I like writing that is lean and muscular. Three of my favorite writers – Robert Parker, Elmore Leonard, and John D. MacDonald – embody this style. These men get right into the story and sneer at any adverbs that try to get in the way. They don’t write about characters that are very sad. Their characters are sad; or lugubrious; or mournful; or disconsolate. They are not very sad.

The bad news is these authors are dead. The good news is their work lives on. The excellent news (tell the truth; you thought I was going to say REALLY good news ) is there are more great writers with a talent for telling a story and keeping it moving. Check out the work of James Patterson, Harlan Coben, F. Paul Wilson, Lee Child, and Nevada Barr. I have a lukewarm interest in the horror genre, but I consider Stephen King to be a master of the short and medium length novel. His short stories and novellas are even better – among the best I’ve ever read.

I don’t care how long or how short the story is as long as it keeps moving and it doesn’t make me want to jump off a building. I’ve read Dostoevsky, Richard Russo, Cormac McCarthy, and other authors in that vein. These are writers of immense talent, but I need a sunlamp and a bottle of Prozac to get through their work. Talk about dark.

Anyway, lean and muscular; that’s my two cents worth for today.

Advertisements