short stories, Las Vegas short stories
On Writing My Craft Tall Tales of Sin

Cindy’s Sin – Las Vegas Stories, Short Stories, Las Vegas Novella

Cindy’s Sin is the first Las Vegas novelette in a planned series of short stories called Tall Tales of Sin. You can purchase the entire story on Amazon or Smashwords.

The novella starts off with Cindy Lash arriving in Las Vegas to avenge the murder of her father. Cindy appears a novice. But she quickly learns some street smarts to carry her through to the end of her revenge plan.

Cindy Lash came to Las Vegas on the Greyhound Bus. So the first part of the novelette is Greyhound Arriving. If you have ever arrived in Las Vegas in the summer who already know what Cindy feels the moment she gets off the bus; a blast of heat. The hot sun immediately makes her sweat, she gains a couple of guardian angels, sees magic in the Las Vegas neon, and begins her quest.

She’s in Las Vegas to avenge the death of her father Tommy. But getting to the killer will take a bit of luck, magic, and street smarts. She lacks the street smarts, but her luck may turn out to be her best asset. Luck seems to permeate her time in Las Vegas. And good thing too: she quickly chances fate with a shootout in a popular strip bar.

short stories

I feature the Las Vegas neon as a central character allowing the magic of the light to flow through Fremont Street and eventually landing at the Neon Boneyard. It’s hard not to feel the energy coming from Fremont Street and the rest of Las Vegas. Stories about people chancing it all, starting over, or finding luck interest me and I hope the reader.

This Las Vegas Novella contains mystery, fantasy, magic, and suspense. From the moment Cindy arrives on the bus to her escape on the bus, she meets up with trouble, confusion, hate, and hope. But it all works out in the end with a confrontation at the Neon Boneyard where the neon lights come to her rescue in a dynamic show of lights and smoke.

This is a fast read for fans of Las Vegas fiction or Las Vegas stories.

You can find Cindy’s Sin at Amazon, Smashwords, or your favorite bookstore by special order.

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Thoughts on Creative Writing

This story started as an exercise in learning how to type again. I had a stroke in 2015, which prevented me from driving, walking, writing, reading, and watching television. This happened when I had just turned 52 and set me back emotionally and physically. I honestly thought I would never work or write again.

After relearning many skills, I took to typing 500 words a day to practice typing. Once I had run out of trivial things to type, I chose to think up a short story. And that is how I started and completed Cindy’s Sin.

I spent years before my stroke sitting down at the keyboard and dreaming up a story. It was pretty natural to pour out my thoughts and dreams on the screen. After the stroke, I spent a lot of time distracted; my ADD years. I couldn’t focus and keep on task without a list of where I wanted to go with the story.

That is how I became a plotter. Pantsing is great until you can no longer keep track of what comes next. Plotting allowed me to be more rigid in my writing and stick to a schedule.

I picked up the software Scrivener soon after my stroke because it allowed my to follow a beat sheet and still jump around as I became excited about a certain beat or idea. The non-linear nature of the software allowed me to write out of order whenever I had a new idea during writing my short stories. Sometimes, I find it is easier to write the ending before I get too wrapped up in the story. Scrivener allows me to do that without losing track of the needed beats.

I highly encourage writers to consider beta readers and an editor. I have learned many rules of English and still mess up. An editor catches mistakes or points out areas where the story is weak. Beta readers point out areas where a story falls flat, drags, or doesn’t make sense.

Pick a developmental editor if you are starting out in a genre or have questions about the middle or third-act of a story. Developmental editors point out when a beat is missing or suggest where a story lacks clarity. Proofreaders and grammar editors are important; however, they often find things I can find after a second read. That’s not to say I catch everything. Proofreaders are very important for finding homonyms, British or American English spelling switches, and fragments.

Due to my circumstances, short stories have been best because they don’t require much concentration and can be written in as little as 50 words or less. Most of my longer stories have been between 1,000 and 6,000 words. My novelettes range around 10,000 words. I am pretty pleased to be able to tell a short story in retrospect. Now, I am working on a few novel ideas and am taking my time.

My sophomore English teacher told me to go find something else to do because I couldn’t write. In her defense, I did tend to write prose as poetry with a lot of rat-a-tat-tat words as sentences.

Yet, I ignored her because I didn’t think I could do anything else. I have never stopped writing in one form or another from my days as a television reporter, science writer, and public relations communicator.

Writing just seems to be a natural fit. I never seem to struggle with writing words. Editing them is another struggle, but writing, just flows. Fiction has been something I have tended to do less of in my adult life, and this is an opportunity to strengthen those writing skills.

Somebody told me that if you want to be a real writer you have to put it out there for others to read. I heard of a guy who wrote more than 20 novels and never showed them to anyone. They were all neatly stacked in manuscript boxes for his wife to toss out when he died. Who knows if any of them were any good; nobody read them.

I may bore you, make you laugh at my simplicity, but you will have had an opportunity to read my writing. I sometimes feel like I’m talking to myself. But that’s okay. I’m a good listener.

The following resources I have found to help me organize my stories and stay focused on story points or character motivations:

  • Character Profile Sheet– I created this tool to help me understand my characters and develop their motivations.
  • Personality Profiles – Characters act and react based on their unique personalities. This sheet provides basic information about 16 key personality types.
  • Story Outline Worksheet – This tool helps you plot a storyline and consider the internal and external conflicts the viewpoint character must face. I used to be a pantser until I reached my limit of second-act story and character implosions. This worksheet helps me keep on track.
  • Plot Denominators – A fast tool to determine the unified action of the story.

When it comes to Writer’s Block, I believe it is as much about confidence and dedication as anything else. Here is what I found works:

• Stick to your writing schedule—Unless it’s a real emergency, stick to your writing schedule no matter what.

• Chose a writing atmosphere—Since writing a book is a creative endeavor, even if you are writing a non-fiction book, consider the environment that will motivate your creative thinking.

• Outline—If you have even a basic outline, you’ll know where you are heading, so there’s less chance of getting stuck. Writer’s block often comes in the form of not knowing where to go next. Always outline a book even if you plan to pants the plot.

• Trade tasks—If the words are just nowhere to be found, switch beats. Do another beat for a while and move your writing time around.

Long ago, I became a news anchor and wrote small, spiffy, stories around 70-words for a living and loved it. Then, I thought I should be a more serious writer and took a job as a science feature writer.

My editor thought I should deliver her at least 3,500 words. I sat at the computer for a long time trying to convince myself that jumping from 100 words to 3,500 words was a small leap.

Aged 23

And, that’s how I became an author.

I love pulp fiction; short stories of crime, hard-boiled detectives, science fiction, very short fiction stories, and westerns. Many of my stories have science fiction or fantastical events. I like surprise endings. I love Travis McGee. You will find a lot of these elements showing up as I continue to write for this website.

I have books for fiction and non-fiction books for sale on Amazon, including Cindy’s Sin. I also wrote a serial about a roustabout handyman published on Wattpad.

© 2018 – 2019, Michael Shawn Sommermeyer. All rights reserved.

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