “undead” bodies in the basement, gets married to a pretty girl and then, using a rocket launcher he purchases from a local gun shop owner (don’t ask—I was 12 and incredibly naïve when I wrote this story), blows up the haunted house. He and his wife drive off into the sunset.
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