Walk in the Woods: (Outline and Idea; and comments on course)

Walk in the Woods: (Outline and Idea; and comments on course) - student project

Hi, Angelique. 

I enjoyed your class very much. You underscored a step I completely missed in my writer's journey: where to publish my short stories.

Like you mentioned on your first video, I'm one of those amateur, 'just started' writers giving short stories a go. I agree with you. I think Short Fiction is a great way of building up your skills and confidence as a writer, and getting your name out there for bigger projects. 

I read short stories (a lot) from all over the place, but i never thought about writing based on the practical and subtle requirements of a specific platform! Your course helped me realise i need to take a step back (or two) and focus in a specific magazine, website, podcast, sub-Reddit, I want to publish a short story in. And, with that in mind, write based on that specific platform. 

So, thank you for that! I've already started to look for one. I like writing horror, sci-fi, and fantasy, but mainly horror! Do you have any recommendation on websites or magazines I could submit to?

Having said that, here's a brief outline of one of my planned short stories:


A young man in Tirana, the capital city of Albania, goes for a walk in the middle of a cold December night. With the annual Christmas market happening in Skanderberg Square, the city's outer sections lie desolate and silent. The Grand Park of Tirana, south of the city, is no exception. Few people walk through it that time of night, the woods creep with almost absolute silence. 

That's where Clay, a 27-year old traveling alone in a 5-month Eurotrip, decides to take a night walk. Alone, confident, Clay puts on his headphones and strolls away from the lighted market and music. Every step deafens the sound and lights behind him more and more.

At the edge of the park, Clay stands alone with his thoughts. In front, a red tile path leads away, deep into dimly lit woods, covered by a sheet of coppery-yellow street lamps lining the edge of the path. An experienced solo-traveler, a stranger to the doubt and fear of being alone, Clay saunters forward into the the immense, silent forest. 

Behind him, at the edge of the park, lies a street lined with stores and a few government buildings. Three kilometres down that main street lies Skanderberg Square with its Opera house and Christmas lights flooding its air. Beyond, there's a side street that if you follow a few hundred meters down, you'd find the hostel where Clay stays: 'High Trip Hostel'. In that hostel, next to the reception desk, there's a cork tile where the managers and other guests pin things: cupons, polaroids with guests in them, discounts for bars, and newspaper clippings.

Among those clippings, there's a story of a man from Tirana named Claudio who has stored in his basement the biggest collection of Communist Era postcards in the Balkan region. The story was written five days ago. Over 45,000 different postcards from different individuals living during the communist regime in Albania. In the story, there's a picture of Claudio, standing in his basement next to a box full of postcards. He was smiling, proud of his collection. Under that story, there's a small piece on a police report of an ongoing investigation. The piece was 200 words long, and it had no image. The headline was cut out from the story to make room for a 2x1 coupon from an italian restaurant next door.  The first five lines of the short piece read:

"Tirana's police department fails to identify concrete leads for mutilated bodies found in Tirana's Grand Park in recent report. The two page report labels the cases as ongoing, and fails to signal any potential suspect or cause. A disturbing ending in the report points out that the condition of the bodies found eliminate the possibility of one person acting alone, and suggests a wild animal. As before, no image of the bodies found has been displayed for the public. So far, 92 bodies have been found in the last 60 years, most of them homeless individuals."

Almost six kilometres away from the hostel, Clay continues down the red-tiled path leading deeper into the park. He hasn't seen any one else in the park in the last 21 minutes, but he hasn't noticed. Behind him, a twig crunches with the weight of something heavy.