Chandler on Writing

Raymond Chandler. Every now and again, I pick up one of his books and get lost in the fast-talking, whisky-swilling swagger of it all. Last night I was thumbing through Trouble Is My Business (probably not one of his most memorable works) and came upon the following passage in his introduction about writing for pulp magazines. In a world drenched in overly sweet platitudes about writing well, this little nugget works because of its hard-nosed matter-of-factness:

…if you stopped to think you were lost. When in doubt have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand. This could get to be pretty silly, but somehow it didn’t seem to matter. A writer who is afraid to overreach himself is as useless as a general who is afraid to be wrong.

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