by R.T. Lawton
It's getting late.
While there are all types of published writers out there, some literary, some commercial, some humorous, some serious, I have always considered myself to be like the guy relating stories to friends in a bar. We all relax, have a few drinks, and tales get told around the table. Not much literary about it, just common everyday folk getting together for a good time. Some tales are funny, some are sad, most are stories of people, life and just plain living, but in the end they seem to be entertaining to the listeners. Maybe even to folks we don't know who are sitting at nearby tables and listening in to what we say. Anyway, that's how I've tried to approach my story writing and my blogs.
My characters have mostly been drawn from people I've worked on or somehow met on the streets. A few are good guys, but most had at least one foot standing in the criminal element while they rationalized their actions. Don't know if they did the rationalizing in an attempt to convince others they were in the right to do what they did, or to convince themselves they had justification, or both. Personally, my vote would fall on the both category. And then, I also had relatives, friends and neighbors who unknowingly contributed phrases or gestures which helped tag a story character. Some of the latter group would not recognize themselves on the printed page even if the phrase or gesture was pointed out to them in the story.
Because of dealing with street thugs, con men, gangsters, dopers, crooked cops, outrageous lawyers, politics and the flashy adrenaline fueled side of life, most of my stories dealt with criminals as the protagonist. And while my main character may have been a bad guy, he was more likable than the antagonist and generally had some redeeming values. You could say it was our bad guy preying on worse bad guys who deserved what they got. Naturally, all of them could rationalize their actions.
My blogs have covered a wide range of storytelling in this SleuthSayers bar of ours. Past articles have covered stories from the street; topics on writing, getting published and writers conferences; backgrounds on various criminals; and trade craft on surveillance, undercover, raids, firearms and working informants. A couple of times I even ventured into the criminal backgrounds of popular songs from the past.
It's been a good run, but now it's last call and time for me to leave the bar.
I have truly enjoyed your company, everyone of you, whether you came on four years ago when our bar first opened or entered later on and took a seat at the table. This has been a fun, friendly get-together.
Take care and be safe.