Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by SeedySider, Dec 27, 2005.
Concerning me, it could also mean Pathetic IQ
My guess would be that it refers to Inspector Tequila's destructive attitude in Hard Boiled (John Woo movie), but then again, I've never seen that movie...
Hard boiled usually denotes criminals, femme fatales (devious use of sexuality), gritty dirty settings, morally abiguous heroes, and a puzzle that is not so easy to solve. To sum it up: crime, without the sugar coating.
Hard-boiled is usually gritty, dirty and violent. There's sex, drugs, (no rock'n'roll usually) and it is usually set in the underworld.
Hardboiled is no Poirot or Sherlock Holmes story.
And remember [link=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardboiled]Wikipedia is your friend[/link] [link=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_investigator]Especially for generic stuff[/link]
How did I approach hard-boiled in the SW style? Well, I based it on Coruscant and it's not that hard to research what the underworld there is like, you need look no further than Vos Gesal Street
Of course there's also places like [link=http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/The_Wheel]the Wheel[/link], [link=http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Nar_Shaddaa] Nar Shaddaa[/link] [link=http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Ord_Mantell] Ord Mantell[/link] and [link=http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Kessel] Kessel[/link].
One thing though that hardboiled usually includes is law enforcement, even if the cops are complete dunderheads (and they should be, FTR ). This is where the Wookiee really takes off, you need to do your research!
The_Face, I read Galaxy Noir last night, and while it's good you couldn't call it hard-boiled. Hardboiled isn't epic or even heroic.
Take a look at the SEventh Star if you want a quick example of hardboiled, Jali's not a PI (yet!) but he's an ex-cop and he has a nose for trouble.
Ahh, hard-boiled P.I fiction.
"As soon as she walked into my office I could tell she was trouble."
It's an area you've gotta be careful with IMO. There's an enormous potential to take it into horribly cliched territory - see above quote for an example - and it can be hard to make your characters likeable. Maybe that's just me, however, because I work primarily through dialogue and the Hard Boiled P.I (HBPI?) is generally a loner who monologues to himself.
That said, I love this genre for its grittiness and fast-pace. I find typically that the story will have twists and turns that keep everything moving so fast that you forget to get bored. Keeping things a mystery from the reader is a hard line to walk, too. Most readers are savvy enough to know that the prime suspect is never the man who committed the crime, so you've gotta be very layered.
Hm, I agree that it isn't epic. But I think I'd have to take issue with the claim that it isn't heroic. They might not ride a white horse and kill hundreds of thousands of orcs, but generally they're trying to right wrongs. More importantly, they are nearly always (nearly always) trying to overcome personal demons during the course of the story. It doesn't matter if the story ends with them saving the day or being stabbed in the back, if they overcome their own demons then the story is heroic.
I might not be making that point very well. I'll try and find an example to illustrate it and be back
I was going through my stories to see what does and does not make them hard boiled fiction. While they aren't epic and deal with detectives who enforce the law in very unorthodox ways, they also involve quite a bit of procedure and a strong subtext of trust and family. Not to mention some humour. These things are not native to the hard boiled sub-genre. Like I said earlier, the HBPI is generally a loner and can trust no-one.
Anyway, just some thoughts. Great to have the Seedy Side back to its old seedy self again
I agree there are degrees of being heroic, what I meant was there was less likely to be a degree of altruism, say with a Jedi for example.
You do have to watch out for cliche's though, it's such an easy trap to fall into.
There are some cliches that you can get away with though.
The detective being kidnapped (happened more than once to Marlow IIRC)
The drugged-up or drunk female giving the detective evidence and later being found dead in her bed.
The police basically telling him to 'clear off'
And there are bars, and cafes
Ah, but those of us who lean towards comedy can use those cliches for wonderful effect. Dramatic writers have a much harder time using them, but it can be done. As they say, "A classic is a well-done cliche."
Well, actually, I don't know if anyone says that. But it sounds great, don't it?
Heck, I'm on board with that
Ahhh yeah I get you, sorry about that. I've been writing detective fics for so long I forgot all about the kind of clear cut heroism in Jedi fics Agreed, altruism isn't such a priority to the death-stick smoking PI with burned-out morals. Unless of course there's something in it for them that isn't immediately obvious.
