September Story: Ripped From the Headlines

That was always the gimmick of the TV show “Law & Order” that the plots for episodes would be ripped from the headlines. I’m usually not that kind of writer. I write things that are usually more connected to my personal history versus the state of the world at large. However, I’m learning through this 12 Months of Stories project that I really can’t choose what I’m inspired by. It’s not all rainbows 🌈 and puppies 🐶. So this month’s short story is ripped from the headlines and unfortunately it’s definitely not a cheerful topic. It’s about murder. The story is the murder of a pregnant Shan’ann Watts and her two young girls, Bella and Celeste. The alleged murderer is the husband of Shan’ann and the father of her children, Chris Watts.

I have read very little about the case. I just know Shan’ann came home late from a business trip and Chris claims he strangled her in a fit of rage after seeing that she had strangled and killed their two daughters. He then buried them and pretended on local news to be the distraught husband and father of the missing wife and daughters. However, within 48 hours he confessed he had killed his wife and gave that strangling story. From the little I’ve read his story that his wife killed the girls instead of him doesn’t seem possible.

For my story I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of the actual crime. I’ve actually written about it in much more detail here than I plan to in the short story. I’m not really a true crime writer although I have read some true crime and liked it. (The latest true crime book I’ve read was I’ll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search For The Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara– I highly recommend.)

As more information is found out about the Watts case, it seems Chris Watts was having at least one affair, if not more. That’s where my “inspiration” (I feel kind of yucky using the word inspiration when it’s about a case like this) hit. I’m not going to reveal the title right now, because I really like it but it might change based on where I go with the plot. My story is going to be told from the perspective of the mistress.

This 12 Months of Short Stories project is giving me a chance to try different genres and experiment with tone of voice. Which is definitely good for me. It’s like a crash course in creative writing! You never know, I could happen upon a genre that really suits me. I don’t think true crime and murder mystery is it. But you never know!

So here goes. My September adventure! #amwriting #amwritingtruecrime

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