In Praise of the Bazinga

I spent much of the last couple of years writing short stories, so I've been thinking about this topic quite a bit. 

I grew up reading O. Henry stories and I guess I never got over it. A short story, to me, needs a beginning, a middle and an end - preferably an end with a bazinga! The punch line, the shocker, the WHOA... That's how all my stories seem to go. It's immensely satisfying to me to capture that world in a small amount of words, convey so much more than is on the page, tell the story from commencement to conclusion and POW - I mean bazinga. Kaboom. Shazam. Bwa ha HA!

I once came across a tiny house where O. Henry lived in San Antonio, TX. The historical plaque mentioned he'd gone from there to debtor's prison in Austin. Maybe he shouldn't be my role model...

All too often, "modern" short stories pick up in the middle and end there, too. Without point or purpose, as far as I can tell. They all seem to be about unlikeable people doing despicable things.

Why do people like those stories?

Do they make them feel better about themselves?

I really don't know.

Am I an unsophisticated dolt?

I reckon not.

All I know is the kind of short story that comes out of my brain. Whether I'm writing about the Old West, serial killers, true love or dogs, I reserve the right to start at the top, have some fun in the middle and zing you in the last sentence.
I'm OK with not having a candy bar named after me. (Also OK with not going to debtor's prison.)


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