To clarify, when I said "some people live in those slums", I wasn't talking about *actual* slums, just continuing the literary metaphor of "slumming it". I meant some writers are naturally drawn to crime fiction. The tourists, I was speculating, are the literary writers who see the crime genre and think it's easy or lucrative or whatever.
A great crime writer is one who thrives on the apparatus of the crime novel, which is a constraint. A great literary writer (for want of a better term) would thrive with no constraints.
I don't even know if I believe that, but it's what I was trying to say (badly) yesterday!
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Brian Thornton <bthorntonwriter@...> wrote:
> Sorry to reply to my own post, but I inadvertently hit "send" before I
> intended to.
> I meant to expand on my statement below by pointing out that my uncle is a
> convicted felon who did two years in prison for drug trafficking and has
> been shot at least once that I know of (he claims it was a drive-by. The
> rest of his family are unconvinced).
> The point? He was dealing drugs and consorting with assorted "folks who
> live in the slums" (in fact, my whole family on both sides were poor until
> my parents came along and worked their asses off to become middle class)
> beginning in his teens and extending for a couple of decades (and now, in
> his 50s, he's got the health problems to prove it, including inheriting
> David Crosby's liver and cluster headaches that are related to the mountain
> of coke he put up his nose), so he was hardly a "tourist."
> He's harbored literary aspirations for his entire life.
> I'm ten years younger than he is, and the amount of crime fiction I've
> published is negligible (a few short stories), but I guarantee you, it's
> more than my uncle will ever see published.
> I think the worst thing you can do to crime fiction is to romanticize it, or
> for that matter, those of us (with any degree of success under our belts)
> who write and publish it. Lest we forget, James M. Cain was a journalist
> (as was Daniel Mainwaring/Geoffrey Homes), son of a college president, and a
> former managing editor of a major New York publication; Raymond Chandler an
> oil company executive; Cornell Woolrich a trust fund baby; and Ross
> MacDonald a college professor. David Goodis and Dashiell Hammett might
> prove to be the exceptions here ("non-tourists"), but it sure does seem as
> if some of the best classic crime fiction writers were either "tourists" or
> "slumming," or perhaps, some interesting combination of the two.
> All the Best-
> On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 6:05 PM, Brian Thornton
> > On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 3:02 AM, Charlie Williams <cs_will@...>wrote:
> >> >Maybe crime fiction *is* slumming it. But some folks live in those slums,
> >> and >others are just tourists. Out of the two, who is going to find the
> >> gold?
> > Since we're talking about *fiction*, the answer is simple: the better
> > writer.
> > All the Best-
> > Brian
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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