Daily Rituals of Writers: Raymond Chandler

atkins-bookshelf-literatureEvery writer has his or her own ritual to getting in the zone to write fluidly whether in short bursts or marathon sessions. Legendary detective fiction writer and screenwriter Raymond Chandler — best known for The Big Sleep (1939) Farewell, My Lovely (1940), The Long Goodbye (1953) — wrote best when he was drunk.

In the mid 1940s, Paramount hired Chandler to write a rush script based on his half-finished novel, The Blue Dahlia. Due to the short time-frame, the studio began shooting with a partial script, but soon the filming caught up to the script. The producer of the film, John Houseman, met with Chandler to find out how to motivate him to finish the script as quickly as possible. Chandler explained that he wrote faster when he was drunk. Consequently, he presented a list of his requirements: (1) two limos with drivers available 24×7 to deliver script pages to the studio, get a doctor, and a maid who could buy him alcohol; (2) secretaries to take dictation; and (3) a direct line to the producer. Houseman agreed to the terms, and over the next eight days, a very inebriated Chandler cranked out the rest of the script. The typical cycle was that Chandler would drink, pass out, write, drink some more and pass out; twice a day a doctor would inject him with vitamins and hook him up to a glucose intravenous drip. After he completed the project, it took Chandler a month of bed rest to recover.

Read related posts: Daily Rituals of Writers: Truman Capote
Daily Rituals of Writers: William Faulkner
Daily Rituals of Writers: Isaac Asimov

What Would Famous Authors Order at Starbucks
The Daily Word Quotas of Famous Authors
Random Fascinating Facts About Authors
Words Invented by Famous Authors
Word Related to Drinking

Hair of the Dog
There’s A Word for That: Potvaliant
Three Sheets to the Wind

For further reading: Writers Gone Wild by Bill Peschel (2010)

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