RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Fashion Rules!

Kate Derie (cluelass@cluelass.com)
Sun, 07 Nov 1999 10:38:00 -0800

Realizing that we are walking a very thin tightrope of relevance here and Bill is likely to shut us down at any minute....

I met a real-life private investigator a couple days ago, at the VA clinic in Oakland. (Besides giving me free health care, this is a terrific place for research in character & dialog.) He did wear a suit
(off-the-rack), a clip-on tie (this is the "fashion rule" with cops as they don't want to give anyone a handle on them), and *cowboy boots*, not wingtips. No gun in his holster, but rather a cell phone. He had to be close to 70 years old, if not over, but you wouldn't want to mess with him -- he was about 6'2" and looked like he was carved out of solid oak. He had over 20 years in the Army, then he was a state cop for about the same length of time, then a parole officer, and now he has his license as a PI.

If he wrote a book, he probably wouldn't tell you about his clothes, but he would definitely tell you about his family, and the facts of life about race and politics, and about his two tours of duty in Vietnam without losing a man in his squad. That is the sort of thing that makes a character 3-dimensional, not necessarily a softy. This guy was about as hard-boiled as you can get and still be a real person, but relationships and loyalty are probably the most important things in his life. You don't have to be a loner to be tough, and you don't have to be sentimental to be human.

Regards, Kate Derie Creator of the ClueLass HomePage, http://www.cluelass.com Editor of the Deadly Directory, http://www.deadlyserious.com

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