Following the problems getting Story 7 done last week, I decided immediately on Sunday night not to wait for the prompt.

Instead, the genre plopped right in my head: Historical Cozy Mystery.

The story is called Malice in Morro Bay, and, at 4,700 words is the longest short story I’ve ever written.

What went right with this story: I took a leap of faith with this story and just started it. Instead of focusing on plot, I followed what Nora Roberts does–a lot of depth and some plot. That’s how it got to 4,700 words.

I also included dogs (two of them) and very much enjoyed having them as characters in the story. I remember the first time we took one of our dogs up to the title place, out on then Atascadero Beach (renamed Morro Strand). She thought the waves were interesting until she got wet. Nope, nope, nope. Water was too cold.

What might need improvement: There were two sticking points for the inner critic:

  • It did not like the length. It gets nervous when I’m not finishing and pushes me to goals, rather than following the story. That’s the reason an outline doesn’t work at all for me. It gives the inner critic a roadmap so it came take over the wheel.
  • It did not like “some plot.” Inner critic likes plot. If it gets control, it happy adds more and more plot, to the point of making a story convoluted.

Malice in Morro Bay is headed for indie publishing next week.

And a cover: