Beyond the Blurb: On Critics and Criticism. Published by Cow Eye Press

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marly youmans

Well, this is unusual, Dan: I am soon to publish a book with something in common with "The DaVinci Code"? Curioser and curioser. And here I thought that the small chapters sprang from the material and certain secret needs and purposes of my own...


Good writing is all about the paragraphs, I heartily agree, though I'm not quite a hardliner on the issue. Sometimes I find myself thinking a short paragraph was the perfect size, and 'Oh if all paragraphs were just so!' while other times I find them such a one too short even though it may be of equivalent literary mass to the 'perfect' paragraph just mentioned. I also enjoy a liberal sprinkling of big and small words through the text; sometimes a preponderance of big ones, sometimes of small, and occasionally of in-between sized ones.


While you were talking about novels based on TV, I came across this quote on the writers of The Wire and thought of the point you were making; essentially, everyone involved in making that show (which is sort of without peer in the world of TV) was a writer of something other than tv. TV based on the novel, basically.

This is David Simon talking with Nick Hornby:

"It isn’t really structured as episodic television and it instead pursues the form of the modern, multi-POV novel. Why? Primarily because the creators and contributors are not by training or inclination television writers. In fact, it is a little bit remarkable that we ended up with a television drama on HBO or anywhere else. I am a newspaper reporter by training who wrote a couple long, multi-POV nonfiction narratives, Homicide and The Corner. The first became the basis for the NBC drama of the same name; the second I was able to produce as a miniseries for HBO, airing in 2000. Both works are the result of a journalistic impulse, the first recounting a year I spent with the Baltimore Police Department’s Homicide Unit, and the second book detailing a year spent in a drug-saturated West Baltimore neighborhood, following an extended, drug-involved family. Ed Burns, my coauthor on The Corner and co-creator on The Wire, was a homicide detective who served in the BPD for twenty years and, following that for seven years, a seventh-grade teacher at a Baltimore public school. The remaining writers—Richard Price [Clockers], Dennis Lehane [Mystic River], and George Pelecanos [The Night Gardener]—are novelists working at the highest level of the crime genre. Bill Zorzi covered state and municipal politics for the Baltimore Sun for twenty years; Rafael Alvarez, another Sun veteran, worked as a merchant seaman and comes from two generations of port workers. So we are all rooted in a different place than Hollywood."

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