What started as a writing exercise turned into Emily Beck Cogburn’s latest short story, “Chainsaw,” published in Chapter House Journal.
“I entered a contest where I was given the first and last paragraphs and had to write something like a hundred paragraphs in between. I was also not allowed to use dialogue” , said Cogburn, author of Baton Rouge.
The story did not win the contest, so Cogburn eliminated the required paragraphs, edited it, and sent it to literary journals.
“Chainsaw” is set in a dystopian world where most people and all cars have mysteriously disappeared. Two of the survivors, auto mechanic Skeeter and philosophy professor Mike, are walking through the national park Skeeter was visiting when everything got weird. They eventually discover that many of the remaining people have decided that a woman with a chainsaw is a god, in charge of the world, or both.
“It’s a bit of an unusual story for me,” Cogburn said. “Much darker than anything I’ve ever written. But that’s the fun of limitation. You never know where your imagination might take you.
Cogburn has written two novels: “Louisiana Saves the Library” and “Ava’s Place.” Follow her on Twitter, @emilycogburn and on Facebook, @emilybeckcogburn.