Re: RARA-AVIS: Once more into the breech...

Date: 01 Sep 2000

I have to say that I agree with Juri: it's rash to try to categorise fiction, even partly, according to what you believe are the writer's motives. Believe me: writers usually lie about their motives and intentions, even to themselves, but especially when they are looking for publicity. When I was young and silly ('sillier' if you like) I would have said that I was practising my art. (I can't imagine Hammett daring to say that.) Now that I take myself less seriously, I will tell anybody that I do it for the money. I am probably lying, at least in part, but you can't be sure and you would be unwise to count on what I say in order to put my work into a box. You do get led into comical speculation; for instance, is somebody who was paid 3 cents a word more or less hard-boiled than somebody who was paid 8 cents?

I believe that if I were really writing only for the money, there are more profitable things to write. I have heard a whisper that "romance" is the thing. Thanks. I have read mysteries of one sort or another by well-known best-selling crime writers without any desire to imitate the kind of thing they do. I just don't see how any of this is very helpful in defining categories.

As for
>But they were good at what they were doing.
-- well, all real writers, hardboiled or highart, would like to have that on their tombstones.


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