In Dreams Awake

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

(Henry David Thoreau)

Thursday, 1 March 2018

You'd Have to be Hemingway

 Hi all.

 Yesterday I got involved (unwisely) in a Facebook thread about how quickly indie writers produce books. The fastest publish one every five or six weeks, meaning some ten a year. It reminds me a bit of NaNoWriMo, when some people reach the 50,000 words target on the first day. In honesty, I don't think anyone can write that fast and keep the quality. I could do 50,000 words a day, but most of it would be bleh bleh bleh, complete rubbish.

 So what about 20,000 words per day (wpd)? Not really possible either, to my mind. And down we go, until we reach a point where we start to think it can be done. Now, I realise that the world is full of wonders, and everyone writes in their own way, but still... 20,000 wpd? No. No, I don't think so, not with any quality.

 I said this in the FB thread, and promptly got shot to bits by lots of irate authors. Told you I was unwise

 But the thing is, I've never heard of a traditionally published author who writes ten publication-ready novels in a year. Never. OK, publishers don't want more than two a year anyway, and the process takes time as well, but even so it's a hell of a leap from two to ten. Are we really saying that just by being indie, authors can suddenly write five times faster than anyone else, and still keep their quality?

 I don't think we are. I suspect what usually happens is that authors dash off a book as fast as their fingers can go, publish it, then move on. Very little editing or rewrites, not much concern for standards. Just bang the book out and follow it with a few adverts, then start the next novel. So lots of words, but poor quality. I've read some of this stuff. It's not great.

 Of course, the key word is "usually". I'm sure there are one or two authors who can pull this off - ten books a year and still quality. But you'd have to be Hemingway or Stephen King to do it. If these authors can, then kudos to them. For myself, I know I'm no Hemingway, and I'll stick to the old-fashioned way. Write, revise, revise, edit, edit, and then (for the first time) ask myself if the work is finished. Or does it need another edit?

 Boring, eh? Too true. But it needs to be done.

 Pip pip.