[Well, here's something we haven't tried here at Edged in Blue for a while: A guest blogger. This month, author Stephen D. Rogers is prowling the blogosphere to promote his new book, Shot to Death. So without further ado, we welcome Stephen Rogers. - JW]
She was parked along the wrong side of the road, facing into traffic, probably having chosen the location because of the dark trees that crowded the lane she’d been traveling. – BREAKDOWN
So begins one of the 31 stories contained in SHOT TO DEATH (ISBN 978-0982589908). Within that beginning lurks the ending to the story and everything that happens between the beginning
and the end. Or at least it seems that way to me.
This sentence seemed to roll, reminding me of a car rolling along the highway. This told me the narrator was not stopped but driving past.
Did he slow? Perhaps. Since he doesn’t say much about the driver except that she’s female, he probably didn’t get a very good look at her. She’s probably not outside the car changing a tire, and if the hood was open he might not have seen her at all.
She “probably” chose the location. So maybe she’s having car problems and maybe she isn’t. Maybe she just pulled to the side of a road crowded by dark trees.
She’s on the “wrong side” of the road, “facing into traffic,” and near “dark trees that crowded.” She’d been “traveling” and now she wasn’t. I’m not sensing a real happy vibe.
The thing is, if the narrator passed her, he’s only got two ways to keep her in the story (and dropping the character who opens the story isn’t a possibility). The narrator can turn around or he can bring what she represents to him into his own life.
Let’s say he turns around. A dozen ideas immediately spring to mind, any of which could be developed into an adequate story. Or I could flip any of those ideas and produce an adequate twist. Adequate doesn’t excite me.
So he continues driving.
That brings nothing immediately to mind, which means I have to hunt for the story, hunt to discover the identity and the truth of this character so that how he will thinks, feels, and acts will appear inevitable.
All that remains is 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 your completed 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.
Stephen D. Rogers is the author of SHOT TO DEATH (ISBN 978-0982589908) and more than six hundred stories and poems. He’s the head writer at Crime Scene (where viewers solve interactive mysteries) and a popular writing instructor. For more information, you can visit his website, www.stephendrogers.com, where he tries to pull it all together.
SHOT TO DEATH contains thirty-one stories of murder and
“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 to the 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