Four years back, Weird Tales began an experiment in short story presentation. Writers were asked to submit stories of approximately one-hundred words. These stories would be presented in short, one-minute videos, one text block at a time, with an appropriate soundtrack in the background. The results were a collection of sometimes funny, sometimes creepy micro-stories. It’s been over a year since the last of these One Minute Weird Tales was presented, but they’re all still available to view online.
The series began with “Chainsaw,” a list of chores written by J.M. McDermott. Your first guess about the plot is wrong, in that this is no tired re-telling about a mass-murdering maniac. There are clues scattered throughout and a sense of mystery is built in a matter of seconds. The final reveal comes in the fact that “Chainsaw” is not the real title of the story.
J.M. McDermott does a wonderful job of revealing plot and character in a very limited format. This was the video that Weird Tales used as an example for curious writers trying to get an idea of what they wanted in future submissions. So this is, in many ways, the seed from which all the future stories were grown.
You can check out the video and learn more about the series at Weird Tales. If you want to read more of McDermott’s work, you can check out his web site, blog and Amazon page.