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Stephen D. Rogers

Sunday, April 17, 2005


Stephen D. Rogers
g_so: Gerald So
mysdawg2003: Aldo Calcagno

mysdawg2003: howdy

g_so: Welcome, Aldo.

cc_sdr633: Hey Gerald.

g_so: Do you have a warm-up question for Stephen, Aldo?

mysdawg2003: I'm in between getting the boys organized for their Sunday yard work. I'll be right back. However, Stephen, how much do you write each day?

cc_sdr633: Not enough. I'm scheduled to write two hours on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and try to write on Saturday, schedule permitting.

mysdawg2003: I would guess then you must be an effecient writer based upon what I have seen published.

cc_sdr633: I've tried to become one, rewriting as I write. I once believed that all good writing was rewriting but decided I wasn't getting enough done that way.

g_so: Yes, there comes a time when you have to submit a piece and see what others think of it. With any luck, editors will like it and suggest revisions they want before accepting the piece.

cc_sdr633: Yes, because each editor is often looking for something different in the execution.

g_so: You seem to have a good handle on the markets out there, Stephen. Do you subscribe to a lot of different lists, bulletin boards, etc. to keep current? What are some resources you'd recommend?

cc_sdr633: I can't imagine a better resource than the Short Mystery Fiction Society.

g_so: It does seem really active. I read it often, but don't post much.

cc_sdr633: It has changed quite a bit since I first joined but then so has the market. The last few years have seen publications drop like flies. I don't post much either. By the time I catch up with a thread, it's often already been tucked back into place with everything said.

g_so: Right.

cc_sdr633: For markets, I also subscribe to and and check every few days but none of them really address mysteries.

g_so: I see. g_so: I'm trying to show versatility myself. I've been shopping a mainstream story around for about a year and a half now.

cc_sdr633: To literary journals or mainstream mags?

g_so: To small press lit mags, mostly. Did a drastic edit in February. I hope it does the trick.

cc_sdr633: Good luck. The problem I had with lit mags was the reading periods. It always seemed that when I was ready to submit, no one was reading.

g_so: I've had some of that :)

cc_sdr633: And then I read the Best Of annuals and it seems most of the stories come from lit mags.

g_so: I see you had a story in Thieves Jargon two weeks ago. I had a story pubbed there last month. Good-looking site, and the editor was a pleasure to work with. He pushed me to do a rewrite, then accepted the piece.

cc_sdr633: And I liked the name of the mag. :)

g_so: Me, too. :)

cc_sdr633: (Taps microphone) Is this thing live? I hesitate to sub many stories to Thrilling because I think -- is this story thrilling? Not really. Then send it elsewhere.

g_so: I don't really think of the word "Thrilling" when I read. I just publish polished work that moves well (i.e. begins well, moves efficiently, ends well.) I like engaging characters, too.

mysdawg2003: I'm back. Teenage boys - a lazy lot, I say.

g_so: by definition, though :)

cc_sdr633: Hey, I have a four-year-old. She rakes one pass and then sits to watch ants. My wife and daughter left this morning to go camping with family. Going to write, write, and write more.

g_so: Carpe camping trip.

mysdawg2003: That's what seems to be my gets in the way. Between work, professional committments, activities for the 6 kids, finding time to stay connected with my wife, where is the time to write.....?

cc_sdr633: Gerald, so you'll probably be seeing something from me in the next few days.

g_so: Looking forward to it, Stephen.

cc_sdr633: That's a real problem Aldo. My output has been miserable this year.

g_so: But writing can be an avocation, too. I find it doesn't matter how much time you devote to writing each day, as long as you devote some.

mysdawg2003: Stephen, how did you get started with writing?

cc_sdr633: It's all I've ever wanted to do.

mysdawg2003: So you have been writing seriously since high school?

cc_sdr633: I put a little book together in second grade, was writing crime fiction in sixth, way before the internet. Seriously but without direction. I knew nothing of the small press and thus chased publications where I didn't stand a chance.

g_so: Same here. Subbed to Story once when I was fresh out of college. What about you, Aldo? When did you come to it?

mysdawg2003: My fiction output is sporatic at best and it tends to be choppy pieces of things that hit me at the moment. I'm at my best when I can find a 4 to six hour chunk of time, like from 10 PM to 2 AM, where no one is interrupting me.

g_so: Maybe you should give flash fiction a try.

cc_sdr633: 10 to 2am is still my favorite time - until my daughter wakes me at 6.

g_so: I write best between 4am and 7am.

cc_sdr633: Gerald, is that before you go to bed or after?

g_so: After. I turn in rather early.

cc_sdr633: Hey, you get a good start on the day and there isn't a lot competing with your time at that time.

g_so: Exactly. The day itself is for busy work :) But actually if a story or poem has grabbed me by 7am, I can go as long as it takes to finish or until I don't have any imagination left in the tank.

cc_sdr633: I once thought I'd never want to write full time. No longer. Unfortunately, my writing schedule is rather rigid, although always available for reduction it seems.

g_so: I'm writing at this point to improve my resume for better jobs.

cc_sdr633: Writing fiction or other kinds of writing?

g_so: All kinds. fiction, poetry. Just had a poem about pizza published.

cc_sdr633: I never mention I write fiction at the job, assuming that people will think writing is more important to me than the job (which it is).

g_so: But co-workers don't need to know that. :)

mysdawg2003: So what is the routine? do you outline? do with the moment? any amount of time spent on research?

