Write Faster – New Variation on a Theme

Writers’ publishers are starting to push them to produce more. Poor things. Seems the old standards are falling everywhere. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/business/in-e-reader-age-of-writers-cramp-a-book-a-year-is-slacking.html?_r=1&hp

Discussion now going on, on Kindle Boards: http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,114080.0.html

Here’s my take on it.

    I think there’s a big difference between being pressured by a publisher and setting a faster but reasonable pace for yourself. I made the decision to try to put out a novel, novella, or short story at least every six weeks all through 2012. But it’s only possible because I have a huge backlog of WIPs to work with. I’m a grasshopper kind of writer, usually jumping back and forth between projects. I alternate new writing with revision and editing, so there’s always something in progress, and usually something close to being finished and ready for publication.

    As a regular participant in NaNoWriMo, I found that it’s possible to write a novel in much less time than I’d imagined. But that has to be followed by a lot of work, usually months of it. I’ve never been fond of short stories, as a reader, but I’m learning to enjoy writing them. For one thing, I don’t have to discard good ideas just because they’re not substantial enough to be developed as novels. And they don’t take as long to write. They’re an excellent way to fill out your backlist and introduce your writing to new readers.

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6 thoughts on “Write Faster – New Variation on a Theme

  1. Reason #13 why I’ll never be mainstream. My finger just don’t move that fast. Neither does my brain. Maybe I try to process to much with each project. Or maybe I process just enough for me. But more power to the talented speed demons, they’ll be the ones who will rise to the top.

    “Mr. Patterson produced 12 books last year, aided on some titles by co-writers. He will publish 13 this year.” Even if every one of those books are brilliant in every way, a double-digit book output in a single year is manic (to put it politely), in my opinion. But again, more power to Patterson. We’ll see if he can top 13 next year.

    1. 13 complete novels a year? Sure, if you’re writing forumula stuff, *and* you’re a speed demon typist. There’s no way you can produce anything of real quality that way. But that’s clearly not anyone’s intention. And that person writing 2,000 words a day, seven days a week? Great way to burn out in a hurry. I can’t do that, even during NaNo.

      I’m really starting to like writing short stories (if you can call 11,000 and 16,000 words short). They’re just as much work as novels, but they take less time to work through from start to finish. And they’re a different kind of challenge, which is something else I appreciate.

  2. Sigh. If I feel any pressure to publish faster, it comes from myself, because I’m no “chicken of the spring,” to quote my Prf. A’a’ma, and I have such a backlog of unpublished material (and unwritten ideas) that I feel I may not live long enough to see it all put out there. As for writing at breakneck speed just so you have something to publish, that’s one reason why we have so much trash to fight through! I think a story takes its own time to write. If the author loves her book, she feeds off the characters – she doesn’t want to part with them! So you can’t hurry! I feel like that about my characters in Termite Queen. I feel sad now that it’s published, because I’ll never be able to revise it again. I can still read it, but I’ll never be able to change it substantively or even a little bit. So I will continue to write and publish at my own speed, feeling the pressure only from myself – but it woud be nice if I had a whole bunch of readers who wrote me to say, “Oh, write faster – write more! I can’t wait for your next book!” :->

    1. I’m with you in feeling the years pressing at me. I’ll probably never get it all written unless I find a magic well of youth somewhere.

      It’s hard to leave characters behind when you’ve lived with them a long time. I guess that’s why I want to keep writing about Cor and Jordane. But it’s their world that has me hooked, too. I’ve had one reader say they want more of those two, but the rush of fans hasn’t happened yet. Maybe some day?

  3. I am always amazed at the people who can produce time after time while I struggle with my own writing. Yes, Patterson writes a lot of books. So does Nora Roberts (aka J. D. Robb), and I consume a good many of her books, but I have to agree with your assessment that these mill books are by and large formulaic. They are no David Foster Wallace or even a Neil Gaiman. Of course, Gaiman seems to produce a lot of startlingly original works, but he’s the exception.

    Sometimes I wonder if the mega-writers really do all of their own work. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I hear tell that James Michener had a huge staff of researchers, and much like movie makers who assign the filming of scenes that don’t include the main characters to other directors, he had other people write a lot of his work.

    Maybe I’m just being grumbly because I’m finding it so difficult to work on a single project these days, and like at least two in this thread, worry that time may not permit me to get everything out that wants out.

    1. I don’t know about any contemporary authors, but I’ve read that one popular author’s books were written by a staff of people, even after she died. I don’t doubt that some very prolific authors have “help” of one kind or another.

      I’ve only read one Gaiman book and didn’t care for it (love TV and film versions of some, though), but I don’t get the impression that he’s just churning out the work.

      Anyway, go ahead and grumble. I’m doing the same, most of the time.

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