Re: RARA-AVIS: commercial and noir

From: Kerry J. Schooley (
Date: 29 Apr 2005

At 09:08 AM 29/04/2005 -0400, you wrote:
>but evidently it's
>clear cut to him that people don't want to waste time on character
>development. Now, I'm just wondering if everybody knows this but me, and
>how clearly it
>comes across that a book is driven by one means or another.

Like most of you, I think that plot and character development are not an either/or proposition. I suspect that what the "literary" set call character driven stories are those that exhibit the fundamental error of telling rather than showing. The narrator or the protagonist sit about telling us what goes through their minds and what type of person they are. This is so boring that the writer must employ a wide range of literary devices and stylistic flourishes just to keep the reader motivated. On the other hand, a story that shows will entertain readers to the point that the development of characters is taken in as evident as readers progress through the story, driven by their own curiosity to know what happens next.

I find many writers of noir fiction make good use of three basic elements- style, plot and character. I've no idea why, with so many good books available and more every day, why anyone would settle for less. As Danny Finkleman, a Toronto DJ once said on his weekly Oldies radio show: "A good story is simply character revealed by plot, with snappy dialogue."

Best, Kerry

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