Have I got a doozy coming up for you! If you’re squeamish about Stephen King/Twilight Zone style horror, this one might not be for you. I know writing it gave me a serious case of the creepers.
Recently, a short story I read in high school popped into my head. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. I don’t know why. It’s just one of those things where your brain gets a particular combination of stimuli which triggers a neural network that hasn’t been sparked in a long time. I remembered really liking the story and thinking it was especially creepy. That was my high school self’s take. So, I decided to dig it up and give it another read to see if 1. I remembered the story like I thought I did and 2. it delivered on the same level of creepy as I remembered.
The results were yes on 1 and generally on 2. The level of creepy was likely lower because you can only be truly surprised once by a particular twist. Another factor was that my experience was definitely altered by reading it as a working writer. Any time you view something in which you have expertise, you’re going to have critiques and perspectives that most wouldn’t have. This happens all the time when people watch movies and see things they know well delivered poorly. Like doctors watching an ER scene or attorneys watching a court case. Likewise, I couldn’t help but notice a few things that didn’t work for me. On the other hand, I noticed several things that I appreciated on a craft level that I never would’ve noticed back in high school.
All that said, it’s still a fun read and I’d recommend checking it out!
After reading it again, a story seed sprouted in my mind garden. Before I knew it, a larger story started to grow. I don’t want to give away the details as those will best be experienced by reading my upcoming short story. I will say this. If you like the idea of The Handmaid’s Tale with a dash of The Lottery sprinkled in for spice, you’ll enjoy The Gender Lottery. For a short story, I think it takes a deep dive on how we view ourselves and our roles in society.
I still need to finish up a few things, but I look forward to releasing it soon. It’ll be a free read sent out to The Readers Group. So head over to williamoday.com/sign-up-website/ and sign up if you want a free copy and aren’t already a member.
Thanks for reading!