So you can read my books

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


{"If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it."
— Ernest Hemingway.}

Raymond Chandler, ghost, here.

I don't know if I totally agree with those words of Hemingway.

But they occur to me as I think of the star-crossed love of Alice Wentworth, the Victorian ghoul, and Victor Standish.

The pair remind me of a young Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake in my BLUE DAHLIA.

You, who visit Roland's blog, think their love affair is fiction. Alas, it is not. Fiction, unlike truth, must be logical.

And as Alice Wentworth keeps saying : Their love breaks the chain of reason.

Reason you say? Yes, and good fiction must obey the RULES.


Rules. Most struggling writers think there are mysterious magic rules out there that if followed will insure success.

There aren't. But I'll give them to you, anyway.

Rule #1 :
The most durable thing in writing is style. I had mine. Hemingway had his. We're both imitated.

Be inspired by your favorite authors but leave them be. Keep the original. Lose the copy. Be yourself. But a self that grows each day.

Rule #2 :
Unlike the age of Jane Austin, this age is not remote. It is as intimate as a lonely heart and as intense as the bill collector over your phone.

Do not cliche your words. Brutality is not strength. Flipness is not wit. Do not mistake cool for character, attitude for competence.

It is not funny that a man is killed. But it is sometimes funny that he should be killed for so little, and that his death should be the coin of what we call civilization.

Rule #3 :
It's the journey, the struggles of the hero that grab the reader and keep him turning the pages. Make the hero sweat. But let him get the girl. Even Victor will get -- no, I won't go there. I can't.

Rule #4 :
Pull your nose from the computer keyboard and live life -- don't just write about it. Tasting each drink, feeling each breeze, touching the soft skin of the woman who loves you and only you.

God, I hope Victor does that with Alice ...

if only for a moment.

Sorry, you don't need to read an old ghost's keening.

Rule #5 :
Remember that human nature has learned nothing over the centuries, yet has forgotten nothing either. Men do things for reasons.

Your characters, if they are to be believed, must do so, too. You cannot shove them into actions that your prior words would not imply they would take.

Yet human nature is fickle : a man who is steel in the fires of adversity will melt at the glance of a pair of ice blue eyes. Eyes like Alice has ....

Sorry ... that ... that is all I have the heart for.

I will sit out on Roland's terrace now and look out as the night fog slips away from the bordering bayou.

The rains are over. The fields are still green.

And with my ghost eyes I will look out over the vastness of America to the Hollywood Hills and see snow on the high mountains.

The fur stores will be advertising their annual sales. The call houses that specialize in sixteen year-old virgins will be doing a land-office business. In Beverly Hills the jacaranda trees will be beginning to bloom.

And none of that will matter ... for I know how it must end for Victor and Alice.

The French have a saying that to say good-bye is to die a little. They are right. I am a ghost, and I thought I was past feeling dead inside. I was wrong.

I think I will always see Victor walking down lonely streets, leaning against the grimy bricks of shadowy dead-end alleys, saddened but never quite defeated.

Down those mean streets Victor went who was not himself mean, who was neither tarnished nor afraid ... only mortal -- who loved too well ... and not at all wisely.


  1. Hi Roland! I'm back! Great post. Hmm. Love the ghost of old Hemingway back again. I liked the French saying. Might use that sometime if you're okay with it!

    Great to hear you'll be back for this Friday's RomanticFridayWriter! So looking forward to reading the entries. Have missed it.


  2. Denise :
    Raymond Chandler actually wrote that French line in his THE LONG GOODBYE, so his ghost is fine with your using it. He always had a weakness for blondes with British or Australian accents (truth!). LOL.

    I already have written this Friday's post and it is already scheduled to be post come Friday midnight. I've missed you! Roland

  3. Hi Roland .. use your own style absolutely. So much subtly changes over time - but people don't realise it ... the gladiators were glorified for their fights and/or death - admired for their courage.

    Love the stories that take you along with them .. experience your character's life ... it won't appear real otherwise ..

    Heroes and heroines must be true to their characters ... and I hope that Roland is sitting quietly celebrating Mark's birthday ... even that behemoth Google remembered, otherwise this blogger most certainly wouldn't ..

    Happy Birthday Mark Twain c/o Roland and his blogspot place in the 21st century ... 176 years later.

    Cheers Roland .. Hilary