The Story Behind the Story: Running on Empty

It's October, so how could I not publish a ghost story for Halloween?

This one, too, is courtesy of a NYC Midnight: the 2014 Flash Fiction Challenge. My prompt was to write ghost story (obviously), at a gas station, with a dunce cap.

I knew right away I didn't want to do the traditional go-sit-in-the-corner-wearing-a-pointy-hat dunce cap. It took me a while to come up with the twist I used in the story. It was a risk, not using the traditional dunce cap, but the judges liked my take on it. Whew!

The premise, though, came relatively quickly. If you've read "A Seat at the Bar," you might have guessed that I prefer "Twilight Zone" type ghost stories to the hair-raising scary kind of ghost story. This will only solidify that inference.

The hardest part for me was describing the gas station, finding just the right details to show that this place was unusual but still possible in today's day and age. It took a few drafts to make that work, and I have a screenwriter from my former writers' group to thank for the more perfect details that ended up in the final story. Thanks, Gary!

If I say anymore, I'll give away the story . . .


Click here to read "Running on Empty."