Re: RARA-AVIS: Marcia Muller and long books

Date: 10 Feb 2000

Hi Doug,
    I have the same frustration and the same uneasy feeling. There seems to be a lot of books out there that need a tough editor, and since it seems doubtful that writers are running amok ignoring the wishes of their publishers, long must be what publishers think they need to sell their expensive books.
    My conviction about most hard boiled writing in this era is that it cannot stand the weight of multiple subplots and peripheral characters. The work must be lean and clean and largely linear. All of that points toward short, at least in words. You can blow up the print size and fatten the pages and the margins, but if you try to write books like Ellroy's, you'd better have a following, and you better be as gifted as he is. The worst of the current trend is that there are even reasonably short books in the stores that could stand some cutting, short stories masquerading as novels, someone on this list said recently. What I suspect is going to happen is that the books that sell in the years to come will be tighter and shorter, and that editing will come back into fashion. From my Mac to God's ears.

                                        Jim Blue

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