cc_sdr633: I don't really outline much. Research depends on the piece. There was one story that I spent an incredible amount of time researching with the intention of sending it to a pub which pays a very small amount.

cc_sdr633: Pizza? Cool. Where did it go?

g_so: I'll get the link. Hold on.

cc_sdr633: Some pieces are research intensive. I was asked to sub to a menopause anthology -- that took some research. ;)

g_so: I bet you pulled it off.

g_so: Gerald's poem => Any interest in writing a series character, Stephen?

cc_sdr633: Nice poem. Of course now I want pizza for supper. I did have a PI appear in two stories and always imagined a third.

g_so: I see. Thanks for the read.

cc_sdr633: As I think about novels, I assume editors will want to see a series PI. So I've been kicking around some ideas.

g_so: In the couple of stories you've published with Thrilling, I don't think the P.I.s had names. Good luck on the novel front.

cc_sdr633: Ah yes, the name issue. If only Pronzini didn't already have Nameless...

g_so: :)

cc_sdr633: In the poem, who did you picture as the "you" who took the blade away?

g_so: A parent.

mysdawg2003: Stephen, do you have others, meaning close friends, help with the editing of your work? I know you said you rewrite as you write, but do you run it by someone?

cc_sdr633: I almost never run my stuff by others although I'm thinking of joining a group that meets once a week, an hour away.

mysdawg2003: Does your wife ever read it and give you comments

cc_sdr633: Can't not hear Matt Helm ("When I was just starting out, I didn't show my manuscripts to anyone who didn't have the presses to print them and the money to pay me" -- as best as I can remember, Death of a Citizen)

g_so: great quote. I used to show my stuff to college friends, but now I go by my own critique and the editors'

.cc_sdr633: And really, unless readers know the magazines and editors, I'm not sure how much help they can be.

g_so: right.

cc_sdr633: My wife has talked about reading them but I rarely want to wait that long. Then there are the stories she'd probably rather not read.

mysdawg2003: Yes, I know about that! LOL. I gave Tina a few hard-boiled peices to read and she started to wonder who she has been sleeping with all these years, lol

cc_sdr633: The dark sides that become exposed by fiction....

mysdawg2003: why is that ? Is it in our subconscious?

cc_sdr633: I'm not sure. I was the quiet, bookworm student, showing the English teacher my story which starts with the main character beating someone to death with a pool cue, asking if I got everything right.

g_so: I find there has to be a reason for characters to be hard-boiled, or behave in any way for that matter, or it rings false.

cc_sdr633: There is a lot of false hard-boiled out there.

g_so: Example A: Sin City.

cc_sdr633: Didn't read/see it. Not worth my time, even by rental?

g_so: Well, you may enjoy it. I thought it was okay for a first view. Don't know that I'd see it again. All the characters had long-winded voiceovers.

cc_sdr633: If it's not worth watching a fifth time, it's not worth watching once.

mysdawg2003: I liked how it was filmed. The style of the film.

g_so: and I was thinking, why do the characters have to explain everything they're doing? Just let me watch.

cc_sdr633: The visuals appear stunning. I couldn't get much sense of a story-line but saw one review which said story was beside the point. Had your read the comic book(s)?

g_so: I hadn't. No real interest. I did like Frank Miller's work on the Daredevil comics.

cc_sdr633: I just wondered if the movie was trying to be true to the comic book to the detriment of the movie.

g_so: I've heard the movie is very faithful to the comics.

mysdawg2003: Just checked on the boys....the three of them sitting under the tree having a coke. Not much progress on pulling the weeds or cutting the grass....

cc_sdr633: Perhaps they discovered a body and are trying to figure out how to proceed. Aldo, do you ever ask the boys for ideas? I did get a really good one once while I was mowing.

mysdawg2003: There are several teenage girls in the neighborhood...maybe its one of them. In that case I'm sure they don't know how to proceed...LOL

cc_sdr633: Ha

g_so: The hour is up. Sorry for the low turnout. Great chatting with you, Stephen.

mysdawg2003: I enjoyed the chat too. Gerald where is the rest of the crew?

cc_sdr633: Sorry I wasn't more of a draw but I still enjoyed the chance to chat. Thanks for asking.

g_so: I can hang out for a while if you can, see if anyone else shows.

mysdawg2003: I'm here

cc_sdr633: I'm good.

g_so: I don't know, Aldo. Dave White is playing basketball.

cc_sdr633: Gerald, do you get much feedback from readers?

g_so: Not much, no.

cc_sdr633: You said, "you have to submit a piece and see what others think of it." But I feel I never really know what people think of it.

g_so: By "others," I mainly meant editors. [Editors] other than me.

cc_sdr633: Even editors rarely comment. Really, I expected much more of a dialogue about the actual written word but I rarely see that. I think Bob [Tinsley]'s blog is doing a real service. And while I know DetecToday focuses on a specific story, I've never seemed to get organized enough.

g_so: Yes. Sorry, had to step away. Our garage door opener is intermittently cutting out. Thought we had it fixed this morning, but here we are again.

cc_sdr633: Not opening, not closing, or stopping midway?

g_so: There seems to be no power going to the opener when we hit the button. I'm going to see what I can piece together. Thanks again, Stephen and Aldo.

cc_sdr633: Good luck.

g_so: Thanks. Bye.

cc_sdr633: Bye.


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