Re: RARA-AVIS: Whitfield's GREEN ICE

From: Al Guthrie (
Date: 03 Nov 2002

----- Original Message ----- From: "JIM DOHERTY" <>

> If you thought Hammett's narrative style in HARVEST
> was impersonal, you'll find that it'll seem warm and
> cuddly compared to FALCON. FALCON is one of the best
> examples I've ever seen of waht one writing instructor
> I had called "the camera/tape recorder" mode of
> narration. Nothing is spelled out except what can
> concretely be seen and heard. All emotions, thoughts,
> interior monologue, etc., are things the reader has to
> infer.

Film constraints pretty much enforce the adage "show, don't tell" (I qualify that statement because somebody's sure to point out 'voice over' as a
"telling" technique), which appears as gospel in most fiction writing guides. Showing is always richer than telling, and Hammett was well aware of this. It's what makes FALCON resonate, and must have helped enormously with the adaption. Incidentally, Hammett employs the antithesis of a nickname by referring to the protagonist of THE GLASS KEY by his full name at all times, IIRC. Now that's impersonal.


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