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Book titles and noir

Posted in Blog, Personal

I’ve been working some more on my book (and also watching film noir movies like Double Indemnity and Murder, My Sweet) and I’ve been thinking for a while that Pearls and Smoke isn’t a very good title–or at least it doesn’t sound like a very noir title. I liked the inclusion of pearls and smoke, which are in-universe slang, but it doesn’t sound super exciting. So I’ve decided to change the name of my novel to The Crow’s Last Call, which is equally significant, in ways that I cannot explain without spoiling the entire plot, and actually sounds like a hardboiled novel title. So I’ll be referring to it as that from here on out.

Moving on from that, I’ve been going through my hardboiled library a bit more, my hardboiled library being the works of Hammett, Cain, and Chandler. Since I’m trying to emulate a story written in the 1930s or 40s, both in time period and writing style, I think it’s important to go off of stories that were actually written in that time, by multiple authors. It’s a good thing I’m not trying to emulate any one author in particular (such as, to pick a completely random example, Raymond Chandler) because it’s just impossible. I’m the least poetic person in history and I’m not able to come up with big exciting metaphors and clever uses of language. My strengths are in character interaction and action and emotionally-charged scenes, so it’s best if I play up to those.

Anyways, I recently read The Glass Key, which is apparently considered a very good mystery novel, but which I found a bit confusing, and Double Indemnity, which was a wild ride because I had no idea it was just about a dude trying to commit the perfect murder and get away with it. But it was! And it was so good that I decided to watch the movie ASAP afterwards, and that was really good too. I also read The Annotated Big Sleep which was partially because I love Philip Marlowe but also because I really enjoy annotated books and being able to see the kind of context involved in a story that’s very steeped in 1930s culture on account of being written at the time.

I’ll probably read The Postman Always Rings Twice and The Maltese Falcon next, along with Red Wind. We’ll see how those go.

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