Saturday, March 13, 2010

Shot to Death by Stephen Rogers

When I was publishing Hardluck Stories I was always happy to be able to publish stories from fellow Massachusetts crime fiction author, Stephen Rogers, and now that Stephen has a new collection of short crime fiction, Shot To Death, I'm happy to let him hijack my blog for a day to talk about it.


I reached the front desk out of breath.- DISTURBED

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.

First off, I don't care for the sentence. It doesn't flow. There's something in the phrasing that just seems odd.

So, if I'm going to keep the opening as is, there's going to be something off about the narrator. (While editing the sentence would be easy enough, let's see where this one takes me.)

I reached the front desk out of breath.

We're at a hotel. Well, some restaurants have front desks, but I'm thinking hotel. A nice hotel.

I see four possibilities. The narrator is approaching the front desk from outside. The narrator is a registered guest approaching the front desk from the hotel. The narrator is an employee approaching the front desk from the hotel. The narrator is an employee approaching the front desk from the room behind the desk.

Other options are possible, but these four give me more than enough to work with.

If we're talking a nice hotel, it's unlikely that an employee would be odd in an interesting way. A dive on the other hand.... But I see a nice hotel, which means the narrator is not an employee.

Who rushes into a hotel from outside? Even if you're later than you expected, you're just going to stand in line, if only a line of one. So the narrator is a registered guest.

An odd version of a registered guest. Someone pretending to be a registered guest. Someone pretending to be a specific registered guest.

That's the spark. All that remains is the writing.

For a chance to win a signed copy of SHOT TO DEATH, click on over to and submit your completed entry.

Then visit the schedule at to see how you can march along.

And then come back here to post your comments. Phew.

About Stephen Rogers:

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,, where he tries to pull it all together.


David Cranmer said...

Stephen, I hope you sell 100 million.

Stephen D. Rogers said...

Hey David,

Thanks for your kind thoughts.

If you buy 999,998 copies, you might make that goal manageable. Assuming my mother gets over the cover and comes through.


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