Thursday, March 4, 2010
Guest Blog by Stephen D. Rogers
Stephen D. Rogers is the author of SHOT TO DEATH(ISBN 978-0982589908) and more than six hundred storiesand poems. He's the head writer at Crime Scene (where viewers solve interactive mysteries) and a popularwriting instructor. For more information, you can visit his website, www.stephendrogers.com, where he tries to pull it all together.
He's also our special guest blogger today.
You could learn a lot about a community by analyzing how they dealt with their trash.- APPEARANCES TO THE CONTRARY
So begins one of the 31 stories contained in SHOT TO DEATH(ISBN 978-0982589908). Within that beginning lurks the endingto the story and everything that happens between the beginningand the end. Or at least it seems that way to me.
The main character in APPEARANCES TO THE CONTRARY has to be a private investigator. Who better to learn about a community or analyze trash?
I felt the opening sentence consisted of two parts that pivoted around that "by." Learning about community depended on analyzing trash, and knowing what trash to analyze depended onunderstanding the community. The juxtaposition of the singular "a community" and the plural"they dealt with their trash" raised the specter of a communityof communities. The private investigator thus interacts with his client who spends much of their conversation interacting with her friends. The private investigator only gets anywhere with the target after separating him from his coworkers. The client and the target live in the same community and were once a community unto themselves. What is the trash produced by each community? What does that trash say about each of the communities represented?
Where does community end and trash begin?
In the two-part opening sentence, the words in the power positions are "community" and "trash." That told me both that the story was going to keep visiting those two ideas and, since "trash" was in the more powerful position, that the story was not going to end happily ever after. But one person's trash is another person's treasure. How wasthat truism going to play out for the victim? For the target? For the private investigator?
Does the lone wolf private investigator comprise a community? If so, what trash is produced by that community of one? Whattrash is produced by the community of private investigator and client, by the community of private investigator and target?
As soon as I wrote that opening sentence, I stood astride it,one foot on either side of the pivotal "by," gaining enough height to see where the story had to go. All that remained was the writing.
For a chance to win a signed copy of SHOT TO DEATH, click on over to http://www.stephendrogers.com/Win.htm and submit yourcompleted entry. Then visit the schedule at http://www.stephendrogers.com/Howto.htm to see how you can march along. And then come back here to post your comments. Phew.
SHOT TO DEATH contains thirty-one stories of murder andmayhem.
"Terse tales of cops and robbers, private eyes and bad guys, with an authentic New England setting."
- Linda Barnes, Anthony Award winner and author of the Carlotta Carlyle series
"Put yourself in the hands of a master as you travel this world of the dishonest, dysfunctional, and disappeared. Rogers is the real deal--real writer, real story teller, real tour guide tothe dark side."
- Kate Flora, author of the Edgar-nominated FINDING AMY and the Thea Kozak mysteries
"SHOT TO DEATH provides a riveting reminder that the short story form is the foundation of the mystery/thriller genre. There's something in this assemblage of New England noir to suit every aficionado. Highly recommended!"
- Richard Helms, editor and publisher, The Back Alley Webzine