Louis L’Amour wasn’t an influence on my fiction stylistically, or how I wanted to approach it, but he was certainly a force to be reckoned with. His appeal was broad. He attracted male and female readers, and understood action, romance, as well as simple, evocative prose. He had plenty of writing experience before he embraced westerns full time. He had written all manner of stories and had many personal experiences he brought to the work, which made it stand out as more than the usual powder burners. Elmer Kelton — and I quote from memory, not by having the quote in front of me — said something to the effect that L’Amour’s characters were 7 feet tall and invincible, while his were 5-foot-8 and nervous. L’Amour gave readers characters bigger than life, archetypes of both men and women that were similar to real people but, like John Wayne, were somehow bigger than life. Nobody did that kind of thing better in modern popular fiction.

Joe R. Lansdale
Louis L’Amour’s Influence

I love reading novellas

June 18, 2019

The novella is probably my favourite length. That or what used to be called a novelette, a term you don’t see much anymore. But it was usually measured at about 10,000 words. In fact, my first fiction was for Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, and it was given that label. It gives me room to spread and tell a good story without having to write something that would be too long, too much information for a tale that’s better told at novella length. It’s a very natural length for me and I don’t pad anyway, so it’s good when I have a story I can tell and tell to its fullest, but yet, can finish it up with less time invested for a novel. I love reading novellas, and I love writing them…

Joe R Lansdale
Interview with Maggie Slater
Apex magazine 7th May 2013

…it’s harder to make a real living as a writer, though to tell the truth, a lot of people making a living as a writer didn’t really start until the 1980s. I think we’re having to some extent a self–correction. It was never meant to have this vast readership for all authors, and the money that was there in the eighties, and somewhat in the 90s, just isn’t there anymore, at least not for as many authors as it once was. I think I’ve survived because I always wrote and loved to write a variety of types of fiction, non–fiction, screenplays, short stories, essays, comics, etc. When one thing faltered, I had another place to go to, and it was always a place I wanted to go. I also edited anthologies from time to time, and taught at the University here, but believe me, that was more for the joy of it than the money.  I’ve always written for me and then hoped someone would love it. Somehow, the money has always shown up and I’m still writing and feel I’m better now than ever. But, I got my foot in the door in the seventies, so maybe it was easier, but I remember people saying, well, it’s too hard now, back in the old days they had all those pulp magazines, and then in the fifties and sixties it was easier because of all those digest magazines and all the book publishers. All true, but it always changes, and there are more markets than people think. What amazes me is how poorly people who claim they want to write often investigate the markets. They have the internet, which actually makes it easier to find markets than in the old days. I wrote for very cheap markets when I started, even some for copies. And that’s another thing, no one wants to start at the bottom anymore. They don’t have the patience to deal with editors, chasing agents, so they just self–publish. I think that’s valid, but it seems to be what so many writers think of as the quickie way out. It’s better to be vetted by the market if that’s possible. You have a book you love, can’t get it published,  sure go the self–publish route,  but there’s a good chance that will only be marginally better than the “traditional” route. You still have to sell the books. Ebooks, it’s the same. I think they have opened up a whole new world for writers, but they are not a magic answer. Nothing is other than hard work.

Joe R Lansdale
Interview with Maggie Slater
Apex magazine 7th May 2013

The business (of writing)

December 14, 2017

Asger Jorn - The suicide of Mr H

The novella is probably my favourite length. That or what used to be called a novelette, a term you don’t see much anymore. But it was usually measured at about 10,000 words. In fact, my first fiction was for Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, and it was given that label. It gives me room to spread and tell a good story without having to write something that would be too long, too much information for a tale that’s better told at novella length. It’s a very natural length for me and I don’t pad anyway, so it’s good when I have a story I can tell and tell to its fullest, but yet, can finish it up with less time invested for a novel. I love reading novellas, and I love writing them…

The business (of writing) is always the hardest business in the world anytime you start. For a while, I thought this was the worst time, but actually, a lot of new markets are opening up all the time. The problem is it’s harder to make a real living as a writer, though to tell the truth, a lot of people making a living as a writer didn’t really start until the 1980s. I think we’re having to some extent a self–correction. It was never meant to have this vast readership for all authors, and the money that was there in the eighties, and somewhat in the 90s, just isn’t there anymore, at least not for as many authors as it once was. I think I’ve survived because I always wrote and loved to write a variety of types of fiction, non–fiction, screenplays, short stories, essays, comics, etc. When one thing faltered I had another place to go to, and it was always a place I wanted to go. I also edited anthologies from time to time, and taught at the University here, but believe me, that was more for the joy of it than the money. I’ve always written for me and then hoped someone would love it. Somehow, the money has always shown up and I’m still writing and feel I’m better now than ever. But, I got my foot in the door in the seventies, so maybe it was easier, but I remember people saying, well, it’s too hard now, back in the old days they had all those pulp magazines, and then in the fifties and sixties it was easier because of all those digest magazines and all the book publishers. All true, but it always changes, and there are more markets than people think. What amazes me is how poorly people who claim they want to write often investigate the markets. They have the internet, which actually makes it easier to find markets than in the old days. I wrote for very cheap markets when I started, even some for copies. And that’s another thing, no one wants to start at the bottom anymore. They don’t have the patience to deal with editors, chasing agents, so they just self–publish. I think that’s valid, but it seems to be what so many writers think of as the quickie way out. It’s better to be vetted by the market if that’s possible. You have a book you love, can’t get it published, sure go the self–publish route, but there’s a good chance that will only be marginally better than the “traditional” route. You still have to sell the books. EBooks, it’s the same. I think they have opened up a whole new world for writers, but they are not a magic answer. Nothing is other than hard work.

Joe R. Lansdale
Interview in Apex Magazine May 7, 2013

the darkness between…

October 10, 2016

mirror

Lying in bed later that night I held up my hand and found that what intrigued me most were not the fingers, but the darkness between them. It was a thin darkness, made weak by light, but it was darkness and it seemed more a part of me than the flesh.

Joe R Lansdale
The Shadows, Kith and Kin