I've been on a recent Chandler kick, and have been making mental notes about what I can take away from him to use in my own writing:
1. Keep It Lean. Chandler doesn't waste a word, and his books are never overlong, yet he creates incredibly vivid and complicated worlds.
2. Make Dialogue Count. Every bit of Chandler dialogue either serves as necessary exposition or character development. There's no wasted small talk. Or long speechifying.
3. Set A Scene. Chandler, I am realizing, is a very cinematic writer. He seems to have instinctively understood that good writing and good camerawork are somewhat the same thing — open with a wide context-establishing shot, then focus in on the action. He never makes you guess where and when things are taking place.
4. Create Characters With More Than One Dimension. I think almost every major or secondary character in every Chandler story is holding something back. Chandler is gifted at making readers aware of this without beating them over the head with it, planting a seed of unease in us as we dive deeper into each tale.
5. Create Chemistry Between Characters. Be it two males talking, or Philip Marlowe sizing up a dame, Chandler always creates interesting tension between any two characters who come into contact with one another. Some like each other before they're sure of one another; some dislike one another but aren't sure that means that they aren't good people in the end.
What else would you add to this list?