RARA-AVIS: The Stanislavski Method of writing--Is fiction autobiograpy in disguise?

From: Bludis Jack ( buildsnburns@yahoo.com)
Date: 18 Nov 2005

Is fiction autobiography in disguise?

Well, sometimes--at least, for me.

Like the famous Stanislavski Method of acting, sometimes I use what I call the Stanislavski Method of writing. When I come to place in the script where a deeper emotion is called for, I try to emirs myself in my point-of-view character to see and feel what he (or she) might feel.

Like the Stanislavski Method of acting it is a matter of "becoming" the character. (I don't want to bullshit you that I do this all the time or that I try to write so-called literary fiction--I don't. Sometimes it is "just there.")

It is a good way to get in touch with things that are "of" the character. I suspect that in a biographical novel like "Manifesto for the Dead," that Domenic Stansberry did the same thing.

As for plotting? It's a litte of this and a little of that. Someplace in my past, I saw or read something that had a particular twist. In a sense it is borrowing or even stealing bur more often than not it is unconscious. As an example, Richard Helms pointed out that an instigating circumstance in my first "Bludis" novel was liftred from "Chinatown." Not conscious at all, but I see it and it is a far more important issue in "The Big Switch" than in "Chinatown."

Since I particularly write Historical novels, not pastiche--I avoid most of the Chandler and Hammett jargon and go for my own style, such as it is.

I often find myself digging even into my childhood to remember things like a stylized chef that hangs on the wall with a clock in his belly, or a grainy coffee pot. I have even brought back whole scenes--OK tell me I'm crazy--but I have come up with memories of things that I think happened before I could talk--like being in a bar with my father and wanting to go home and not being able to tell him that.

In a sense, all of my PI novels are idealized versions of my father's life. He was there, he lived it. Sometimes I was with him and I remember it. Sometimes I remember his stoies--he was a grat story teller. Sometimes, as a young adult, I was there myself--i.g. on Baltimore's infamous
"Block." In those cases, I have had to "back project" what I remember to what might have been.

So yes, much of my writing is autobiographical, but most of it, I think, is biographica, (Note above about my father.) He was an avid reader of the pulps were left after WWII and of the paperback novelslate of the forties and early fifties. It was finding an old box of books that introduced me to Tavis McGee (sp) and John D. MacDonald.

Jack Bludis

http://www.jackbludis.com Shamus nominee for "Shadow of the Dahlia" Amazon.com / BN.com / MysteryLovesCompany.com

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 18 Nov 2005 EST