I’ve finished “The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett.
It’s a fast-moving, compelling, well-plotted book. The story pulls you from chapter to chapter and the twist and turns hold your interest. As I have read from various critics, Hammett does do a better job of plotting than Raymond Chandler (at least based on what I’ve read so far of the two authors), but I still prefer Chandler’s prose style. He is more poetic, more descriptive — his scenes come alive in a way Hammett never quite achieves. Neither writer really develops three-dimensional characters, but Chandler’s are less cardboard than Hammett’s, I think.
As for my own writing, I’m more than half-way through the second draft of my current story. Though, with a computer it seems silly to refer to anything as a second or third draft. It’s not like the old typer days when you would retype every word of every draft. Now it’s read and make changes as you go.
So far, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve written. I’ll get through this “second draft” and then give it a third read through and then have my wife play fiction editor.