Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Friday, August 03, 2007
Writing the Long GoodbyeI just posted an article on my web site that describes the unique--and tortuous--revision process Raymond Chandler went through in creating the final draft of his well-regarded novel The Long Goodbye.
The impetus for the project came from a conversation I had with Ridley Pearson during the Denver Bouchercon in 2000. We were sitting in the back yard of Murder by the Book chit-chatting at a group author event. He told me about his experience at Oxford as the recipient of the Raymond Chandler Fulbright in Detective Fiction.
He said Oxford had a portion of Raymond Chandler's papers, including original manuscript pages for The Long Goodbye containing material that was eliminated in the final draft. Ridley had only had the opportunity to glance through them casually, but his hypothesis was that the pages were cut at the request of Chandler's publishers to reduce the length of the book.
I fascinated to hear that there was material that had been excluded, but from my reading of the two major Chandler biographies, was not convinced that the cuts had been made to reduce the book's size.
Some years later, I had the opportunity to visit Oxford and examine the pages myself. Check out the article to learn about interesting scenes that never made it into the book and find the true answer as to why Chandler cut the material!
(And for those of you who haven't read the book in a while, the article references a plot summary and a dramatis personae as a refresher on the story and the characters.)