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Carolyn Wells on How She Wrote Detective Stories

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  • miketooney49
    From The Forum, December 1917, My Types -- Carolyn Wells, by Pendennis: As to plots, I reserve those for
    Message 1 of 7 , Nov 3, 2012
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      From 'The Forum,' December 1917, " 'My Types' --
      Carolyn Wells," by Pendennis:

      <http://www.unz.org/Pub/Forum-1917dec-00701>

      "As to plots, I reserve those for my detective stories. I
      consider a good detective story as the most interesting
      form of writing. It usually makes an excellent movie also,
      so the revenue doubles itself. Yes, I do think of the
      revenue when I am writing. Every typewritten page
      represents so many dollars to me, and I never make a
      chapter over eleven typewritten pages, which is about
      three thousand words.

      "For the first time in my life a detective was pointed
      out to me the other day, and it made me shiver to look
      at him. In all my detective stories I have never drawn a
      detective from a real character. My acquaintance with
      criminals has been entirely neglected. I deal with murder
      because it is the most interesting form of crime. I never
      saw a murder committed, I never knew a murderer, and
      I do not take my plots from what I read in the news-
      papers. I do know, however, that there are three or four
      kinds of murder -- stabbing, strangling, poison, or the
      blackjack. I use these four degrees of murder in rotation
      for each of my detective stories. On the first page of my
      story I write murder, on my last page I tell how it was
      done. The design of a detective story is mystery. I love
      mystery, though I am by no means a mysterious woman.
      I have no patience with the occult, the psychic, the
      spiritualistic in detective stories. Zangwill said that the best
      detective story was one where the crime occurs in a sealed
      room, where no one could enter or leave. He wrote such a
      story and it was a great story. There are no types in my
      detective stories either. The job of writing a detective story
      is merely to sustain the mystery. Of course before I write
      the story I have hit upon a solution of the crime, which I try
      my utmost to hide from the reader."

      <http://gadetection.pbworks.com/w/page/7932443/Wells%2C%20Carolyn>
      <http://www.unz.org/Pub/WellsCarolyn-1913n06>
      <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0920132/>
      <http://www.unz.org/Author/WellsCarolyn?Col=-1>
    • curt evans
      I always figured she was three sheets to the wind when she wrote them. Curt From: miketooney49 Sent: Saturday, November 03, 2012 6:34 PM To:
      Message 2 of 7 , Nov 3, 2012
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        I always figured she was three sheets to the wind when she wrote them.

        Curt

        From: miketooney49
        Sent: Saturday, November 03, 2012 6:34 PM
        To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [GAdetection] Carolyn Wells on How She Wrote Detective Stories


        From 'The Forum,' December 1917, " 'My Types' --
        Carolyn Wells," by Pendennis:

        <http://www.unz.org/Pub/Forum-1917dec-00701>

        "As to plots, I reserve those for my detective stories. I
        consider a good detective story as the most interesting
        form of writing. It usually makes an excellent movie also,
        so the revenue doubles itself. Yes, I do think of the
        revenue when I am writing. Every typewritten page
        represents so many dollars to me, and I never make a
        chapter over eleven typewritten pages, which is about
        three thousand words.

        "For the first time in my life a detective was pointed
        out to me the other day, and it made me shiver to look
        at him. In all my detective stories I have never drawn a
        detective from a real character. My acquaintance with
        criminals has been entirely neglected. I deal with murder
        because it is the most interesting form of crime. I never
        saw a murder committed, I never knew a murderer, and
        I do not take my plots from what I read in the news-
        papers. I do know, however, that there are three or four
        kinds of murder -- stabbing, strangling, poison, or the
        blackjack. I use these four degrees of murder in rotation
        for each of my detective stories. On the first page of my
        story I write murder, on my last page I tell how it was
        done. The design of a detective story is mystery. I love
        mystery, though I am by no means a mysterious woman.
        I have no patience with the occult, the psychic, the
        spiritualistic in detective stories. Zangwill said that the best
        detective story was one where the crime occurs in a sealed
        room, where no one could enter or leave. He wrote such a
        story and it was a great story. There are no types in my
        detective stories either. The job of writing a detective story
        is merely to sustain the mystery. Of course before I write
        the story I have hit upon a solution of the crime, which I try
        my utmost to hide from the reader."

