"Ghostwriter" by Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill

Discuss the May 2015 book of the month, Holding Fire.
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Scott
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"Ghostwriter" by Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill

Post by Scott » 02 May 2015, 20:54

Please use this topic to discuss the second story in Holding Fire, "Ghostwriter" by Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill.

What do you think of this story? What do you like most about it?

I like this scourge-style story, by which I mean one where the terrorized victim is himself a nasty man.

I think the writer does a great job of keeping the reader wondering what's going on and what will happen next. This is no easy task because it's hard to strike the balance between not being too confusing while still keeping the suspense.

The writer demonstrates a great sense of a certain subtle but very poetic irony, such as when the wife uses the motel cards from her husbands cheating to break into his office. The story also does a great job leaving a couple different interpretations. First, it could be that the murder victim is a real ghost (pun most likely intended!) punishing the murderer. That's an interpretation I do not like much. Secondly, it could be that the murderer is suffering from guilt-induced hallucinations. This of course adds an element of The Tell-Tale Heart. This story definitely has many elements and layers to it which makes it a very great short read! I would have loved to see more of this excellent writer playing with these themes and characters. For that reason, I would say that the ending was a little abrupt. But then again endings are like breakups—they are always hard if you liked the story.

What do you think?
"That virtue we appreciate is as much ours as another's. We see so much only as we possess." - Henry David Thoreau

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Post by khudecek » 02 May 2015, 21:45

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my story. :)
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

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Post by SparklingOne » 03 May 2015, 15:39

Great Story! A real what goes around, comes back around kind of story, with a little supernatural twist. Our villain in story could have avoided this whole thing if he had made his fortune off his own work. I felt sorry for the wife, she put up with his endless philandering, only to find out he was worse than she could have imagined. Wish the story had been longer, would have loved to see this little drama play out a little farther.
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Post by memory » 11 May 2015, 15:18

I enjoyed this one a lot. The author did a good job making the villain totally unlikeable and the story kept my attention and read quickly. I also would have like the story to be a bit longer to see how much payback the wife could get in the end.

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Post by Michelle-lit » 13 May 2015, 01:36

I thought the play on the title "Ghostwriter" was clever, whether or not Lucy was really a ghost or just part of Colton's guilty conscience. For me, I didn't buy Colton murdering over a book. The whole thing seemed to escalate too fast. Also, I felt that it didn't seem right that Colton's wife decided to confront Colton about the murder before calling the police. If he could murder her sister, I couldn't see a reason why he wouldn't lash out at her too.

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Post by ananya92 » 13 May 2015, 16:46

This was a really interesting read and for some reason I kept thinking of karma getting back at people.

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Post by debo9967 » 14 May 2015, 03:17

I found the story really engrossing and dramatic.

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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 15 May 2015, 21:15

I could not stop reading this story, and it was probably the longest in the lot. I couldn't take my eyes off the screen.

As Scott was saying, I found a lot of subtleties in there, such as the fact that the victim was killed with a letter opener. Fabulous irony, being that she withheld the letters (in her writing) that he wanted to steal from her!!

I also found this story to be incredibly well-written sentence-wise--great editing, great structure, no mistakes, etc. It even read as less short-story, more small novel. (More irony, 'cause that's what the bad guy wanted--his novella!)

To the author--the bad guy's "man issues" was a nice touch! ;-) WAA HA HA HA HA. :lol:

You're a great writer!!

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Post by khudecek » 16 May 2015, 23:02

Thank you for the comments. I appreciate them all and took them all to heart. Remember, there's always a little truth in fiction. ;)
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

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Post by avid reader28 » 18 May 2015, 01:17

Ya :D
The old theme. what goes around, comes back around. but in a twisted interesting way .
The wife is easy to relate to and I sympathized with her a bit.
And the story overall was well-written, enjoyable old tale :)

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Post by calfurshoney » 25 May 2015, 13:57

Don't you just love Karma? I enjoyed the heck out of this story. I wish we could have heard more as to why she was withholding the ending of the book. Coltan was horrible and I was hoping for a different ending. Surprising story change at the end. Loved the ending sentence. Perfect! Great job Kristi

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Post by khudecek » 25 May 2015, 14:01

Thank you, calfurshoney :)
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

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Post by kstockard » 09 Jun 2015, 13:59

SparklingOne wrote:Great Story! A real what goes around, comes back around kind of story, with a little supernatural twist. Our villain in story could have avoided this whole thing if he had made his fortune off his own work. I felt sorry for the wife, she put up with his endless philandering, only to find out he was worse than she could have imagined. Wish the story had been longer, would have loved to see this little drama play out a little farther.
I agree 100%. The story was great, but I found myself wishing the story had a little longer to develop and play out. That way we could have seen more from his wife and, of course, their interactions together. However, the author did a fantastic job developing the story with little time to do so. Overall, "Ghostwriter" was one of my favorite stories in Holding Fire. I am honestly looking forward to the next thing from Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill.

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Post by khudecek » 09 Jun 2015, 14:21

Thank you so much for the reviews. I appreciate them. :)
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

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Post by H0LD0Nthere » 22 Jun 2015, 20:16

When I first started this one, I thought, "Hoo boy, a short story being discussed in a forum full of writers, and it's about an aspiring author and his ghostwriter. How self-referential." I soon changed my opinion!

My very favorite thing about this story was how deftly the author sketched in Colton's horrible character, even though the story was written from his point of view, and he was unaware of his own character. For example: he refrains from cussing out his sister in law, because Jesus wouldn't like it ... just a few moments before he accidentally murders her! Later, he notes in passing that "singing and writing were his fortes." That made me laugh. Also, I love how he imagines that writing a novel will lead to instant fame and fortune, and how he has only the vaguest idea of how he wants his novel to go, just a specific wish about how the heroine should look. There are definitely people like that out there. I have seen their adverts. I always think, "If you want to write a novel, why would you look for someone to write it for you?"

To Michelle-lit: I hear you about "murdering over a BOOK?" I got the impression that Colton was ambushed by his own greed and bad temper. He did not initially realize that he'd done the murder, and even afterward, he does not seem to realize how serious it was. If he had thought it out, he probably would have realized that the risks weren't worth the rewards. But he wasn't thinking, just reacting.

I also loved that the ghost writer was literally a GHOST writer. Her vengeance is to drive him crazy. I'm not sure I'm with you, Scott, in thinking that she is just a hallucination, since I'm not sure Colton's conscience is strong enough to bother him without a little help from the universe. But either way, the author does a great job of portraying how the sightings of the ghost were just one of a number of factors - the rest of them natural consequences flowing out of the murder - that conspire to make Colton less and less functional, and to "punish" him for what he did.

Certainly makes a person think twice about taking a ghostwriting job, I'll say that!

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