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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

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Review: Gutshot

Gutshot: Stories - Amelia Gray


This was my first run in with Amelia Gray, but I sort of knew what to expect from her: dark, strange, talented. No doubt, all those things are true.


Some of the stories in Gutshot really evoke the macabre of greats like Shirley Jackson and Edgar Allan Poe. There's just enough detail in these stories to make them creepy, yet universal and accessible. I got the sense that Gray really enjoys getting into her stories and characters.


Then there are those stories in this collection that are strange, yet beautiful. They had me scratching my head, uncertain and devoid of expectation, yet enjoying the process.

And then are all the others. These stories reminded me of a Mad Lib writer's exercise. They didn't evoke any sense of awe or understanding. These just existed. Mad Lib stories are a hoot, but it's the creation that makes it fun. Reading another person's final story is like watching someone's birthday party through a window.


So, let's have our own Mad Lib party. Hooray! Come up with a word for each of the following, paste them into the following story, and post your stories in the comments. Come on, it'll be fun. Who knows, maybe your story will lead to an idea that is published in a big shot journal. I've heard it happens. :)


Occupation _________________________

Noun Plural ____________________________

Gerund ___________________________

Ethnicity ___________________________

Name (feminine) ___________________________

Noun _____________________________

Body Part ____________________________

Verb _____________________________

Gerund ___________________________

Place _____________________________

Noun Plural ____________________________



Here's the story:

Bob is a(n) [occupation]. He's happy with his job, but he wants more from life. He lives in an apartment filled with [noun plural] and he's tired of [gerund]. On his way to the [ethnicity] restaurant, he meets a girl named [name, feminine] who has a [noun] in her [body part]. The girl likes to [verb], but doesn't know how to stop [gerund]. They talk about their problems. Bob thinks it would be best to move to [place], but because of the girl's deformity, they are forced to watch [noun plural] on the ocean. It is a moment that forever defines the rest of their lives.