When a Stabbing Sounds like a Gunshot

Midsummer_Updated_splashI recently saw OC Shakespeare Company’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Playing in an outdoor amphitheatre, the actors often contend with sirens, low-flying planes, and honking cars. The performance I saw was a few nights before the 4th of July so bottle rockets and screamin’ willies often punctuated the dialog.

A play within a play featured two lovers, separated and in despair. One takes a dagger and stabs himself. At the exact moment he plunges the blade into his heart, we heard the bang of a firecracker.

The actors tried to hold it together as the audience fell out of their seats laughing, but soon they were laughing, too. That delightful moment of synchronicity had to be saluted and enjoyed. The nature of live theater can be a funny business.

My beta readers returned their comments to the fourth and final Abishag mystery, An Eggshell Present. I so appreciate the mistakes they catch and sharing what they enjoyed. I pay particular attention to what confuses them. Badly worded sentences are fixed. I may substitute a more familiar term for the obscure one I used. I will add more attributions, more description, and more explanation as needed.

Sometimes I make a judgment on how much to clarify. In a series, I may embed a mystery that spans the books and may not be explained till the final book is released. In my last story, Jack Fell Down, the reader does find out who kidnapped young Jackson. That mystery starts and ends in the first book. The reader also finds out several aspects to what happened to Pam 17 months earlier, but the complete story of the incident that left her with brain damage and delusions will be revealed bit-by-bit and book-by-book.

As I go through the fourth Abishag’s beta comments, I sometimes laugh out loud. Like when I describe a stabbing, and it comes off sounding like a gunshot. Writing is a funny business, too.

About mlknowlden

In 2011, I left engineering to write full-time. Between the years 1992 and 2011, I’ve published 14 stories with Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine that have featured the hypochondriac detective Micky Cardex and two stories that did not. The 1998 story “No, Thank You, John” was nominated for a Shamus award. Many of these stories have been included in anthologies and translated in multiple languages. With Neal Shusterman, I’ve also published a science fiction story for the More Amazing Stories anthology (Tor) published in 1998 and co-authored with Neal Shusterman an X-Files Young Adult novel (DARK MATTER) for HarperCollins in 1999 under the name Easton Royce. For Simon & Schuster in July 2012, we published an e-novella UNSTRUNG in Neal's UNWIND world. I have graduate degrees in English and Electrical Engineering.
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2 Responses to When a Stabbing Sounds like a Gunshot

  1. Rebecca Lang says:

    Sounds like a wonderful night out. I love Shakespeare outdoors in the summer. The gunshot stab is a great example of the spontaneous fun of theatre.

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