by Paul D. Marks
So, what prompted me to write crime fiction: I write it so I can kill people...on the page that I can't kill in real life...........
Related to that is the desire to see justice served as it so often isn’t in real life. That said, in much of what I write there are no neat bow-tied endings. And even when parts of the stories are tied up other parts are left open-ended. Kind of like life. So, justice is often served on some level, but maybe not neatly and maybe not legal justice, but some kind of street justice. Unless it’s a totally noir tale where there truly might not be justice, at least not in terms of how we normally think of it.
Writing crime fiction also gives me a way to comment on things that I want to comment on. Also to explore different points of view about those things, via various characters, including those that might not necessarily jibe with my own thoughts. Kind of like when you did debates in school and you had to take the other side of the issue, whether you agreed with it or not.
And, as RM said earlier in the week, “With crime fiction I get to write about people in trouble, not just criminals and victims, but the people who happen to be police officers as well.” It's so true, and crime fiction is about so much more than whodunit. It's about all the people affected by the crime. As such, it gives us a vehicle to explore the human condition (now that sounds pretty hifalutin) but in a structured story with a plot that keeps us interested (hopefully) and moving forward.
But ultimately I want to entertain. I’ve talked about this before, and I don’t want to beat on a dead Sturges, but the Preston Sturges movie Sullivan’s Travels makes the point very well about entertaining. It’s the story of a film director who makes movies like Ants in Your Plants of 1939. But he thinks it’s light and silly junk. He wants to make the ponderous message movie Oh Brother Where Art Thou. But through his adventures he learns that what people really want is to laugh – and to be entertained.
|White Heat on Amazon|
And, of course, I enjoy reading crime fiction and watching crime-related movies. As I’ve stated here before, I’m a “movie guy,” and I came to a lot of crime fiction via the movies. Anyone who knows me knows I love film noir and in that genre there are few heroes, at least of the conventional variety. I’ve done a lot of different types of writing, mainstream, humorous/satire, screenplays of various genres. But crime writing/fiction and noir allow me to explore what good and evil are and where the boundaries between them are sometimes blurred.
So there you have it, now I can stuff the bats back into the belfry and close the lid to Pandora’s Box. Why do you write crime fiction?
And now for some refreshingly new BSP:
And I’m thrilled to announce that my short story, “Ghosts of Bunker Hill,” was voted #1 in the 2016 Ellery Queen Readers Poll. If you’d like to read it (and maybe consider it for other awards) you can read it free on my website: http://pauldmarks.com/stories/