RARA-AVIS: John D. MacDonald and April

From: George Pelecanos ( shoedog1@erols.com)
Date: 21 Jan 2001

Here's a theory regarding Bill's comment on MacDonald's tendency to open many of the novels in April. Writers who are prolific to the degree that they publish a novel a year tend to begin the work on their manuscripts at the same time every year. Part of this is due to a perennial schedule that has evolved over time and a smaller part is due to a kind of unspoken superstition (if the previous book's writing was started in April, and it
"worked," maybe the next book's writing should be started in April again). Also, as the first few chapters of a manuscript generally represent the toughest time for a writer, anything that can be done to make it
"easier"--including setting the book in the season in which it is written--will be done. Put it another way: it's much less taxing on the brain to look out your window and describe the snowy landscape when the ground is indeed covered in snow. Imagining cold and snow in mid-July is much more difficult. Like I said, just a theory.


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