Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Write Noir in 4 Simple Steps

Step One
In solitude, organize your writing area. If you don't write on computer, lay out two pens, just in case. A pad of lined paper is helpful.

Step Two
Set fire to the area. Let the room get good and scorched before you douse it. Smoldering embers in a few places are okay—there's nothing like the threat of combustion and smell of smoke to inspire a noirist.

Step Three
Sift through the ashes of your possessions and grab whatever material is still left to write on. If the computer and pens are destroyed, open a vein and write with your own blood on the sooty wall—blood and grime contribute mightily to noir. Anything you write at this stage will be brilliant because it contains the four five essential elements of the genre: loss, pain, desperation and truth about human nature. Let's not forget a glimpse of mortality.

Step Four
If—unlike lions of the genre such as James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler and Jim Thompson—you are unable to reduce your life to ashes for the sake of art, all is not lost. But you must find a way to reach this state mentally before picking up a writing instrument. Bring devastation and lost hope front-of-mind and feel them so sharply that they drive away everything but truth. Particularly destructive to the noir oeuvre are shreds of level-headedness, dignity and esteem. Reckless abandon is a bonus.

Follow these 4 simple steps and any writer, no matter how new to the genre, is assured of creating memorable noir. Go do it. May your words burn bright.


Nick said...

I can do this.

Anonymous-9 said...

Hi Nick! I wanna read it when you do!

Ben said...

On step two, you need to douse the area with booze and light it up with a cigarette ember, otherwise it's not noir, it's horror! THE LINE IS THIN!

Al Tucher said...

Got it!

Anonymous-9 said...

Ha ha Ben! Nice to see you, Al. I forgot to add something about a fire extinguisher being a handy item. That'll be my disclaimer here in the comments.

Craig said...

Love it.

I'm going to give it a shot.

Emphasis on shot.

Craig T.

JosephPatchen said...

I love this plan. I really do. I have to think about how I can translate this to my horror stories. Although as I ponder, I don't think I will use it when I write the splatterpunk variety as I may lose a few toes. Thank you for sharing.

buy fire extinguishers said...

Interesting post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for posting.