Friday, August 3, 2012

[Link] Mistress Christa's Ten Rules to Write Noir

by Christa Faust

Before I start, let me make one thing clear. I love noir. I read it. I watch it. But I don't really write it. The majority of my crime fiction is more hardboiled than noir.

I may not be a noir writer, but I am a bossy bitch who loves telling people what to do. So when Benoit Lelievre of Dead End Follies contacted me about this deal, I figured why the hell not. To that end, here's my ten rules. Not ten rules to write the kind of book I write. Ten rules to write the kind of book I'd want to read. 

1. Be a good writer. Learn your craft. Build up your chops. Because you can run the classic noir laundry list and hit all the genre sweet spots but if you suck, the book will suck. Period. Conversely, you can break every other rule on this list and then some and if you're good, your readers won't give a damn.

2. Character matters. The best noir fiction isn't about the heist, or the murder, or the dope deal. It's about the way people come undone. If your characters are cardboard, then their unraveling will be meaningless.