My new book, Something More Than Night, makes extensive use of the vocabulary and tropes of the old pulp noir detective stories of the 1930s-1950s. One character in particular embraces this persona with gusto: Bayliss speaks like no other character in the story.
It was a fun writing challenge to set for myself. It was also a hell of a lot of work.
By the time my preparations were complete, I had assembled an 80 page slang glossary containing over 750 entries, each with its own contextual example and bibliographic reference.
Now that the book is out (hooray!) I’m posting the glossary online.
It’s a long document, so it has its own special page: A Hardboiled Slang Glossary For Something More Than Night.
I tried to give a thorough introduction to the glossary in order to explain why it was necessary to compile the document, why it’s organized the way it is, and why I think it complements other such resources.
Because the HTML was converted (painfully) from a Microsoft Word document, I’m sure formatting errors have crept through. If you note a formatting error, please note it in the comments here and I’ll try to fix it. And if you find an alternative definition (many of these are speculative, based on context, as explained on the glossary page), feel free to post that in the comments, too.
I should mention that the glossary is not at all necessary for understanding the book or its shop-soiled shamus, Bayliss. I strove to make Bayliss’s meaning clear even when his particular choice of words could sometimes be opaque or obscure. (Which was my own experience when reading the works of the great noir masters like Hammett and Chandler!) I’m posting it online simply because it’s fun, and because I hope readers will enjoy it.
Think of the glossary as a DVD Extra for Something More Than Night.
7 thoughts on “A Glossary of Hardboiled Slang for Something More Than Night”
Eee! I was hoping you’d release this. I keep similar glossaries/lists for my own WIPs, so always glad to hear when someone else is as nerdy as me.
Oh, totes nerdy, have no doubt. I sort of got obsessed after a while, but even now there’s so many references that I _haven’t_ combed for vocabulary. There are a number of things from _The Simple Art of Murder_ that I never got around to entering in the glossary because I sort of burned out after a while. (It’s a metric crapload of work, I realized very belatedly…)
Very cool! I definitely will be reading through that. I’m in Vegas this weekend and page 209 of SMTN.
Wee! Look what showed up in my Facebook feed:
Wow! Thanks, dude! Long time no see. I hope life and writing are treating you well.
Very well! Busy, busy, but I’m sure you are, too! I’ve got “Something More Than Night” (in hardback, ooo, ahh!) on my bedside table to read in a spare minute when I’m not being lawyer/mother/writer/wife/housekeeper . . . hmm, guess I’m going to have to make some time because “spare time” is just never going to happen! Hope you had a good Christmas and New Year!
I’m delighted to hear that life is treating you so well! It’s not surprising that you’re super busy, but when has that ever not been the case? Certainly not in the almost 11 years that I’ve known you.
And, golly, how kind of you to pick up my book — I sincerely hope it proves worthy of the time you’ll have to carve out of lawerying/parenting/writering!