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 Post subject: The Rum Diary Question #28 ~ Getting TRD Published
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 1:36 pm 
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Basically Hunter spent 12 years rewriting TRD, or what he referred to as “The Great Puerto Rican Novel”, and sending it off. He got in a dispute with Random House and it sat on the shelf for many years. Here is some of the criticism editors gave him and reports on his progress with the book:


To William Kennedy:

August 20, 1961
Big Sur

…I haven’t read To Kill a Mockingbird. Is it worth $21/2 million? Somehow, the title don’t move me. I like something like “The Rum Diary.” Now there’s a title, by god. Book-of-the-Month-Club? Hell yes. Movie? NO doubt. A book like that could make a man rich…
Okay,
Hunter


From Proud Highway: Still in pursuit of the right agent, Thompson retained a woman named Donadio. She thought Thompson’s characters in TRD were “hard and bitter” and the agency did not take Hunter as a client. His response to her criticism.

“You say, “The novel is made of hard and bitter characters, and that’s all right and workable, providing there is enough distinction in the means of telling the bitter and hard story.”

Bittahly,
Hunter S. Thompson


Another letter to Kennedy after continually having TRD rejected.

August 15, 1963
Aspen, Colorado

“Dennis Murphy read my book (“The Rum Diary”) and came to about the same conclusions you did, but not quite so final. After a bit of talk and thought I have decided to rewrite it for plot and action, separating the characters and trying to give them some meaning. If it goes slow, I’ll quit. If not, and if I enjoy the work, I’ll push on through. The title alone will sell 5,000 copies if I can just convince some bastard to publish it...”


Of course the book we have now has been rewritten and reworked many times since Hunter first submitted for publication. What do you think of this criticism? Did you find the characters "hard and bitter"? Why do you think it wasn't published earlier?



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 Post subject: Re: The Rum Diary Question #29 ~ Getting TRD Published
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 1:46 pm 
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Eventually Hunter became famous and his work became valuable because he had a name. He was marketable.

I did think the characters were hard and bitter, or at least crude, most of them. But the setting and the story he wanted to tell required that.


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 Post subject: Re: The Rum Diary Question #29 ~ Getting TRD Published
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 2:49 pm 
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Boy, if the characters were hard and bitter after the rewrites, I wonder what they were like in the original drafts.

There is a certain irony, isn't there, that HST separated the characters in a rewrite, and now we hear that some are being combined for the movie. :eyebrow:


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 Post subject: Re: The Rum Diary Question #29 ~ Getting TRD Published
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 3:28 pm 
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fansmom wrote:
There is a certain irony, isn't there, that HST separated the characters in a rewrite, and now we hear that some are being combined for the movie. :eyebrow:

:-O I wonder what he meant specifically by that.



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 Post subject: Re: The Rum Diary Question #29 ~ Getting TRD Published
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 5:26 pm 
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It's hard to imagine combining Moberg with anyone! :lol:



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 Post subject: Re: The Rum Diary Question #29 ~ Getting TRD Published
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 10:35 pm 
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I don't know, Moberg and Zimburger were sort of on the same page. I hope I remember the names correctly :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: The Rum Diary Question #29 ~ Getting TRD Published
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 11:36 pm 
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Liz wrote:
fansmom wrote:
There is a certain irony, isn't there, that HST separated the characters in a rewrite, and now we hear that some are being combined for the movie. :eyebrow:

:-O I wonder what he meant specifically by that.


Quote:
separating the characters and trying to give them some meaning.

Yeah I agree Liz, I wonder what he meant by that? It makes me think of his remark in the Charlie Rose interview where he tells of trying to combine the two characters and finding it was more difficult than one would think. Maybe his critics didn't agree with what he was doing and asked that he define them more as individuals.
Yes, there is irony in that fansmom. Even more when he was combining
different characters than the screenwriter is combining. (or eliminating).

Nebraska says the characters were hard and bitter. I think I agree and even more so back when he first started pushing the book. Now hard and bitter doesn't seem so unusual for todays characters. He was ahead of his time. :lol:



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 Post subject: Re: The Rum Diary Question #29 ~ Getting TRD Published
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 2:00 pm 
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nebraska wrote:
Eventually Hunter became famous and his work became valuable because he had a name. He was marketable.
.

Not knowing the original book, I guess we're in the dark in respect to the early rejections. I got kind of an awful hit on the comments from HST. Was he after the "formula"? The best seller? Or was he personally offended at the negative hit to his work? I guess as time went by, acceptable writing modes changed ? What was "hard and bitter" suddenly was allowed, was O.K. Like erotic/porno, the line gets blurred as society softens? Again, is HST's talent in the novel world? Or is he more brilliant in the world of journalism? Does his writing style have more impact and is it readily acceptable in one form and not the other?


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 Post subject: Re: The Rum Diary Question #29 ~ Getting TRD Published
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 4:06 pm 
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All good questions, gemini. I think the answer to your questions is "all of the above". I think hs writing was very effective in the journalism world. I wish we could look forward to the answer to your last question.



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 Post subject: Re: The Rum Diary Question #29 ~ Getting TRD Published
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 11:45 am 
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I am still trying to get over Yeamon being left out of the movie. Having never written anything to be published - I am sure there is need for re-writes in novels and movies. I laugh and think how rough the tone must have been Hunter's first writing of TRD. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: The Rum Diary Question #29 ~ Getting TRD Published
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 6:16 pm 
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:-O He says in a letter included in The Proud Highway (paraphrasing here) that the book has some problems, like the first 100 pages. :lol:



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