        <http://gadetection.pbworks.com/w/page/7932443/Wells%2C%20Carolyn>
        <http://www.unz.org/Pub/WellsCarolyn-1913n06>
        <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0920132/>
        <http://www.unz.org/Author/WellsCarolyn?Col=-1>





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • miketooney49
        Four sheets, Curt, four.
        Message 3 of 7 , Nov 4, 2012
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          Four sheets, Curt, four.

          ==========================

          --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "curt evans" <praed_street@...> wrote:
          >
          > I always figured she was three sheets to the wind when she wrote them.
          >
          > Curt
          >
          > From: miketooney49
          > Sent: Saturday, November 03, 2012 6:34 PM
          > To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: [GAdetection] Carolyn Wells on How She Wrote Detective Stories
          >
          >
          > From 'The Forum,' December 1917, " 'My Types' --
          > Carolyn Wells," by Pendennis:
          >
          > <http://www.unz.org/Pub/Forum-1917dec-00701>
          >
          > "As to plots, I reserve those for my detective stories. I
          > consider a good detective story as the most interesting
          > form of writing. It usually makes an excellent movie also,
          > so the revenue doubles itself. Yes, I do think of the
          > revenue when I am writing. Every typewritten page
          > represents so many dollars to me, and I never make a
          > chapter over eleven typewritten pages, which is about
          > three thousand words.
          >
          > "For the first time in my life a detective was pointed
          > out to me the other day, and it made me shiver to look
          > at him. In all my detective stories I have never drawn a
          > detective from a real character. My acquaintance with
          > criminals has been entirely neglected. I deal with murder
          > because it is the most interesting form of crime. I never
          > saw a murder committed, I never knew a murderer, and
          > I do not take my plots from what I read in the news-
          > papers. I do know, however, that there are three or four
          > kinds of murder -- stabbing, strangling, poison, or the
          > blackjack. I use these four degrees of murder in rotation
          > for each of my detective stories. On the first page of my
          > story I write murder, on my last page I tell how it was
          > done. The design of a detective story is mystery. I love
          > mystery, though I am by no means a mysterious woman.
          > I have no patience with the occult, the psychic, the
          > spiritualistic in detective stories. Zangwill said that the best
          > detective story was one where the crime occurs in a sealed
          > room, where no one could enter or leave. He wrote such a
          > story and it was a great story. There are no types in my
          > detective stories either. The job of writing a detective story
          > is merely to sustain the mystery. Of course before I write
          > the story I have hit upon a solution of the crime, which I try
          > my utmost to hide from the reader."
          >
          > <http://gadetection.pbworks.com/w/page/7932443/Wells%2C%20Carolyn>
          > <http://www.unz.org/Pub/WellsCarolyn-1913n06>
          > <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0920132/>
          > <http://www.unz.org/Author/WellsCarolyn?Col=-1>
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
        • prettysinister
          I do know, however, that there are three or four kinds of murder -- stabbing, strangling, poison, or the blackjack. I use these four degrees of murder in
          Message 4 of 7 , Nov 6, 2012
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            "I do know, however, that there are three or four
            kinds of murder -- stabbing, strangling, poison, or the
            blackjack. I use these four degrees of murder in rotation
            for each of my detective stories."

            What about guns, Carolyn? I guess ballistics was too complicated for her. But having a character jump out of a second story window at night into a rock filled bay and swimming to safety unscathed is not so complicated.

