clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Monday, December 23, 2013

Craft Done Well

I'm a fan of the photographs taken by Arthur Fellig under the byline WeeGee. Many of the pictures are "reaction" shots to something out of frame which is viewed by the subjects. I found that technique highly revealing of the human conditions. Exploitive, but revealing.

I like crime. All of crime writing is exploitive to some degree. There's a dead body on the floor in most of it. That didn't happen by accident.

I'm thinking tonight - on the last post of this holiday week - about that feeling of knowing you have lightening caught in a bottle but that it just hasn't been discovered yet. It's that little feeling of joy an before your first novel comes out.

You're a known quantity once you're on the shelves. Until then, despite all the frustration at having "not yet" there remains a little joy and excitement and fear of ironing out the craft.

There's a little bit of a wrapper around the "not quite yet" inside you at this stage. It's like a present.

That taste of a little bit before the success: it's a precious fleeting emotional state.

I'm off to pack, then write. I've got to stomp this little feeling out of existence by getting work out there - and that means finishing. That means gaining efficiency in execution of the craft. That means honing the storytelling so the revision process isn't a fishing expedition, at night, in the swamp.

I love Spanish moss and pecan pie at Christmas. I like pound cake better but no one but Aunt Mamie puts nutmeg and rum in theirs. Hell, no one makes a pound cake anymore.

I remember waking to the sound of the surf pounding from a storm offshore one Christmas morning and walking to Mamie and Ralph's barefoot.

Mind the Holly leaves if you cut though the back. They're prickly.

And write something.

Merry Merry. Happy Happy.

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