And regarding cliches, there's definitely some that you can get away with for sure. Alot of them are integral parts of the stories, and so transcend their cliche roots. All the ones you mentioned are examples of that. I think you mentioned earlier that law enforcement should be portrayed as bumbling and inept - that's another one that's not only accepted but expected. There's a plethora of others, too. The protagonist almost always has nothing to lose or loses everything during the course of the narrative. There are people they'll mistake for allies that turn out to be double-agents. Not cliches but hallmarks of the genre
The problem is that you don't want to write them with a hu8ge holobanner on them tjat states they are a cliche-style character.
Like the [link=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Femme_fatale]femme fatale[/link] who usually turns out to be deceptive.
It's actually quite strange, but a lot of the elements of hardboiled that I put into my fic happened before I did some actual research on it.
I have to confess though that I never finished Farewell My Lovely, it was an optional text when I did first year English and I chose to do Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? instead.
More on topic, what about a villian in a hardboiled. Normally there's more than one that fits the criteria but THE villian? Remember, being the villian doesn't automatically make you vader.
Katana, used to be a huge Noir fan back in the day and still have a 60+ video collection.
And that includes Murder, my Sweet?
Oh yes, and many others. There are a couple of more that Dick Powell starred in after his song and dance career wained. He is good in both genres.
Wish i had the time to watch more of these...
Could compile a list of hardboiled cliches? This would probably be a good resource for anyone seeking to write one.
The detective being kidnapped
The drugged-up or drunk female giving the detective evidence and later being found dead in her bed.
The police basically telling him to 'clear off'
An interrogation, usually quite aggressive
Paid 'informers' who exist to give others information
It's weird that this topic pops up just after I finished reading The Big Sleep, watching it for the nth time, and starting to read L.A. Confidential after watching it for the nth time.
I love hard-boiled noir type fiction because I love Humphrey Bogart.
Re: the heroic stuff - I do think you'll find heroic acts in hard-boiled fiction, but 1) they may not always come from the main characters; 2) they're offset by dirty acts.
1) "Double Indemnity" - to me there's only one person who commits truly good acts, and that's Edward G. Robinson as Fred MacMurray's boss. You don't see him a lot, but MacMurray's monologue throughout the film is a confession to Robinson, and I think that's significant.
2) In "L.A. Confidential", Officer Bud White has a thing for helping abused women. So that makes him a very heroic guy. But at the same time he's a very violent man who often doesn't give a second thought to beating a suspect into submission. Ed Exley wants to help people and make a difference, but he's so stuck on following the rules that he'll step all over people.
Throw this stuff into Star Wars, and you most likely won't get a Jedi unless it's someone like Mace Windu who walks on the darker side of life. You're more likely to get a pre-Rebellion Han Solo, or a Lando, or bounty hunters. But you can also have people who work within the system - doesn't always have to be the P.I. sort. For instance, a Rebel officer has a soft spot for a woman who turns out to be an Imperial informant. Or an Imperial investigator looking into the death of a local gangster with ties to the government.
To me the important thing to remember is that the heroes aren't going to be saints. They'll have some very hard edges. And the villains, as someone said before, aren't going to be Vader. They'll kill and manipulate others to get their hands on power, drugs, or a statue of a bird, and they may not have an redeeming qualities, but they still won't be evil incarnate.
And that's my schpiel for tonight.
There's people like Quinlan Vos
Has anyone here seen the BBC series Life on Mars? DCI Gene Hunt and his department (save for Sam Tyler, of course) make a perfect bunch of hard-boiled Is (without the "P" in "PI"...^^ ), especially when it comes to the "aggressive interrogations", hehehe...
Ah, just to clarify re: heroism.
Usually a main character are morally upright. Men of honour in a den of thieves, as they say. They'll be fighting against corrupt cops to claim a lover, or clear their name, or catch the man that ruined their life, or solve a muder, or something. There are many exceptions though, granted. Double Indemnity is probably one. But in all of the works that Phillip Marlowe is features, he is a morally upright man. He commits some devious acts to get his job done, but he certainly has the moral high ground.
I guess 'the greater good' comes into it. A lead character can commit heinous acts of violence and as long as it was done for the greater good I'll still consider them heroic. Ed Exley is definitely heroic IMO. So my definition of heroic is set at a very low standard for hard-boiled types
(Anyone ever played the computer game Max Payne? There's a hard boiled guy if ever I saw one.)
