'In writing a novel, when in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns.'
- Raymond Chandler (birthday, July 23)
That's not a bad idea, really, and I can see how it worked in Chandler's writing. Thinking back over several of his stories, it's now clear where he got hung up on the plot.
There's a story about the making of the (original) movie of The Big Sleep, with Humphrey Bogart. About halfway through the film makers were confused about who had killed a certain character. They called Chandler to the set to explain the scene.
Chandler couldn't answer the question immediately, but went back home to pore over his notes and re-read the chapters in his own book. He returned to the movie set later to admit that he'd lost track of that character himself. The fictional murder of this minor character remains unsolved. About all we know is that it was two guys coming through the door with guns.