From Brain Pickings’s feature on The Letters of Raymond Chandler. Totally worth reading the article—and the letters themselves!—in full.
Posts tagged writing
You don’t have to worry about focus groups, budgets, set pieces, or someone telling you you the main character needs a dog to be more likable. All of the s**t you have to do in movies. It’s nice because you can let your mind go. I could jump points of view or give the thoughts of the characters. All of those things make it exciting to write prose.
The private eye novel has strictures tighter than a sailor on his first night of shore leave.
Most people think that because I write books that I must be reading books all the time. Not true. On one hand, you have to always be reading. It refills the tank, stimulates ideas and inspires. It’s important. The only problem is it can be intrusive to your own work. So when I am writing I am usually reading sparingly. I am lucky in that I get sent a lot of books to read. I look them over and put the one I want to read to the side for later. That is, if I can wait. Sometimes I can’t wait to jump on a book as soon as I pick it up at the store or it comes in the mail.
I’m a very careful journalist. As you know, a lot of those stories inherently remain mysteries and there’s just versions, and when you write about it in fiction, you can in a way write with more authority.
Sebastian Rotella, author of Triple Crossing on writing fiction as a journalist.
Read more of his conversation with novelist/journalist Luis Urrea on MulhollandBooks.com
Everything is fiction. When you tell yourself the story of your life, the story of your day, you edit and rewrite and weave a narrative out of a collection of random experiences and events. Your conversations are fiction. Your friends and loved ones—they are characters you have created.
When I was in sixth or seventh grade our English teacher asked us to write a short story. Mine was a stream-of-conscious piece from the point of view of a New York City cab driver. It had him cursing, laughing, wrestling with his own fears, and at one point, pissing in a bottle. My teacher was convinced that I had copied it verbatim from a magazine like Playboy.
A conversation between Joe R. Lansdale and Andrew Vachss.