Category: Mystery Novels

The Language of Fiction is Word-pictures

The language of fiction is word-pictures © 2013 by Robert J. Ray Word-pictures, whether they stand still like photographs, or whether they roar like the wind, come from concrete nouns: “In the late summer of that year, we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains.” This famous word-picture opens A Farewell to Arms (1929), a war-novel by Ernest Hemingway. There are two abstract nouns in this opening sentence – summer and year – and five concrete nouns: house, village, river, plain, mountains. There is one object – the house – anchoring  four generic landmarks: village, river, plain, and mountains. The ratio of concrete nouns to abstract is 5:2, enough concrete nouns to paint a picture that locks down the opening of the novel. The view is panoramic, like a photograph or a landscape painting. The narrator is First Person. The pronoun “we” links the narrator – a volunteer ambulance driver from the American midwest in search of love and adventure in the Great War of 1914-1918 – to  his ambulance driver buddies. The word-picture in this opening line puts an implied distance between the narrator in the village and the fighting in the mountains, where the Italians battle their Austrian neighbors. The distance comes from the active verb of perception (looked) and the adverb of distance (across) and...

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20 Steps to Starting Your Novel

When I finished Murdock #6—Murdock Tackles Taos—I dozed, I dreamt of Fame, that elusive imposter, and then I launched into Murdock #7, and felt a bone-chilling loss of momentum, because the work on the Taos book was wrap-up writing, little fixes, edits, careful knitting up, joyful polishing—but the writing on the new book was clumsy, dull, opaque, fitful, maddening.

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Murdock Cracks Ice–from Camel Press

Now available from Amazon in paperback and on kindle. check it out. through CamelPress.com, to be followed by Murdock Tackles Taos. Murdock Cracks Ice, by Seattle-based novelist Robert J. Ray ($14.95, 262 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-881-0), first published in 1992, is back in print. Fans of the hard-boiled but soft-hearted detective Matt Murdock will soon be able to obtain Ray’s other books in the much-acclaimed mystery series: Bloody Murdock,  Murdock for Hire, and Dial “M” for Murdock. Murdock Cracks Ice the only book of the series that takes place in Seattle.   Share this:TweetShare on TumblrEmailLike this:Like...

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©2010-2017 Jack Remick, Robert J. Ray. All rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including text and images, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Short excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jack Remick and Robert J. Ray and "Bob and Jacks Writing Blog" with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.