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August Story Chat Summary

The Story’s Success

With 193 recent views, 37 likes, and 64 comments, Gloria McBreen’s story, Backstab” continues to make Story Chat a raging success.

If you love to read short stories, you will enjoy Story Chat. For links to all of the Year Two stories bookmark the Story Chat Page or visit one of the authors’ recent blog posts listed below.

99-Word No More – No Less Summary

Millie and Judy drank their Pinot Grigio on a balcony in France overlooking fields of lavender embroiled in a sisterly tell-all. Judy had amends to make after hiding the truth, even about her reason for not having children, from her sister.

With the capable help of her new love, George,  Lucas’s accountant, Judy had successfully embezzled the ill-gotten gains from her husband Lucas’s sex trafficking business. 

After ensuring the money’s safety, the two thieves turned her husband into the proper authorities and reinvested the funds into a new women’s refuge center for young women trapped in the sex business.

Click for the newest 99-word-Flash Fiction challenge from Carrot Ranch

Attendance with Abbreviated Chattering

WARNING: Story Chat is not for the faint of heart. Going into a chat room online is much the same as going to a party. Story Chat is usually kind of like a warm homey chat room. There’s a lot of off-topic conversation as well as niceties. Since this is a summary of the chatter, not a taped recording to be used in a murder trial, I edit (not murder) comments with a chainsaw. To do this, I take out the parts that I think are white noise or unrelated and leave some of the raw emotional comments brought out by the story. To read the unabridged comments, feel free to refer back to the story post.

If the chatterer has a blog I linked a recent post to their comment.

  • RAMBLINGS OF A RARING WRITER: AUTHOR “You are correct with the 80s/90s. My brain seems to automatically shift back a few decades when I write stories. The Internet and mobile phones rarely feature in my tales. We did have computers, but it was 1991 before the Internet came to Ireland. So I’d imagine it would have been easier for the account to embezzle from Lucas. And easier to hide away afterward ie. no social media. Back in the 80s/90s, I remember Estee Lauder being worn only by well-off women. I was in my mid-20s when I got a bottle of Chanel No 5. Well…I thought I was the Queen Bee! I choose Pinot Grigio as it would be a wine I would like to drink on a sunny patio looking out onto a field of lavender!
  • MARSHA: (HOSTESS) “The good thing about starting out with a short story is the questions it raises that bring depth to the longer story. There are so many ways this one could go – the development of the new love affair, the back story on the childhood – why one girl ended in France and the other moved away – what happened to the creep husband – how she resolved the moral issue of taking the dirty money even if she did use it in a Robin Hood fashion – lots of room for an internal talk with that one!”
  • FENDLANDPHIL: “What often happens within our writing group is that I will write a piece and I get asked what happens next, so a short piece becomes longer as I add to it. I think the essence of short stories is to set the reader’s imagination running to let them fill in their gaps and paint in their own detail.”
  • WRITING WRINKLES: “It is a challenge to cut down a story to 000 words without missing out on some of the backgrounds. You, as the writer, know what happens, so one tends to forget the reader doesn’t if one hasn’t told them. On the other hand, it’s good to leave something to the readers’ imagination. I love that you confess you didn’t want to go into how the villain was taken down because you didn’t know – I feel the same way about detective fiction. Although it’s what we watch most on TV, I’ve never tried to write any. There is plenty in here for the reader to speculate about, as has been mentioned above.  Not a lot of description of the women, but my imagination tells me that Judy’s pudgy legs could be a symptom of not looking after herself in the hope her husband would leave her alone in favour of those rich older women. Perhaps a mention of her having come from Dublin earlier on might have helped anchor us without giving too much away, but I’m just niggling.”
  • TANGENTAL: “It’s an interesting premise that raises many questions about how Judy and George unpicked this criminal operation and yet remained undiscovered while the protagonists were appropriately dealt with; that’s probably for the book that will follow this teaser! It’s set delightfully with some great imagery; the description of the lavender, the pillows, etc. There are some personal snippets of the two women – pudgy legs – but I would have liked a little more. Ditto the reference to the ancestral home; I’d love a little more of an explanation. I think the timing might need some work; at the outset, Millie clearly knows some but not a lot of Judy’s backstory yet the women’s shelter has been set up and its first occupants installed. Wouldn’t these sorts of details have been revealed over previous glasses of something chilled and white? Millie appears to have a stable situation and a classically comfortable life. As such she doesn’t express much of the worry she must have felt for her sister caught up with someone so dodgy. And did she try and pass on those feelings and was she pushed away and hurt? At the outset, Judy says she couldn’t say but there’s little of the emotional damage that might have caused. What about elderly parents too? Indeed, if I was looking for more, I was looking for the emotional context. For instance, Judy says she had been hiding and wasn’t going to risk that again, but that’s what she did. How did she manage that terror? Weren’t there times when she thought she was going to be uncovered? George, presumably was a trusted employee; how did she come to trust him not to do her in? I don’t think this was intended but, to me, Judy is something of a cold fish, rather calculating and lacking emotional intelligence. Her moral compass is working well, but I could have done with a bit more insight into how she thought and felt at different times when she was questioning the druggie contacts, who might have said something to her husband and given her away. All in all, this is a fine piece that would benefit from more depth to the characters’ emotions, to make them a little more human. Well done, Gloria!”
  • PRIORHOUSE BLOG: “How cool that I sensed the time period – and you are right about hiding out more before social media and cameras everywhere. One thing I would have liked to read about was how the trafficking was discovered. You gave us tidbits as to the younger ones there and various behaviors. But I could imagine this very striking moment when eyes meet and one of the victims reveals all in a mute with her eyes and in a stare! And speaking of time periods and trafficking – it seems that human trafficking is timeless and sadly quite a big problem – and so perhaps your story also offers some raising awareness about the prevalence or can just plant seeds for everyone to be more cognizant and do our part when we can!”
  • HUGH’S VIEWS & NEWS: “I was like Cathy in that I kept having to reread the story a few times to remember which sister was Millie and which one was Judy. I don’t know why especially given that the names don’t begin with the same letter, but my brain kept getting them muddled up. However, I enjoyed the conversation between these two sisters. It was written well and how I imagined they would have spoken, given the story behind them.”

