Thursday, December 11, 2014

Who Loves Ya, Baby? Redux.

by Alan

Why do you write crime instead of another form of fiction,
like science fiction, romance or general fiction?

(About a year ago, we answered a similar question, so I thought you’d enjoy this “classic” post (okay, a rerun). But if you haven’t read this post before, it’s new to you, and judging by the zero comments I got last year, it will probably be new to you!)

Because we’re talking crime here, I think it’s appropriate to use, uh, bullet points.

  • Justice – I have a well-developed sense of right and wrong, but in the real world, justice doesn’t always prevail. In my world, justice does prevail, often with extreme prejudice.
  • High stakes, high drama – Often, crime is about life and death. For the victims, for the perpetrators, for those suffering the fallout of crime. Writing about characters facing these types of situations makes for compelling drama. kojak
  • Anything goes – criminals do some nasty, nasty things, so as a writer, I don’t feel constrained in any way about what I can write about. I can be as nasty as I want!
  • Fascination – As a kid, my TV diet consisted of all those great cop/detective shows of the 70’s—Mannix, The Rockford Files, The FBI, Adam-12,  Barnaby Jones, Ironside, McMillan & Wife, Banacek, Columbo, Streets of San Francisco, Cannon, Baretta, Starsky & Hutch, Kojak, McCloud, Harry O, Shaft, Cool Million, and for some reason, Police Woman and Charlie’s Angels. For me, it’s not so much “write what you know,” but “write what you’ve watched a million times.”
  • Inside knowledge – It would be a shame to waste the 15 years I spent at Leavenworth.


Paul D. Marks said...

Alan, I think your first point really strikes home: we like to read and write crime fiction because most of the time there is a sense of justice, where in the real world there often is not. And, of course, you want to put to good use all those things you learned in Leavenworth. Shiv-Making 101.

Catriona McPherson said...

This might be a comment redux, but the only time in my schooldays I was ever cool was the day after the first episode of Starsky and Hutch aired. The school playground divided into those who had and those who had not watched it. Ordinarily I wouldn't have been let within ten miles of it. But my mum was out and my dad was in charge. Thanks, Dad.

Susan C Shea said...

The last bullet renders the rest insignificant! Write what you know, correct?

Meredith Cole said...

Love that you're republishing a classic post, Alan! I didn't comment last time? How remiss of me! I was probably laughing too hard to type...

Alan Orloff said...

Paul - I did so well in my arts-and-crafts class, that now I teach Shiv-Making 101.

Catriona - You probably just watched for Starsky's hair. I know I did.

Susan - Were you the same Susan Shea who corresponded with me during my, uh, vacation? You kept my hope alive.

Meredith - Thanks for commenting this time--I can always count on you, no matter how silly my post!

Art Taylor said...

I don't remember reading this before! But either way, I enjoyed reading it now. Good stuff!

RJ Harlick said...

Great post, Alan.