02 April 2014

Time to Accessorize


by Robert Lopresti

I am somewhat stunned to report that my morning granola was interrupted today (April Fool's Day) by the news that my "The Present" had won the Derringer Award for best short story.  Talk about a present!  I can't think of anything to say about the story that I didn't say here.  But thanks to the Derringer judges, the voters, and The Strand for publishing in the first place.  Now, on to more good news...

On the day my last blog entry went up I came home to a pleasant surprise: three copies of the June issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.  I knew they were publishing a story of mine but I had no idea when that happy event would occur.

"The Accessory" is my second appearance in EQMM in 38 years of trying.  Yes, you read that right.  It's a story about --

Well, let's pause for a moment.  This is a golden opportunity to rehash that favorite topic: Where Do You Get Your Ideas?  This time, by category!

1.  Personal experience.  At three in the morning one night a policewoman rang my doorbell to tell me my car had been "prowled."  The first two pages of my story "Shanks on the Prowl" are almost a literal description of that scene.

2.  Someone else's personal experience.  One day I watched an elderly, over-the-hill musician being disrespected by his accompaniest.  "Snake in the Sweetgrass" was conceived while they were still on the stage.

3.  News story. 
Or other piece of nonfiction.  "Crow's Lesson" began with a New York Times article about a school system hiring private eyes to follow students and see if they really lived in the catchment district.

5.  Out of the clear blue sky 
One day I had a vision of a short man attacking a much bigger man on the street for no obvious reason.  "Hammer and Dish" was my attempt to find out why and what happened.

And finally...

4.  Fiction.  To some extent ALL fiction comes from other fiction we have read.  For example, I read "My Life with the Butcher Girl," by Heath Lowrance, a very nice story about a man who becomes romantically obsessed with a woman who killed three men in sexual situations.  That got me thinking about people who correspond with convicted criminals.  The main character of my new story, "The Accessory" is a woman who does just that.  Now the man is out of prison and has apparently killed someone who testified against him.  The cops want to find out what she knows...

I hope you like it. 

11 comments:

Fran Rizer said...

Congratulations on the Derringer, and Happy Publishing! (Yes, I used an exclamation point, but I felt it.)
I also appreciate the concise information on sources of story ideas.
i hope you treat yourself today. You deserve to bask in your accomplishments.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Rob,

Congrats on both wonderful successes! And well-deserved.

David Dean said...

If you haven't read "The Accessory" you're missing a terrific tale. Rob's already heard from me about it, and I touted it on my FB page as well.

And again, my congrats on the Derringer, Rob. Good posting, too, by the way.

janice Law said...

Once again congratulations!

John Floyd said...

Congratulations on BOTH the Derringer win and the new EQMM story! You're blowin' and goin'.

R.T. Lawton said...

Rob, congrats on the Derringer. I read all five nominated stories in your category and yours was the best in my opinion. The majority of voters obviously had the same opinion. See you at the awards ceremony at Bouchercon 2014.
Keep them stories coming.

Eve Fisher said...

Congrats, congrats, congrats!

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Bravo, Rob!

Dale Andrews said...

Ditto to all of the above!

Louis A. Willis said...

Congratulations. I hope, no I know further congratulations will be in order down the road a piece.

Lawrence Maddox said...

A Derringer! Pretty sweet. Congratulations Rob!