Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: question about plot idea

From: Sean Shapiro (
Date: 14 Apr 2009

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    It's an idea as original as Sophocles (Oedipus kills his old man, but doesn't know who he is. Sleeps with his mom too, but doesn't know who she is .... enough to give a guy a complex). To paraphrase a character from Woody Allen's 'Crimes & Misdemeanors' -- 'Who could be doing such a terrible thing to our city? Oh shit, it's me.' Yep. A terribly original idea.

    Sean Shapiro

    ________________________________ From: Kevin Burton Smith <> To: Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 4:38:22 PM Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: question about plot idea

    Ideas schmideas.

    It's the writing that counts. Look how many times something like THE BIG SLEEP or THE MALTESE FALCON has been re-done by someone who thought it was all about the "idea."

    Beginner writers and non-writers always talk about their great ideas. Big deal. Anyone can have a great idea, but not everyone can make it worth reading. "Ideas" are highly over-rated. Without the writing, just another wandering daughter job is just another wandering daughter job.. But when someone like Hammett does it, it's art.

    Oh, sure, I've come across a few relatively original plot ideas in hard-boiled novels, but in almost all those cases, it was the storytelling that drew me in deep enough to care about the idea. A great idea without the writing to back it up is like owning a great suit but no pants.

    Sure you look swell, but you can't go anywhere.

    Hey, I just had an idea!!!!

    Nope, sorry. It was just indigestion.

    Kevin Burton Smith www.thrillingdetect

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