Re: RARA-AVIS: Crime Fiction involving children

From: Fred Willard (
Date: 28 Apr 2009

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    I'm finding this thread very interesting.

    When Law and Order: SVU first came on the air, most of their plot lines seemed to be about sexual assault and I had trouble watching the show.

    I thought this was interesting at the time, as I wasn't bothered about shows or books that dealt with murder.

    As I began becoming interested in writing, one of the thing that appealed to me about the HB/Noir traditions is that they offered a way to honest about both violence and the effects of violence and that the narrator was not obliged to look away.

    I remember watching an episode of 'Murder She Wrote' some years ago and seeing a happy go lucky group of people cheerfully discussing where they were going to lunch after half the people they knew had been slaughtered by some lunatic and thinking it must be a clan of sociopaths to be dealing with their collective loss so emotionlessly.

    I don't mean to pick on MSW, since it was an entertaining show, but I think this did illustrate how the cozies can have an attitude toward violence which is morally bizarre compared to literature which is more frank about violence.

    I think the best crime fiction is a literature that parses the moral environment and the darkness around the edges of success. The way some people slice the world may be more complex or nuanced than others. They may not employ white and black hats but the consciousness is still there.

    In my writing, I have had characters do some horrible things, and I did it because I thought it was the most honest way to portray the character in action.

    I believe we are in an era of rapacious narcissism, and genre writers are some of those doing the best job of capturing it in their writing.

    I understand why some people may not wish to read about morally repulsive actions. They aren't easy to write about.

    I do think, however, that having some people willing to chronicle the dark side is a good thing.

    Been writing hard all day, so I hope this ramble isn't too incoherent.


    On Apr 28, 2009, at 5:43 PM, Ron Clinton wrote:

    > > Todd Mason said:
    > > > It is interesting that the notion of torture and worse happening
    > to
    > > > adults, including innocent adults and sometimes helpless ones,
    > might
    > > > be an almost necessary component of some of what we regularly
    > discuss >
    > here,
    > > but the notion of the same things happening to kids can turn
    > > > people right around.
    > I plead guilty to that -- unapologetically, I'm afraid. It's just
    > the way
    > my mind's been wired since the arrival ten years ago of my two
    > daughters.
    > > This Michael Connelly essay, originally published in the
    > Washington Post,
    > touches
    > > on this subject and may be of interest to some:
    > >
    > first_person.html
    > Thanks for posting that -- very insightful (at least, as it pertains
    > to me),
    > and touching. Connelly, of course, says it much better than I ever
    > could:
    > "A father would not have written it. It cut too close to the bone. It
    > conjured images that I now know a father would not want to allow in
    > his mind
    > . . ."
    > Ron C.

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