Themes and Tips in the Discussion

To Tell All in a Short Story or Not?

  • FENDLANDPHIL: “It’s always a problem to fit everything into a short piece but sometimes less is more it stimulates the reader’s imagination to fill in the gaps.”
  • HUGH ROBERTS: “And I have to agree again with Cathy that it’s good to leave something to the readers’ imagination. I always dislike it when the whole story is told, and there is nothing left for me to think about. I never get any enjoyment from it, but when there are bits that leave me wondering, my mind starts going into overdrive.”
  • WRITING WRINKLES: “I’m all for avoiding spoon-feeding the reader. We appreciate something more if we have to work for it a little bit.”
  • TANGENTAL: “You’re right about shorts: they need to leave a lot to the reader otherwise you’d never fit them in.”

OTHER THEMES SUGGESTED BY THE STORY:

  • Robin Hood and Embezzlement
  • Sex Trafficking
  • Childbearing

PRIORHOUSE BLOG: “I think it was interesting the way you anchored with various ethical considerations. The opening deception: the topic of childbearing fertility – and added in the justification and societal issues (how astute) and then had the backstabbing deception that then had serious outreach for victims of trafficking..”

Ongoing on Always Write

  • September Story Chat “Backstab” by author, Gary A. Wilson AKA Gary A. Wilson Stories
  • WQW #32 (Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays) – “Transportation: Cars and Trucks” The only rule is to have at least one quote in your post about the topic. Remember a song can be a quote, too. Then just post a story, poem, or pictures that tie into and respond to your quote or quotes. The last day to post links is Tuesday at 12:00 noon Phoenix time.
  • PPAC #56 (Photographing Public Art Challenge) “Public Art in Heat or Cold, Black and White or Two Colors” every Friday at 9:00 (ish). The last day to post links is Thursday at 12:00 noon Phoenix time.

Thank you Gloria for submitting your behind-the-scenes – criminal story. Readers, thanks for the time you took to read, think about this story, and respond honestly. You are all the heart and soul of Story Chat.

17 replies »

  1. Thanks once again, Marsha for having me. And thanks all for reading and commenting. I’ve learned a thing or two from your wonderful feedback! Looking forward to the next installment of Story Chat!

    Liked by 1 person

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Marsha

Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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