RARA-AVIS: Re: Name Your Poison

From: Richard Moore ( moorich@aol.com)
Date: 30 Aug 2006

I completely agree, Kevin, this takes me out of a story. It is almost always a clumsy writer trying to make a plot work by having characters act unnaturally. I think it was Fred Dannay who once said he had trouble enjoying mystery stories after reading so many because he too often could see "the scenery moving." When a character behaves unnaturally, I am taken out of the story and become an observer of the stage changing according to the author's direction.

Richard Moore

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Kevin Burton Smith
<kvnsmith@...> wrote:

> For me, it's human behaviour. If the characters don't act in the
> people like them would act, I'm pulled out of the story. And
> that pulls me out of the story is bad -- too many, and I may never
> back.
> Which is why I view most cozies and serial killer novels with
> disdain -- the murders are too often committed for artificial-
> or hard-to-swallow reasons ("he's crazy" is a lazy writer's cop-
> IMHO). Chandler praised Hammett for giving murder back to those
> commit it for a reason, and I think that's part of the HB genre's
> appeal for me.
> But that very artificiality, that once-removed motive for murder,
> be another person's favourite thing about cozies or serial killer
> books -- it allows them to get on with the puzzle aspect or the
> part of the story (or, in the case of narrated-by-the-serial-
> books, the violence-as-porn bits that make certain readers all
> in their naughty bits).

And also from Kevin:
> Hell, look at Stephen King. Do I believe in vampires and
> and UFOs and that burying dead kids in an ancient Indian burial
> ground will bring them back to life?
> Nope.
> But I believe (trust) his characters, so I'm more likely to
> the things that happen to them -- at least while I'm in that
> fictional world. The scenes of domestic life at the beginning of
> SEMETARY (the kids' squabbling over cereal at breakfast, the low-
> level bickering, etc.) may be some of the most "true" fiction
> ever read. So I was already hooked when the weird shit started
> happening.
> Yet who would accuse King of writing "realistic" novels?
> Kevin Burton Smith
> The Thrilling Detective Web Site
> http://www.thrillingdetective.com

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 30 Aug 2006 EDT