“A good story cannot be devised; it has to be distilled.” – Raymond Chandler
Born on this date in 1888, Chandler started his writing career out of desperation after losing his oil company job during the Great Depression. He found he had a great knack for writing crime stories and wrote for magazines for several years before devising his first novel – an instant hit and bestseller, The Big Sleep, published in 1939.
In addition to his many, many short stories, Chandler published seven novels including Double Indemnity and The Long Goodbye – considered a masterpiece in the genre and named one of the top 100 novels of the 20th Century. A founder of the “hard-boiled school of detective fiction,” Chandler’s protagonist Philip Marlowe was made even more famous through the acting of Humphrey Bogart, who played him in a number of films adapted from Chandler’s works.
British author Ian Fleming said that Chandler offered “some of the finest dialogue written in any prose” and mystery writer Paul Levine described Chandler's style as the "literary equivalent of a quick punch to the gut."
“Write ‘actively,’” Chandler said when asked for his advice to young writers. “And when in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.”
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