In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* Happy Veterans’ Day
* Stomping on Chandler’s Good Advice
* I started writing
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Quotes of the Day
“You can’t have guys with guns running around loose in your novel and surprises popping up like Whac-A-Mole.” Elaine Viets
“Um, why not?” Me, in the back of the class, arm raised, waving frantically
Happy Veterans’ Day or as we used to call it, Marine Corps Hangover Recovery Day. Yesterday, your United States Marine Corps celebrated its 246th anniversary. Semper fi to my brothers and sisters in arms.
For anyone who’s interested, DWS also turned 71 yesterday. On his blog he listed the 70 major books he published during his 70th year. You can see that at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-70-70-project/. Some good comments too.
In the post he also seemingly listed everything else he did aside from publishing—Kickstarters, workshops and pop-ups, and even short stories—so I found it odd that he didn’t specify how many novels or novellas he actually wrote during the year. But the publishing was his challenge.
Stomping on Chandler’s Good Advice
At the Kill Zone blog, Elaine Viets’ post is “The Man With the Gun,” and is about advice from Raymond Chandler. She opens with, “Most mystery writers know this quote by Raymond Chandler: ‘When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.'” At that point, the post goes (fashionably) off the rails and any chance at a post being helpful ends.
I did not leave a comment. I know it would fall on ears that are hard of listening. I did argue (below) a couple of the more ridiculous points she made. I guess I’m just in that kind of mood.
EV: “Why not a woman with a gun?”
Sigh. Okay, first, he didn’t say it couldn’t be a woman. Back then, before folks became so &*%$@&# fake-hypersensitive and spent the better part of their day looking for something to be “offended” about, the word “man” in that context was generally taken to be generic.
Maybe it would have been better had Chandler written “bring in a ‘person’ with a gun” (or even ‘perit’ to get rid of that toxically masculine ‘son’ part). Then again, how could he know that perception would someday be given greater weight than intent (and reality) and that people would become so ridiculously good at faking being butt-hurt over nothing?
All of that being said, Chandler wasn’t talking literally about a “man with a gun.” He merely meant when action started to flag, it’s a good idea to drop in a surprise. Note: If you write into the dark, you won’t have to worry about this. The characters will more than take care of it.
EV: (wide-eyed, I suppose) “Is the man with the gun threatening or killing someone?”
Seriously? Um, he/she/it has a &*%$@&# GUN. In the real world that automatically denotes a threat and drops a pretty heavy hint that he/she/it is planning to intimidate, wound or kill someone.
Okay, I’m through. It’s like arguing with a fence post. You won’t change its mind and it’s obviously unable to actually grasp the matter at hand. I hope for Viets’ sake she suddenly realized she was about to be late with her blog post and slapped this one together to fill the void. If this kind of inanity is what I can expect from her in the future I’ll just skip reading her entries. You can read the silly post yourself at https://killzoneblog.com/2021/11/the-man-with-the-gun.html.
If it matters, I started writing fiction again yesterday. Only several hundred words. Nothing to count and nothing to report, just finally wetting my beak again. Practicing shutting out the critical mind, practicing writing description (openings) and practicing giving my creative subconscious free reign. It will take awhile to come back I guess, but at least I’m crawling in that direction.
I’m looking forward to writing full time again. Especially because in most of my books I have “guys with guns running around loose … and surprises popping up like Whac-A-Mole.” Ahem.
Talk with you again later.
The Journal…………………………………… 680 words
Writing of WCGN 5: Tentative Title (novel)
Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX
Total fiction words for November……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 623282
Total nonfiction words for November… 3610
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 182100
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 805382
Calendar Year 2021 Novels to Date…………………… 13
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 3
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 66
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31
Disclaimer: In this blog, I provide advice on writing fiction. I advocate a technique called Writing Into the Dark. To be crystal clear, WITD is not “the only way” to write, nor will I ever say it is. However, as I am the only writer who advocates WITD both publicly and regularly, I will continue to do so, among myriad other topics.
6 thoughts on “The Journal: Stomping on Chandler’s Good Advice”
Hi Harvey, thanks for posting your response to the KillZone Chandler post…was thinking for a while it was just me. All the best.
Re common sense, apparently what’s common to some is a luxury to others. (grin)
First of all, it does matter. That’s the news I’ve been waiting for.
And secondly, your answer in the journal to Viet’s blog was priceless (“Especially because in most of my books I have “guys with guns…….””). I’m still laughing.
I know I’m a little late, but it’s great to hear you’re writing fiction again.
Thanks, Aaron. Nothing substantial yet, but it’s coming.
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