            John

            --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "miketooney49" <miketooney49@...> wrote:
            >
            > From 'The Forum,' December 1917, " 'My Types' --
            > Carolyn Wells," by Pendennis:
            >
            > <http://www.unz.org/Pub/Forum-1917dec-00701>
            >
            > "As to plots, I reserve those for my detective stories. I
            > consider a good detective story as the most interesting
            > form of writing. It usually makes an excellent movie also,
            > so the revenue doubles itself. Yes, I do think of the
            > revenue when I am writing. Every typewritten page
            > represents so many dollars to me, and I never make a
            > chapter over eleven typewritten pages, which is about
            > three thousand words.
            >
            > "For the first time in my life a detective was pointed
            > out to me the other day, and it made me shiver to look
            > at him. In all my detective stories I have never drawn a
            > detective from a real character. My acquaintance with
            > criminals has been entirely neglected. I deal with murder
            > because it is the most interesting form of crime. I never
            > saw a murder committed, I never knew a murderer, and
            > I do not take my plots from what I read in the news-
            > papers. I do know, however, that there are three or four
            > kinds of murder -- stabbing, strangling, poison, or the
            > blackjack. I use these four degrees of murder in rotation
            > for each of my detective stories. On the first page of my
            > story I write murder, on my last page I tell how it was
            > done. The design of a detective story is mystery. I love
            > mystery, though I am by no means a mysterious woman.
            > I have no patience with the occult, the psychic, the
            > spiritualistic in detective stories. Zangwill said that the best
            > detective story was one where the crime occurs in a sealed
            > room, where no one could enter or leave. He wrote such a
            > story and it was a great story. There are no types in my
            > detective stories either. The job of writing a detective story
            > is merely to sustain the mystery. Of course before I write
            > the story I have hit upon a solution of the crime, which I try
            > my utmost to hide from the reader."
            >
            > <http://gadetection.pbworks.com/w/page/7932443/Wells%2C%20Carolyn>
            > <http://www.unz.org/Pub/WellsCarolyn-1913n06>
            > <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0920132/>
            > <http://www.unz.org/Author/WellsCarolyn?Col=-1>
            >
          • Patrick O
            Of course it is; I manipulate the laws of physics every day at tea-time. I do like how the classic Wells-like solutions to impossible crimes are parodied by
            Message 5 of 7 , Nov 6, 2012
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              Of course it is; I manipulate the laws of physics every day at tea-time.


              I do like how the "classic" Wells-like solutions to impossible crimes are parodied by Derek Smith in WHISTLE UP THE DEVIL, where they regularly ignore the laws of probability and physics and the character proposing them always seems to consider it merely a minor obstacle.



              ________________________________
              From: prettysinister <bibliophile61@...>
              To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 10:30:51 AM
              Subject: [GAdetection] Re: Carolyn Wells on How She Wrote Detective Stories


               
              "I do know, however, that there are three or four
              kinds of murder -- stabbing, strangling, poison, or the
              blackjack. I use these four degrees of murder in rotation
              for each of my detective stories."

              What about guns, Carolyn? I guess ballistics was too complicated for her. But having a character jump out of a second story window at night into a rock filled bay and swimming to safety unscathed is not so complicated.

              John

              --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "miketooney49" <miketooney49@...> wrote:
              >
              > From 'The Forum,' December 1917, " 'My Types' --
              > Carolyn Wells," by Pendennis:
              >
              > <http://www.unz.org/Pub/Forum-1917dec-00701>
              >
              > "As to plots, I reserve those for my detective stories. I
              > consider a good detective story as the most interesting
              > form of writing. It usually makes an excellent movie also,
              > so the revenue doubles itself. Yes, I do think of the
              > revenue when I am writing. Every typewritten page
              > represents so many dollars to me, and I never make a
              > chapter over eleven typewritten pages, which is about
              > three thousand words.
              >
              > "For the first time in my life a detective was pointed
              > out to me the other day, and it made me shiver to look
              > at him. In all my detective stories I have never drawn a
              > detective from a real character. My acquaintance with
              > criminals has been entirely neglected. I deal with murder
              > because it is the most interesting form of crime. I never
              > saw a murder committed, I never knew a murderer, and
              > I do not take my plots from what I read in the news-
              > papers. I do know, however, that there are three or four
              > kinds of murder -- stabbing, strangling, poison, or the
              > blackjack. I use these four degrees of murder in rotation
              > for each of my detective stories. On the first page of my
              > story I write murder, on my last page I tell how it was
              > done. The design of a detective story is mystery. I love
              > mystery, though I am by no means a mysterious woman.
              > I have no patience with the occult, the psychic, the
              > spiritualistic in detective stories. Zangwill said that the best
              > detective story was one where the crime occurs in a sealed
              > room, where no one could enter or leave. He wrote such a
              > story and it was a great story. There are no types in my
              > detective stories either. The job of writing a detective story
              > is merely to sustain the mystery. Of course before I write
              > the story I have hit upon a solution of the crime, which I try
              > my utmost to hide from the reader."
              >
              > <http://gadetection.pbworks.com/w/page/7932443/Wells%2C%20Carolyn>
              > <http://www.unz.org/Pub/WellsCarolyn-1913n06>
              > <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0920132/>
              > <http://www.unz.org/Author/WellsCarolyn?Col=-1>
              >




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • curt evans
              Wells does try her utmost to hide the solution from the reader, sometimes not even providing the clues necessary to solve it! That is funny about the gun
              Message 6 of 7 , Nov 6, 2012
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                Wells does try her utmost to hide the solution from the reader, sometimes not even providing the clues necessary to solve it!

