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March 2017

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comics invisibles lord fanny

I do not need to defend my art to you.

Re: the fast writer/ slow writer debate



I suspect it all comes down to technology.

Two hundred years ago, the people who are so-called fast writers, these days, would have been slow writers.

(Okay, except for the Dickenses and Shakespeares and Dumases.)

And a significant fraction of the slow writers would have been bank tellers.

Praise the Lord and pass the Smith-Corona.*


*But everybody's welcome to their defense mechanisms and to constructing a narrative that helps them function and create--the artist's necessary lies. I mean, I could be out there telling people that if they can't write a decent book in six months they are lazy and not very smart, but I wouldn't do a thing like that. I mean, come on. Any asshole can write three pages a day, right?

Right?

Wrong.

So I'm not going to say that.

For one thing, it would be untrue.

For another, I don't believe it.

Please note that these things are not equivalent.

Comments

For one thing, it would be untrue. For another, I don't believe it. Please note that these things are not equivalent.

Vive la difference!

And who's to say that a fast writer's three "crappy" books aren't better than the one book the slow writer put out. It's all subjective.

(Okay, except for the Dickenses and Shakespeares and Dumases.)

*ahem*
It's pronounced Du-moss!
"Hedley."
I write some books quickly and some books slowly. Depends on the book.
Indeed.

Not everybody does everything the same way.

Actually, I suspect the general quality of what's published has improved a great deal since the advent of the word processor. I have written two drafts of a novel out longhand.

I would NOT have written a third.
I suspect there's also a component of consistency involved. The less consistently a writer writes, be it 500 or 10,000 words at a time, it can be difficult to keep the thread of a story. I know I can be a horrible mimic when I write, so if I took a layoff and read a couple of Ellis Peters' Cadfael novels, the tone of my epic space opera is gonna change, making it uneven and awful. (Not that it might not be awful anyway, but it would get awfuler. More awful. Worse.)

And hey, this asshole, at least, can do three pages a day.
I'm very busy now with LOADS of excuses as to why I'm not working on my own YA novel right now...critiques for others...children...husband... Oh, yes--I can think of plenty of excuses. My internal critic says this is for the best. I hate her. She is the worst bee-awch I know! In fact, in the spirit of total rebellion, I just might write a word or two today! So, BLAH!!!! *stupid internal critic... probably hasn't been laid since Clinton was in office... grumble, grumble*
Wait, there was an internet slapfight and no one invited me to watch? But I have hot buttered popcorn!

So, where do semi-pro writers of mediocre talent and middling writing speed play in all this?

Oh, I remember: the slushpile!

*Back to work*
See, this is a slapfight. That last one wasn't a real slapfight, because while people were emotionally engaged, nobody was actually annoyed at anybody else.

In other news, I walked to work yesterday. Just so I could at least say that Hobbiton was out of sight.
bored =/= annoyed.

Oh man, you're gonna make me go for a walk, aren't you?
*g* Exactly my point.
Praise the Lord and pass the Smith-Corona.

That really needs its own icon!

Mike
If you want it, it's yours!
What a maroon. (Not you.)
*g* you know, my necessary lie used to be "I'm just a hack and I don't have the gifts to be a real artist and that's okay, teh world needs hacks too." It got me through about twenty years of learning to write.

These days, my necessary lie is "If I just try hard enough for twenty more years, maybe I *will* create something of lasting value."

Something changed. And now I have to go flat-out for the brass ring every time, or it's not worth doing.

Weirdest thing ever.

And if I turn out never to write, you know, my own Sandman or The Left Hand Of Darkness, fuckit, at least I tried.
I'm the sort of slow writer who begins writing quite fast indeed after my deadline has passed and the editor has yelled.

I went to college with a suitcase manual typewriter. Bear, you're just young enough to have been spared most of the Typewriter Years. It pretty much sucked. I think I was more interested in writing poetry than fiction just because of the typing involved.

Even the guys who write it out longhand and then type it in are way better off these days. Imagine Joyce going blind, trying to correct galley proofs of Finnegan's Wake.
Hee. I wrote on a Royal portable with a sticky E key until I was seventeen. Then I had a Brother electric typewriter, and after that, I bought myself a 286 when I was a senior in college. I wrote in LEWP. (I also used Macs at work through college--I worked for the campus paper.)

We didn't have disposable income for computers in my house.....

And yeah. Once you've written a novel longhand....

Actually, much of Carnival was written longhand and then typed. As in, almost *all* of it. Stupid damned thing would not come at teh computer.
This debate never dies. You can't prove that writing slowly produces better work. It irritates the scientist in me and I ended up posting two long rambling rants on my blog about this - from a scientist's POV. Because I'm just geeky that way.

By the way, Ms Bear, I like your blog. If you're wondering who the heck I am, I'm one of your lurkers.
Thank you.

I try. *g* And thank you for introducing yourself!
Um... speaking as a reader rather than a writer - actually, what I care about is having good books to buy. This argument, it seems to me, is about a single author's production: but as a reader I don't keep to just one author's books. I read E Bear (Carnival is amazing!) and Dick Francis and Anthony Price and Ellis Peters and Chaz Brenchley and so many others... Whether an author produces one or more books per year is, quite frankly, irrelevant. As long as the books are GOOD, I'll keep buying them.

I suspect this is a storm in a teacup. But I'm ready to be corrected! This is a very naive attitude, after all!
Ugh! I meant mine is a very naive attitude! Also, can I just say, I love your books with the love that surpasses women??
I actually rather enjoy word count tabulations, as an (albeit not entirely accurate) measure of progress. I also understand how it can be used as a more motivational tool than anything else. But then, I am heavily obssessed with numbers and other such patterns (read: my poetry--subconsciously I make everything words in measures of 3s and 4s, and 6s and 8s by 2s... It's kinda creepy...)

I also enjoy reading your blog, for what it's worth...^_^
Thank you.

I sort of don't love the word counts, but I post them because they keep me sane.

And sane is important.