Fred Willard (fwillard@bellsouth.net)
Wed, 21 Apr 1999 13:30:46 -0400 >
>Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 14:19:46 -0800
>From: MT <matrxtech@sprintmail.com>
>Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: God is a Bullet
><<Anyone else know some particularly good steals?>>
>Let's stick to dead authors, shall we? People are touchy about this --
>and we are a public forum.

I couldn't agree more. While I'm sure it's fabulous fun to publicly accuse
people of theft, my suspicion is that the accused may not be as amused.

As a genre is defined by it's conventions, what exactly is theft? Is it
theft to write a Shakespearean sonnet?

As most good stories reflect deeply felt cultural myths, and there are only
so many of these myths, who is stealing what?

Are there any new stories?

For those interested in these and other recent developments in the fabulous
art of story telling I'd suggest a read of _The Writer's Journey_ by
Christopher Vogler, which is "based on" the work of Joseph Campbell.

Also two essays shed further light on this as it applies to hard boiled
fiction. The first is the oft cited "Simple Art of Murder" by Raymond
Chandler. The second is actually about the British mystery story, "The
Guilty Vicarage," by W.H. Auden. (It's been ages since I read this one, but
I think I have the particulars right).

The Auden essay is most interesting because it isn't about hard boiled, but
illustrates very clearly how a different cultural mythical structure can
result in a very different crime fiction.

Might I also suggest that if we are going to write really tough criticism
of contemporary books whose authors may be subscribers to the list, that we
all buy a nice collection of protective clothing -- OR -- At the very
least, it might be considerate to those who don't bask in negative reviews,
to warn via the subject line that a negative review is enclosed.

This small courtesy may seem a bit silly, but take it from one who knows.
Seeing a book you spent a year working on having the hell beat out of it is
not a lot of fun.

Particularly, in a place where you like to hang out and relax.

True, some of us do promote our books in less than subtle ways, but I would
ask all to consider that in doing so we aren't trying to get rich in the
widget business. Most of us are hanging on, trying to write books that
others on the list can enjoy. Missing the mark shouldn't be treated as a
war crime.


Down on Ponce a novel by Fred Willard
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