Writing and Architecture

Many years ago, when I began to write screenplays, I realized how precious little I knew about how the world works. I was reading the noir novels Raymond Chandler at that time. Chandler was a master at dressing his stories with what I judge to be the right amount of descriptive detail. He had the English taste for verbal economy. But he added to that a physicality he learned from his experience as a man of the world.

I had travelled some in my young life, lived in New York and California. But I hadn’t actually done much.  Most especially, I hadn’t built anything, and felt I needed to in order to write with authority.

My wife and I set our sites on building our own house, and in 1982 built a house in the hills of Vermont eleven miles northwest of Burlington. It was a simple house but a significant accomplish for the two of us. Since then, we’ve lived in two other houses, one in Ann Arbor and our current house in Seattle.  We made major improvements to both which we are quite proud of. The work isn’t master-level. But, with my naive optimism and her sense of designed, the work turned out well and added to the quality of our lives.

These experiences have helped me consider the world I place my characters in. I do not consider myself a great writer by any means, but I do write with enjoyment and consideration for the physical world of my stories.  In this effort, I’m trying to bring architectural elements into these tales from my travels as well as the various books and sites I study as part of the writing process.

The picture above is from a grand article about the remodel of Lakeview Airport in New Orleans.


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