If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

April Interviews

4/1 Jennifer Chow, Mimi Lee Gets A Clue
4/8 John Gaspard
4/15 Art Taylor, The Boy Detective & The Summer of '74
4/22 Maggie Toussaint, Seas the Day
4/29 Grace Topping, Staging Wars

Saturday Guest Bloggers
4/4 Sasscer Hill
4/18 Jackie Green

WWK Bloggers:
4/11 Paula Gail Benson
4/25 Kait Carson


WWK is proud of our four Agatha nominees. Kaye George for Best Short Story--not her first time to be nominated, Connie Berry and Grace Topping for Best First Mystery Novel (wish they weren't having to compete against each other), and Annette Dashofy for Best Contemporary Novel--her fifth nomination!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Kaye George's first novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Revenge is Sweet, will be released on March 10th. Look for the interview here on March 11.

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, will be released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here on April 29th.

Don't miss Shari Randall's "The Queen of Christmas" available on at Amazon. Shari's holiday story for WWK was too long so she published it for our enjoyment. It's available for 99 cents or on Kindle Unlimited for free!

KM Rockwood's "The Society" and "To Die A Free Man; the Story of Joseph Bowers" are included in the BOULD Awards Anthology, which was released on November 19. KM won second place with a cash prize for "The Society." Congratulations, KM! Kaye George's "Meeting on the Funicular" is also in this anthology, which can be bought for 99 cents on Kindle until November 30.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!


Sunday, February 2, 2020

First Lines for Shorts

 by Kaye George

As writers, and as readers, we know how important beginnings are. The first line, the first paragraph, the first page—that’s what determines whether or not the reader decides to invest more precious time in your story or not. I’m going to deal with short stories today.

I have some first lines I’m proud of. And some that work okay. I’ll put some of mine out there. Feel free to rip me up—I mean rip my WORK up, not me. (Although it does feel that way, right, writers?) Also feel free to tell me some of yours that work, or some famous ones you love.

“Grist for the Mill” (have to say this, my Agatha nominated story) in A MURDER OF CROWS:
Kevin Grady couldn’t wait to get outside.
***I hope I’ve made the reader wonder why he wants to go outside and can’t wait.
You know, I like the first line of the second paragraph better:
When he choked on it, he stopped and looked around, spitting out the foul taste he had inhaled.
***Now you have to wonder what he’s choking on. Much more important.

“The Darkest Hour” in DAY OF THE DARK, 2017
I think it was on a Saturday afternoon when Tom got the bright idea to rent out our spare room for the eclipse. I wish I’d just killed him then.
***Two sentences, but I have to use both of them to entice you into the story.

“Dream Girl” in BOULD Anthology, 2019
She stretched with delight. What a great dream that had been!
***Of course, here, I want you to wonder what the dream was. That’s revealed over the course of the story, which I hope confuses the heck out of the reader.

“The Bible Belt Buckle Killer” in Suspense Magazine, Fall of 2018:
Isabel Musik dropped her Bloody Mary when she heard the scream.
***This is my second Isabel Musik story. She’s a “reformed” vampire, so it’s fitting she’s drinking a Bloody Mary.

I’ll put a few more of mine out here, then step aside and let you post yours.

“The Truck Contest, Fish Tales” (the first Guppy anthology):
The first time I saw it I assumed it was an accident.

“Levittown Louie,” Mysterical-E, Spring 2007
First off, Kimber's entrance to the Ground Hog Day Ball was disastrous.

“Handbaskets, Drawers, and a Killer Cold,” Crooked, January 2009:
“If your brother screws up once more…” Cal Arnold’s tirade skittered to a stop at the expression on his wife’s face.

“Snatched Potatoes,” Kings River Life, June 2014, also in Black Cat Thrillogy #11 from Wildside:
“Be sure you gouge out the eyes, Imogene.”

Barb Goffman, Cynthia Kuhn, Shawn Reilly Simmons, and Art Taylor

Your turn!

You can find links to these on my short story page, some for purchase, some to read:

hourglass photo by lisaleo at morguefile.com


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

"Lizzie, I need a quick word."

"Busted at the Book Sale," an upcoming Kings River Life short story podcast

Grace Topping said...

Wonderful first lines, Kaye. As I've discovered, first lines, first paragraphs, first pages are hard. I noticed that some of your first lines start with dialogue. I like that. It takes the reader immediately into the story. I started both of my books with dialogue. "You work for that woman and you'll end up killing each other." Staging is Murder. "There's a body in Hendricks Funeral Home." Staging Wars.

Kait said...

What a great blog. Short stories are hard, so few words, so much to convey. You are a master at it.

Kaye George said...

Thanks for your sample, Margaret! Grace, I agree, they ARE hard. In looking through my own stories, I found a lot that could probably have been improved. Thanks, Kait!!!

Paula Gail Benson said...

My most recent short, "Wisest, Swiftest, Kindest," begins with a line of dialogue: "You're too mired in the past." It's said by a soon to be ex-boyfriend to his English grad student girlfriend who is about to time travel to meet her literary heroes.

Paula Gail Benson said...

P.S. I agree with Kait. Kaye, you are a master at first lines for shorts. Doesn't it feel great when you find the perfect one?

Marilyn Levinson said...

Yes, my dear. You are a master at short stories. Just read the one from A MURDER OF CROWS. Very worthy of being an Agatha nominee.

Kaye George said...

Paula, that's perfect! It conveys the whole theme of the story and also leads the reader in. It does feel good, Paula, but it doesn't always happen, I'm sure you know. Thanks, Marilyn! I will now dismiss the meeting of the KG admiration committee. (Love you guys!)

KM Rockwood said...

"The gun was heavy in my pocket."

Liquor Store Holdup
by KM Rockwood

First appeared in Jack Hardway’s Crime Magazine, v. 2 # 2, March/April 2015

Kaye George said...

Love it, KM!

carla said...

Great first lines!!!

Kaye George said...

Thank you, Carla!

Marilyn Levinson said...

Many years ago when I subbed, I'd give the class an opening line to start them writing. My favorite was:
"Mary stared down the cellar stairs and screamed."

Please excuse the typo in my comment above. It should have read: "You are a master of short stories." Not "at short stories."

Kaye George said...

Poor Mary--that's a good one! Of, at, I thank you very much either way!