The class’s perception of my short story writing was important to me. After all, it would be my first ever feedback on a short story I wrote. After sharing (twenty-odd years ago), one person commented that my writing sounded noire. The piece wasn’t in the noir genre, it only sounded noir, so the person said. Noir or noire is the French word for black. I was a bit confused. This was never my intention.
But I was complimented because I thought my work might have sounded like a thriller of the classic Film Noir. This, of course, is with the likes of cinema’s hard-boiled detective stories. But my story was not truly noir.
The perception that the story sounded noir is what mattered, as the writer is supposed to communicate to the reader something. The reader perceives what that is.
How I had failed as writer, then. Actually, being told that my writing sounded noire, took me off-guard. Yes, the noir or black tone might have been how I was feeling about an experience, which was kind of negative and dark. But I wasn’t thinking through how my writing would be perceived as noir. I wasn’t anticipating it would be seen as black or dark. The reader’s perception matters to a writer and shows me that what I write is always communicating. The medium is the message.