So, bundle this into the GFFA. I've mentioned before that in all of Profic, there isn't anything like this. Every character - bounty hunters, detectives, what have you - in profic will always be ostensibly aligned with good or evil. Jabba: Evil. Karrde: Good. Niles Ferrier: Evil. Booster Terrik: Good. This is where hardboiled fanfic (and seedy fics in general) are spectacular, because they dont have to worry about picking sides in a galactic war. In fact if they stayed true to form, they would take another sip of Corellian Whiskey and ignore galactic politics
I think the best example I've seen is outside the GFFA (sorry folks). Vick Mackey on the t.v. show The Shield. Fans tend to approve of his evil ways because he is doing good - despite the heinous acts he's commited - but in the end they hope he is able to redeem himself, which is really what he's fighting for.
*thread hijacking over*
Heheh, I think we're all big fans of extra-GFFA examples here Ale And though I've never seen the shield, it sounds like exactly the kind of thing I imagine from a hard boiled cop. Sometimes, the bad guy really doesn't deserve to live
Generally speaking I love it when good guys go bad
(P.S - I owe the Devine Miss L a bunch of coveted LP Points?* for her awesome rhyming skyllz earlier Take a grand 20 of them, MsLanna )
*Points only redeemable in a galaxy far, far away. They expired a long time ago.
I've got seven, na d I found out they were only good for a beer cozy that reads: "Vader is NOT my dady"
(yes folks, daddy was mispelled and everything)
I guess 'split like a banana' wasn't as poetic as I thought.
I got LP Points?!
Forget cliche's, that was a duymb idea anyway.
I've been doing a little reading prior to my second hardboiled fic and I've come up with a little list that defines the hardboiled story.
Hardboiled, as has already been said, is rough and gritty. The detective (be it polic or non-polic) is usually a flawed character, who may or may not drink/smoke/use drugs etc. He isn't evil, he isn't necessarily good either. Kinda like Cade Skywalker in Legacy
Hardboiled usually involves the underworld of society (the seedy side ). Bars, backrooms to exchange information, slums and occiasionally brothels. Character like hitmen, informers, prostitutes, dealers (weapons and drugs) and black marketeers.
Hardboiled is usually violent, but only occassionaly bloody and horrific. What I found about hardboiled that the threat of violence (such as a gun pointed at a vital part of the anatomy) works much better than the actual violence.
Hardboiled is quite similar to it's cousin Noir fiction but Noir is usually a bit more seedy.
There are also things that aren't hardboiled:
Crime Scene Investigation and forensics. To some extent tghese cnan be included, but remember they were invented pretty much after the hardboiled was in it's prime. Include them if you must, but they can't form the crux of cracking the mystery.
Going undercover. Again, if you must, but this isn't really hardboiled. More a spy story or police drama. This can also include following a car through a tracing system or putting a wire/tracer on a person/object when they go into a hostile area.
And I'm a little iffy about Jedi, as most Jedi have rather altruistic outlook, though there are exceptions. And of course, Obi-Wan does a detective-style investigation in AOTC.
*Zaps two wires together* UP thread! UP, damn you!
Nice list Katana_Geldar - though I think I might have to challenge one thing there. Your point about going undercover I get - it's more for the police procedural drama and such. But there are plenty of examples of hardboiled cops that go undercover or infiltrate a group to play both sides against the other.
Most recent example - I just watched the modern revamped highscool noir/drama/comedy/detective story 'Brick'. The lead character ingratiates himself with the primary bad guy, who in turn has a rivalry with his own second in command. He winds up embroiled in murder and drug trafficking and eventually winds up resolving the issue by playing both sides into an inescapable confrontation. I think alot of loner hardboiled cops wind up taking this route - going undercover into the bad guy's gang but working for themselves the whole time.
I have another thing to add, too. On the subject of violence, your hardboiled cop will often take alot of damage. By the end of the story he's often covered in bandages/limping/spluttering, whatever. Being knocked unconscious seems to pop up often. But it's the hallmark of a hardboiled cop that he'll only just win his fights by the skin of his teeth. And that's if he wins at all.
Or so my observational skills provide at this late hour
PS - Goooo Seedy Side