BEHIND THE BOOK – Fiction in the 1930’...

There are several different ways an author can approach writing a story set in another time period. They can do a lot of research on the time in order to get the historical details accurate. That’s an important part of the process because the same type of reader attracted to historical fiction will most likely know quite a bit about the era in which your story is set and won’t be shy about pointing out inaccuracies in their reviews.  But data on details and events can only get a writer so far. After all, you’re writing a novel, not a history book. It’s up to the writer to do more than just the details right. Tone is equally important, as is...

Writing Our Way To Where We Belong

“Do you know what people really want? Everyone, I mean. Everybody in the world is thinking: I wish there was just one other person I could really talk to, who could really understand me, who’d be kind to me. That’s what people really want, if they’re telling the truth.” – Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook When my brother-in-law was young, his dad went through a period of frustration over a household item that was routinely misplaced. They had an old hamper for their laundry to go in and it had a removable lid. Mr. Edwards would come home from work to find that the hamper’s lid had been left lying on the floor. This...

Memories Tried & Maybe Not So True Oct19

Memories Tried & Maybe Not So True

How reliable is memory? According to neuroscientists, not very. While we may view any particular memory as a continuous film of a past scene, those who study how the brain processes describe it as something more like a collage. As a 2012 Psychology Today article summarized, every time we conjure a memory, we are not so much reviewing a complete set of stored data as re-configuring a complex scene from disparate parts. In other words, every memory is newly re-assembled, and even if the pieces are accurate they may be prone to reinterpretation. Our current situation may sublimate the pain of a heartbreak – or accentuate the regret over a path...

Power Jun17

Power

Power, money and respect. In the world of organised crime these are the end goals that people pursue, but they are not equal and they don’t walk hand in hand. In crime fiction we’ve spent countless words picking apart and examining the guts of that triangle, as well as how the three sides connect. As with any industry you can have respect without wealth or influence; a hardworking and likable person can be broadly admired without ever rising to consequence just as a rich person can be considered profoundly lazy and hatefully stupid. Respect and money are independent of each other and transient and chased only by those who fail to see the...

The Enduring Appeal of Elmore Leonard, Deputy US M...

“You make a threatening move I’ll shoot you through the heart.” Elmore Leonard wrote some of the classic crime novels of the twentieth century. Notably inspired by Higgins’s THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE, (1972), Leonard was an adept dialogue writer and master of the tight scene. I’ll use Leonard’s character Raylan Givens, one of his great characters, to exemplify his use of the Western inside the body of crime fiction. Raylan Givens first appeared in Elmore Leonard’s novel PRONTO (1993). His short story “Fire in the Hole” (2012) then became the basis for the television series Justified. He also appeared in the novels RIDING THE...