Re: Father Figure (was Re: RARA-AVIS: Positions still open)

From: Patrick King (
Date: 15 Aug 2008

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    --- On Thu, 8/14/08, Mark R. Harris <> wrote:
     From any more nuanced point of view than that of a hard-core genre purist who wants predictable experiences over and over, this statement is inane drivel. How, in the hands of a competent writer, putting forward enriched characters with "added elements" somehow detracts from the
    "writer's job," is beyond me, no matter what type of story we're talking about. I can't disparage the statement strongly enough.


    Who the hell do you think you are?

    That said, "enriched characters" and "nuanced" points of view have their place in literature, but not in a mystery where the objective is to keep the plot moving, not drag it down with elements important to the writer but not to the reader. There are few more "nuanced" characters than Sherlock Holmes, still the story is never consumed by his hat or his dog or his cocaine habit. These are elements that bring him into the reader's view. They don't inhibit the plots. Most modern detectives with their marriages and their AA involvement, or their synagogues or churches limit their appeal tremendously to that vast majority of mystery readers who are just looking for a good yarn. Any publisher will tell you this, by the way.

    If you think I'm wrong, why not site examples from your own reading that contradict me rather than disparaging my perfectly just opinion. You might be more convincing to me, and you'd certainly set a better example for the rest of the list.

    Patrick King


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