The class’s perception of my short story writing was important to me. After all, it would be my first ever feedback on a short story I wrote. After sharing (twenty-odd years ago), one person commented that my writing sounded noire. The piece wasn’t in the noir genre, it only sounded noir, so the person said. Noir or noire is the French word for black. I was a bit confused. This was never my intention.
But I was complimented because I thought my work might have sounded like a thriller of the classic Film Noir. This, of course, is with the likes of cinema’s hard-boiled detective stories. But my story was not truly noir.
The perception that the story sounded noir is what mattered, as the writer is supposed to communicate to the reader something. The reader perceives what that is.
How I had failed as writer, then. Actually, being told that my writing sounded noire, took me off-guard. Yes, the noir or black tone might have been how I was feeling about an experience, which was kind of negative and dark. But I wasn’t thinking through how my writing would be perceived as noir. I wasn’t anticipating it would be seen as black or dark. The reader’s perception matters to a writer and shows me that what I write is always communicating. The medium is the message.
A powerful force arrested him
And pushed him down the alley
Where he heard a clown
I must have been so fooled by the sight
Like a vision made me see a whole other world, behind the wall
It blew my senses
Then, I was lost in my thoughts
Intrigue surrounded me
And I slowly felt my myself submitting to the sounds
Of my heart beating
To the rhythm of another unusual sight
Then, I saw this man standing there, this awkward looking guy
I kept going back to hear his ditty
It was kind of magnetizing me
I could not resist
He was so uncool
Then he showed me how cool he was, just for a moment
I was curious and wanted more.
I am his editor
What happens when a character has two motives? One innocent and the other deceitful? And towards the same person? Or different persons? If a double motive is directed towards one other character, I think this gives the writer a difficulty. Such as, who is this character? The writer will have to explain somehow why their character is ‘double-minded’ or complex or at least make it intriguing or interestingly mysterious.
If, from the same character, an innocent motive is directed towards one other and a deceitful motive is directed towards another, this is easier to write. It may mean that the character loves one and dislikes the other, as simple as that, or was complimented by one and offended by the other and drew a reaction to that.
But the character could only have a motive that is plain and simple evil, whose behavior depends on the situation, is outwardly innocent towards one, and aggressive towards another, but both times wants to hurt the others. Enough of evil. What of good motives? Yes, we need those; integrity.
Setting is very much important to what happens within the above parameters. If the setting is an office, the actions of the characters are more subtle rather than overt, for example. If the setting were a desert, a jungle, a village, and so on, all have different expectations. But if the story is a fantasy, more other worldly things are accepted.