I had never read Van Dine`s rules before. Thanks for the contribution! www.openculture.com/2016/02/20-rules-for-writing-detective-stories.html And no one said that it was impossible to ignore these rules, quite the contrary. A sufficiently skilled writer could probably produce a story that uses the servant as a murderer in an original and engaging way. But such a writer probably does not need Van Dine`s advice, unlike young authors of detective novels, who might be prone to these clichés and tropes, do. As I have no experience writing Van Dine, I agree with you regarding his eccentricity and wish you good luck in your search for these films. The article is about how Van Dine wrote in the 1920s, so yes, these rules probably belong to another era. Nevertheless, he was right. The servant/household, etc. is the prime suspect because they probably have a key to the victim`s house and no alibi (means and opportunity) and many fictitious murder victims have been killed by a disgruntled employee. Van Dine simply points out that it is artistically bankrupt to use the servant as a murderer, a cliché. He doesn`t necessarily refer to Diener as not worth it, he says they are not valid suspects in a detective story due to the excessive use of the trope. You may also be interested in a discussion we had on this topic in May 2006, in this post: petrona.typepad.com/petrona/2006/05/rules_for_detec.html and a previous linked in this post. Infinitely exciting subject! I imagine you are making fun of some of them.
Number five, of course, is obviously outdated, an artifact of the prejudices and stereotypes of Knox`s time. The rule about sidekick intelligence is irrelevant and funny, as detective fiction rarely contains sidekicks. Most new books also don`t have secret passages, so limiting the number isn`t a problem. And in the rare book she has, the author could legitimately use more than one. I recently enjoyed M.L. Eaton`s When the Clocks Stopped, a well-done book that breaks both this rule and the supernatural rule. Historically, the Romney Marsh area of England, where the story takes place, had many smugglers and secret passages, and this aspect of the past appears when a village seems haunted. This novel also breaks one of Van Dine`s rules – there just has to be a corpse – and offers a lot of mystery without one. Involved.
Rules are made to be broken, aren`t they? Which of Van Dine`s rules would you break and which one would you follow? Let us know below or on Twitter @thethreadmpr. Hi Mack, I also took a look at your blogs. It was fun to go through the rules. As I said somewhere – I don`t remember where, too early and too little coffee, crime was almost like a game or a sport, with rules. Nowadays, everything goes within the limits of credibility. I see, according to Van Dine`s rules, that the poor detective must be single. Did he start a new genre – monk as a thriller? I see that he didn`t ban secret and Chinese passages like Ronald Knox in his no-nos list *That sounds pretty interesting. I`m vaguely tempted to write an Oulipo-style story that chastely follows each of these rules, but contains no crime or discoveries.
In 1928, Van Dine established a set of 20 rules, saying: “There are very specific laws for writing detective stories – perhaps unwritten, but nevertheless binding; And every respectable and self-respecting mixture of literary mysteries does them justice. Van Dine`s rules are fully available in Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories. The following are 10 to give you a test of his theory. These “rules” certainly come from another era. A servant cannot be the culprit, only a “worthwhile person.” And apparently, servants “are generally suspected.” How funny. CRIME NOVELIST S.S. Van Dine has developed a list of 20 rules for writing detective stories. Whether in observance or deliberate disregard, the rules, first published in 1928, provide an interesting reflection on the work of Dr.
John H. Watson and other police chroniclers. Despite all this, Vance`s exploits continue to inspire in print media and Sirius XM`s Radio Classics channel. Van Dine`s 20 rules are also entertaining [abbreviated here with some of your own comments]. See goo.gl/SEHJAn for Van Dine`s full essay. Some of these rules have regularly been broken by better writers than Van Dine, but that`s the danger of creating rules for creative endeavors. Interesting article Kerrie. I added it to my blogcapturescrime.blogspot.com/2008/10/more-rules-for-writing-detective.htmlI to read the precursors of crime novels that we now enjoy. I wonder if there are modern rules for writing detective novels.
Over the years, the rules and conventions of the mystery genre have changed and continue to evolve. While questioning some of the current conventions, I looked at some old ones: the “Ten Commandments” of detective literature, established by Ronald Knox in 1929, and the Twenty Rules for Writing Crime Stories, which S.S. Van Dine published in American Magazine in September 1928. Van Dine`s list is long, so I placed it at the end of this article. Here are Knox`s commandments: Nice firm rules, but I completely agree with all the exceptions you have made here! Maxine is right – an endless discussion. The reason I added the James link to my article is because I think it redefines the list, but I actually think the genre they talked about 80 years ago has evolved from what it was, and focusing on whydunnit instead of whodunnit would lead to a very different set of rules. But I hate books where the reader doesn`t have a fair chance to solve the mystery because they`re not informed. Also interesting are those where the reader knows more than the detective.
Van Dine admits that this No. 20 catch-all is to “give my creed an equal rating of articles.” It is also a tribute to the columnists who preceded him, including a certain doctor who occasionally lived at 221 B Baker Street. ds 7) It must be a thriller (“the more dead the corpse, the better”). Good thoughts! On point #7, a few examples come to mind: the Italian work and Ocean`s 11, 12, etc., where the secret is how someone carried out a seemingly impossible heist, which is actually very convincing. 9. There should only be one detective. [Fortunately, side kicks are not ruled out. wp.me/p2ETap-15x.] 5. The culprit must be found by logic, not by unmotivated confession. 15) The truth of the solution must be obvious. The reader should be able to select the book at the end and see that the answer was staring at them all the time. H.P.
Lovecraft gives five tips for writing a horror story or a piece of “strange fiction”13. No secret societies. [No Scowers/Molly Maguires? wp.me/p2ETap-1v3.] 17. A professional criminal is never to blame. Accept. That`s the beauty of writing novels. A writer can create any type of story he wants. Van Dine wrote detective novels during the golden age of detective literature – the 1920s and 30s. This era produced big names such as Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Dorothy Sayers, Dashiell Hammett and others.