Monday, January 01, 2007


Riding the Greenline was published last month in Spinetingler Magazine. The story began as a character description exercise. The main character started off with just the name - Sylvia - and she took off from there. But as much as I tried to stick to just describing Sylvia, the more my mind wandered and I developed a plot for her; which ended up illuminating her character better than any descriptive words could manage. (I can be a real minimalist sometimes. Usually because I think the reader is smart enough to pick up things easier than writers sometimes believe; and occasionally I'm a minimalist because I'm really lazy.) Anyway, I didn't know who Sylvia really was until I finished the first draft of this story - until I wrote the final sentence. Now, I don't want to give anything away, so don't read the paragraphs below until you read the story. It's available on-line, as a PDF download, or for purchase.

There be spoilers ahead (just warning you).

OK, now that you've read the story:

I have a couple of characters who are very evil - I do write crime fiction, you know - but there are some who hold a special place in my heart. I've written about hitmen, gangsters and psychos; but Sylvia has to be my favorite, if only because she is the most evil. Here is a woman who has let everything bubble up inside her for eighty years and is just now starting a life of crime. How evil do you have to be to deny decades of living a moral life? Wisdom and ethics should have a solid foundation by the time you're going into your third decade on social security. But that isn't the case with Sylvia.

So, I seriously doubt this will be the only time people will see Sylvia. I think her crimes are just beginning.

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