Tuesday, September 07, 2004

I crave your distinguished indulgence (and all your cash)

Question: What kind of writing pays best?
Answer: Ransom notes.

I first heard that joke in the movie Get Shorty and have always attributed it to Elmore Leonard. It presents some perspective on the art of writing and how we get paid for it. As I was researching Nigerian 419 scams to explain something to my bride, I came across a delicious article by Douglas Cruickshank, editor of Salon.com People. In this web article he examines the spare beauty of the letters he has received from scammers in Nigeria. He delights in the creativity of the authors whilst entirely separating himself from their crimes. His thoughts on these letters might just change your mind about what kind of writing pays best.

qv: Salon.com


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