Rapid Orientation Through a Layered Approach

Paula Gail Benson

I write short stories. For me, two pages may be a fifth of the tale I’m telling.

Within the first two pages, I need to introduce the main characters, setting, and situation confronting the protagonist as well as inserting a few hints about how the matter will be resolved. I have to establish relationships and conflict so that readers are already wondering what’s going to happen next.

My story, “The Train’s on the Tracks,” recently published in FISH OR CUT BAIT: A GUPPY ANTHOLOGY (Wildside Press, April 2015), takes place on the floor of a State Senate during a filibuster over a controversial bill. Thanks to CSPAN, news programing, and movies, readers have some familiarity with how a legislative chamber looks and what happens during a debate, but this story presents a different perspective from what they are used to viewing.

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