RARA-AVIS: Re: Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, and Character "Profiling"

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@colba.net)
Date: 25 Aug 2000

Paul wrote:

>Supposedly, this is the first of a proposed series of "homages" to film noir
>FOX plans for the coming season. I am naturally suspicious of such projects,
>but it might turn out to be worthwhile. Stranger things have happened.

Yeah. FALLEN ANGELS a few years back was a pleasant surprise. Fox's plan is to remake old 20th Century-Fox B's from the 40's and 50's, evidently. Let 'em, I figure. At least the stuff is getting out there. It may bring in a few new readers, which wouldn't be a bad thing.

And if the remakes are bad, well, so be it. Some of those movies could do with redoing, anyway. Look at THE MALTESE FALCON. It took
'em three times to get that one right, and they're still working on THE BIG SLEEP.

I'll be interested on what you thought of it.

And thanks for the gambling advice, Pete. DON'T BET PERSONAL just sounds like a 1950's Gold Medal about a gambler with nothing but bad luck who gets suckered into some racetrack scam by some dame with long legs and longer lies. I'd read it.

And now that the Bobbsey Twins have had the chance to throw a few rough words around the schoolyard at recess, to prove what red, white and blue-blooded he-men they are, could we get back to crime fiction, and the interesting notion that writers"profile" their secondary characters as a literary short-cut? (And kudos to Bill Hagen for coming up with just the right word).

Is it necessarily a bad thing? When is it offensive, when is it just lazy writing and when is it a clever way to pump up a secondary character without using a lot of verbiage? And by profiling I don't just mean by race or gender or sexual preference or even hair colur. For example, I think Pelecanos and Michael Cormany often "profile" their characters simply by referring to the music they listen to, or what they drink. What are some literary shortcuts that other writers use?

Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site http://www.colba.net/~kvnsmith/thrillingdetective/

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