Marketing and human moments

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I was having coffee Wednesday with two friends at City Feed in JP, talking about what I described as my ambivalence about marketing my forthcoming book.

"You're not ambivalent about marketing," Sam cut in. "You hate it."

In the moment, I laughed with them both and let it go. Because she had a point. But her comment isn't, strictly speaking, true. Neither, though, was my use of the word ambivalence. What I am is conflicted.

September 27, 2013 | Ron MacLean

Craft Advice

Crime Transcending

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By Ron MacLean

My two favorite crime novels – James Crumley's The Last Good Kiss and Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye – have a lot in common. Both have stood the test of time. Both are world-weary and just this side of cynical. More importantly, both transcend their genre to be lasting works of literature: books more about the relentlessly fallible human condition than about crime or crime-solving.

August 23, 2013 | Ron MacLean

Different ways to learn to be a better writer Inspiration

On the grotesque in fiction (channeling Flannery O'Connor)

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Grotesque has gotten a bum rap. Too often, it's reduced to a variant of "gross," as in disgusting, or worse, turn-away-from-it-silly.

So it's time to invoke the ghost of Mary Flannery O'Connor and reclaim some space for the grotesque as worthy territory in fiction.

For O'Connor, the grotesque was essential, because it carved out space to address a reality beyond – apart from – mere typical daily existence

July 26, 2013 | Ron MacLean

Different ways to learn to be a better writer Inspiration

Things I don't understand (part one)

1.    String theory (but I'm trying)
2.    The almost universal appeal of canned tuna
3.    ditto Conan O'Brien
4.    ditto mayonnaise, in any usage
5.    Written instructions, ever
6.    Why Beef on Weck has not taken the nation by storm
7.    Ballet, or for that matter, opera
8.    How any living being could resist Neko Case
9.    The writings of Gaston Bachelard, especially The Poetics of Reverie (though I desperately want to)
10.    The polo shirt
11.    Why more people don't visit Finland

October 18, 2011 | Ron MacLean


Learning To Plot

By Ron MacLean

In 20 years of writing fiction, I've never been accused of putting plot first. Plot as driver isn't where my instincts, interests or strengths lie. So what ever possessed me to write a straight-ahead, plot-driven, quasi-crime novel?

I fell in love with an idea, and that's where it took me. Writing Headlong has been a learning experience (in the way that falling off a cliff face while rock climbing is a learning experience). It has made me a better writer. It has brought me face-to-face with my limitations (hey, that's fun).

July 21, 2011 | Ron MacLean

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