Re: RARA-AVIS: D. Lynds: Work habits

From: Karin Montin (
Date: 30 May 2005

I did notice that the non-Dan chapters were very much like short stories. I hadn't really thought about the fact that it was still Dan's voice being used, even though he wasn't in the story. I have to admit to sometimes reading faster than is recommended for full appreciation.

Thanks again for your willingness to talk to readers in such a personal way.


At 16:56 29/05/05 -0700, you wrote:
> What I was after were ways to make the characters both deeper and
>broader than is possible in the standard detective novel, point up the theme
>more forcefully, and especially avoid the mind-numbing endless series of
>interviews that constitute most detective novels. I tried to use techniques
>that are more common in more cutting edge mainstream fiction. In most of
>these set pieces the intention is to turn the wordy and passive interview
>into an action story all its own that reveals both facts and character
>without showing the detective doing the tedious interviews to gather all the
>information revealed in the set piece. If you look carefully you'll realize
>that most of these scenes are actually stand-alone short stories. My design
>was to suggest these scenes were Dan himself speaking, and if you take a
>close look at them you'll find they are very much in Dan's voice. A few in
>other novels are Dan telling a seemingly unrelated story that emphasizes the
>theme of the book and the attitudes of various characters, again in Dan's
>voice. In Cassandra In Red there is one section that is purely in Dan's
>imagination, and one reader particularly liked that section. Anyway, I
>can't remain static in my writing, and I felt and still freel the average
>mystery novel is in paralytic rut. (Oddly, experiment began with the
>invention of the hardboiled form---Hammett's extremely distant third person
>narration in Maltese Falcon, almost a camera-eye narration---but seems to
>have been lost with the exception of a writer here and there such as Jim

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