A Story-Writing Challenge


My elderly aunt Peggy emailed me recently with a playful suggestion that we write each other a story.  My aunt could always be counted on to initiate fun and adventuresome activities for us kids as we were growing up, and this idea was typical of her fun-loving spirit.  She posed that we write our stories within a framework, that we pretend to be rookie reporters for some small-town newspaper who stumble upon clues to a scandal in the works.  I accepted her challenge and agreed to her terms, and she gave us a deadline of approximately two months to finish our tales of mystery and suspense.

During the two months, we each found the task to be more rigorous than we had thought it would be.  I soon found myself consumed with the project as my story began to develop and my characters to flesh themselves out, and pretty soon I was losing sleep at night, rising up at all hours to jot down plot ideas and snippets of dialogue running through my head.  Aunt Peggy wrote to me, rather discouraged, describing her difficulty with the process and expressing some doubt about whether she could complete the challenge.  I told her I was also having trouble and that it was fine if she wanted to take a break from it and let the story percolate for awhile.

I finally finished my story and entitled it “The Haunting Of Dunmore Gap.”  I sent it to my aunt, who seemed to like it.  I began to get an idea about publishing an account of this story-writing challenge along with the stories themselves as an Amazon Kindle Book.  I waited awhile to receive my aunt’s story, but so far it hasn’t come, though I think she is still working on it in her way and in her time.

Meanwhile, I decided to go ahead to go ahead and publish my story, with an intro describing how the story came to be written, inspired by my aunt’s challenge.  When her story is done, I won’t hesitate to add it to this slim volume.

And here it is:



Author: dennisgsellers

I grew up in Evansville, Indiana, which sits on the bend of the Ohio River. I am now 59 years old and living back in Evansville after living away for many years. I got my undergrad degree at IU in Bloomington, and my Masters at ISU in Terre Haute, Indiana. I worked for awhile teaching English in South Korea and briefly at IU on the Bloomington campus. I have always wanted to be a writer but never made a go of it. I also paint landscapes and like to read. I am a gay man, forever single it seems, though I have some pretty great friends whom I consider my brothers. Unsatisfied with teaching, I work now as a janitor and like the solitude of the job.

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