                That is funny about the gun business. I guess the blackjack is bludgeoning, but you might think a few people would get shot occasionally. Or how about pushed down stairs? That was one E. C. R. Lorac liked. How about explosions? Tampered cars? You want multiple murder methods, read John Street.

                Curt

                From: prettysinister
                Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2012 9:30 AM
                To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [GAdetection] Re: Carolyn Wells on How She Wrote Detective Stories


                "I do know, however, that there are three or four
                kinds of murder -- stabbing, strangling, poison, or the
                blackjack. I use these four degrees of murder in rotation
                for each of my detective stories."

                What about guns, Carolyn? I guess ballistics was too complicated for her. But having a character jump out of a second story window at night into a rock filled bay and swimming to safety unscathed is not so complicated.

                John

                --- In mailto:GAdetection%40yahoogroups.com, "miketooney49" <miketooney49@...> wrote:
                >
                > From 'The Forum,' December 1917, " 'My Types' --
                > Carolyn Wells," by Pendennis:
                >
                > <http://www.unz.org/Pub/Forum-1917dec-00701>
                >
                > "As to plots, I reserve those for my detective stories. I
                > consider a good detective story as the most interesting
                > form of writing. It usually makes an excellent movie also,
                > so the revenue doubles itself. Yes, I do think of the
                > revenue when I am writing. Every typewritten page
                > represents so many dollars to me, and I never make a
                > chapter over eleven typewritten pages, which is about
                > three thousand words.
                >
                > "For the first time in my life a detective was pointed
                > out to me the other day, and it made me shiver to look
                > at him. In all my detective stories I have never drawn a
                > detective from a real character. My acquaintance with
                > criminals has been entirely neglected. I deal with murder
                > because it is the most interesting form of crime. I never
                > saw a murder committed, I never knew a murderer, and
                > I do not take my plots from what I read in the news-
                > papers. I do know, however, that there are three or four
                > kinds of murder -- stabbing, strangling, poison, or the
                > blackjack. I use these four degrees of murder in rotation
                > for each of my detective stories. On the first page of my
                > story I write murder, on my last page I tell how it was
                > done. The design of a detective story is mystery. I love
                > mystery, though I am by no means a mysterious woman.
                > I have no patience with the occult, the psychic, the
                > spiritualistic in detective stories. Zangwill said that the best
                > detective story was one where the crime occurs in a sealed
                > room, where no one could enter or leave. He wrote such a
                > story and it was a great story. There are no types in my
                > detective stories either. The job of writing a detective story
                > is merely to sustain the mystery. Of course before I write
                > the story I have hit upon a solution of the crime, which I try
                > my utmost to hide from the reader."
                >
                > <http://gadetection.pbworks.com/w/page/7932443/Wells%2C%20Carolyn>
                > <http://www.unz.org/Pub/WellsCarolyn-1913n06>
                > <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0920132/>
                > <http://www.unz.org/Author/WellsCarolyn?Col=-1>
                >





                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Last century Detective
                  Curt said: Wells does try her utmost to hide the solution from the reader, sometimes not even providing the clues necessary to solve it! What dedication!
                Message 7 of 7 , Nov 6, 2012
                • 0 Attachment
                    Curt said: "Wells does try her utmost to hide the solution from the reader, sometimes not even providing the clues necessary to solve it!"


                  What dedication!


                  Curt said: "That is funny about the gun business. I guess the blackjack is
                  bludgeoning, but you might think a few people would get shot
                  occasionally. Or how about pushed down stairs? That was one E. C. R.
                  Lorac liked. How about explosions? Tampered cars? You want multiple
                  murder methods, read John Street."


                  And what
                  about drowning? It was the favorite modus operandi of Gladys Mitchell. 

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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