The Dirty Noir aesthetic of Mike Monson #1-10 of 999

27 Jul

Okay, yes, I know this is total bullshit. Who am I to declare an aesthetic? I’ve only been writing for a year. I only have 17 stories published online and in print anthologies (mostly noir and very dirty), I have one book of these same stories (self-published, how lame is that?), my dirty noir novella isn’t even out yet (I know, 27,000 words? who am I kidding?), and, I’m barely into my first full-length novel. But, jeez, I just took a long, incredible walk in the hills above the ocean on the Big Island of Hawaii and I thought of all this shit and I feel like writing a blog and posting it because it is Saturday and I am unemployed and I want to post a blog, jeez, okay? Plus, hardly anyone looks at my website anyway (I know, I can see the stats). So fuck it, here goes.

1. If your main character is a screw-up, then really make him or her a total screw-up. Don’t mess around. Have he or she do really stupid things. Stupid things that create horrible trouble that just may end up in torture, then death, for themselves or some other person — hopefully an innocent person.

2. If you have characters that are promiscuous and non-discriminating in their sexual behaviors, then  go for it. Show them, using vivid detail, having sex all over the place that is compulsive, wrong, and completely not romantic.

3. When there is violence, when someone hurts or kills someone else, then freaking show it. Move in for a close-up. Take your time. Make the entire act as disgusting as real-life violence actually is. Make it so that the reader feels like he or she just happened upon something vicious and ugly and was forced to watch the entire thing and then feels sick afterwards.  Make them smell the blood and the piss and the shit.

4. If someone is religious then make them fake religious, you know? Make them the kind of people who are always talking about God and Jesus and Salvation and Heaven and Hell while at the same time lying and cheating and stealing and conning others, especially those closest to them, like their family. This will be true to life, which is good in a book of fiction.

5. Do not have anything magical or supernatural in the story or book. Everything must be something that is possible in real life. This is very important and check your work carefully to be sure it follows this guideline.

6. Have characters that are compulsive, i.e., people who just can’t control themselves from doing the most awful things due to said compulsions. (Sure, Mrs. Smith really wants to be on time to pick up her kid from daycare, but she just has to play online poker for just one more minute, in order to win back all the money in the family checking account she just lost–see what I mean?)

7. If someone has bad qualities, bad habits, bad characteristics — then make them really bad and freaking show it. Don’t be shy. Jeez. Show them doing horrific things, especially to the people who most love and trust them. This is especially true with parents–in dirty noir, parents almost always suck and they are always letting down their children by lying to them, using them to gain some kind of advantage, stealing from them, etc. Spouses, too: in dirty noir people are rarely faithful and/or are usually clueless when they are being cuckolded. Have fun with it.

8. Sex, again. Look, people have sex, all the time. If all the walls and the curtains in the world were suddenly removed and you could fly above any city in a helicopter, that is basically all you would see–people fucking and/or masturbating (or, thinking about having sex or masturbating, or, just having finished with a sexual act, or, about to engage in a sexual act). Some of it legitimate, marital, consensual, and lots of it immoral and even illegal. Knowing this fact, include it in your books and stories whenever possible. And, again, don’t be shy–show that shit as it really is, give details. Why the fuck not? It’s 2013 for Christ-sakes. But, be warned, no one will thank you for this. (I doubt anyone will thank me for this list.)

9. Oh, and crime, I almost forgot. A crime or crimes must be a central element of the main plot. No-brainer, right? Still, it needed to be said.  It’s good if the book is mostly about criminals doing crimes, but it is also nice to have regular civilians do crimes, even the worse kind of crimes, especially if it is related to one or another of their horrible compulsions.

10. Try to have all characters–even the most minor–be bad, awful, conniving, etc. in some way. In the world of dirty noir everyone is bad and everyone is out to get everyone else.  They just can’t help it. The world is dark, and it is very very dirty.

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