Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Every so often even a dumb gumshoe like me gets struck by lightning and listens to the voices chattering away in his head. Those who know me will attest to the fact that hearing voices is nothing new to me, and might punctuate such a revelation with a Miles Davis-sized “So What?” I could counter by cautioning that listening isn’t quite the same as hearing, but then we could go around in an endless dance of circles and get nowhere, and I’ve not been known to be a guy who wastes time.
So I’ll cut to the chase and call author dearest in for a sit-down. These dissertations of ours are taking too much time to cobble together, and I also suspect they’re taking too much time to read. I’m going by my own personal preferences, here, but I’m not fond of reading long passages of anything on a computer, let alone a smartphone, if I can avoid it. I’ve got middle-aged eyes that predate the digital age, so I can imagine it’s probably less than inviting to have to scan the thousand-word epistles me and the guy behind the curtain patch together. I’m not talking about migrating down to Nietzschean-length aphorisms — neither one of us pretend to be so profound — but less is more is as valid to writers as it is architects.
Shortening these entries would at least ease the workload. I’ve got a backlog of cases to bring up to date, and that’s only the ones I do above board. I’ve also been known to do some moonlighting now and then, off the books and in varying degrees outside the law; special ‘favors’ for close friends who need a helping hand righting a wrong or equalizing a deck stacked against them. I’ve been ‘moonlighting’ since my days on the force, and so have compiled quite a collection of adventures. I don’t charge my “Moonlight Noir” clients for my services, and have been lucky to survive more than a few of these sidebars, but for a guy who likes working in shadows and settling scores they’re just what the doctor ordered. I’ve even toyed with the idea of chronicling some of them for you, but just haven’t found the time to put pen to paper. Like so much else, the hard part’s getting started.
The guy at the wheel, meanwhile, is revising the structure of my next major case, Blood Rituals, to reflect changes in location and plot previously discussed. I like where it’s going, but since I’ve been sworn to secrecy there’s not much I can say about it except that he’s moving the mayhem to the big city, and the resulting carnage brought on by the collision of stolen artifacts, drug cartels, blood sacrifices and ancient cults, to say nothing of the return of a vintage femme fatale I used to be involved with is about to complicate the hell out of my life.
I’m a firm believer in the fact that one has to know one’s limitations, and that goes as much for writers as it does hard-boiled detectives. I’m sensing I’m about to reach mine and in self defense will need to trim these entries down to a more manageable size. We’ll see what that means, exactly. Every entry, like every one of my cases, takes on a life of its own, regardless, so let’s leave form the freedom to follow function and see where that leads.