Cranking It Out

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I read an article this weekend about an author who writes 10-11 books a year. TEN or ELEVEN BOOKS (novels, Silhouette ones) a YEAR. She writes a chapter a day and revises. She writes 15 chapters, so that's a month a book, more or less. Not much of a break in between. I've not read this author, but I have to admit I'm curious. I see that she'll have books released two months in a row, then a month off, repeat the pattern.

I know another author who writes a chapter a day, though I think she takes more time revising. Still, she had 7 books out last year and 8 the year before, and 8 more the year before that.

On a blog I subscribe to, one writer seems to have a new release every couple of weeks. Most are novellas, but still.

On one hand, I'm really jealous. I would love to have that output, especially since at my current rate, I'll be writing the stories I already have ideas for until 2011, and you know me. I get new story ideas way too often. Then there's the money. Even at the lowest amount of advance HQ gives, she makes double what I make teaching if she writes that many.

But.

How in depth can she go, writing that quickly? The reason I wonder is because the book I just finished reading seemed not to go very deep into the characters at all, especially secondary characters. And since it was a romantic suspense, not giving the suspects and ultimate bad guy much depth felt like a cheat. I like meat in my books, emotion and motivation. How can you know the characters enough in that short amount of time to do them justice, to tell the story the way it should be told?

Also, when does she plot? She writes for two Silhouette lines, including SRS. If she's going to write that quickly, she has to know what the plot is, right? She doesn't have much time built in for revisions and unkinking knots.

The biggest thing, to me, is this question-do they see writing as a race? I've been known to, but at the same time, I enjoy the process of mulling the plot, spending time with the characters. Even my wrong paths teach me more about the people I write about. Where's the enjoyment in writing if you write so quickly? Can you fall in love with your characters if you only spend a month with them? Do they stay with you when you're done? Do they stay with the reader when they're done?

Doesn't that matter?

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5 comments:

Michele said...

What I wonder is are they plotters or pantsters? I'm a pantster all the way so I can crank out the pages but at the same time, I also do a ton of revisions. And for me revisions are where I find the heart and soul of a book even as I try to pretty it all up.

Marianne Arkins said...

Fact is... she's treating writing as a business. She's figured out a formula that works, and it clearly DOES work, for her.

As a business, is it necessary for her to fall in love with her characters? Not really. The story of mine that has made the most money and garnered the best reviews was one I wrote quickly and spent the least amount of time with.

I know an author who releases 5-6 novels a year. They are amazingly good, complex and well-written. She's found a formula that works for her, too. And, it clearly works for the reader.

The question is: Do we treat writing as a business? Or as a hobby? Or as something that *might* pay off *someday*?

Anonymous said...

I agree, in order to have that high amount of output, writing must be seen as a business and books as product.

I have to admit, I read very little romance today, where once I was a voracious reader. This is where the question hits me. As a reader, I find most of the new product available to be sub-par, as compared to books in the past. I used to clear out the Harl./Sil. stand, taking one of each of my fav. lines. I don't even read those lines anymore. What am I reading right now? An old book from my keeper stack. As I read, I can't help thinking: "Authors don't write like this enough today. I actually FEEL something in this book, from the first page."

I am not saying all authors or products are like this. But too many are. It is not helping the industry.

Kelly Boyce said...

Wow...wow...10 to 11 books in a year...I just...wow...

MJFredrick said...

No idea, Michele. I can have good days, though not usually even 10 pages. Never a chapter!

But SHOULD writing be a business? Isn't it an art? I kind of feel like these examples are missing the point of writing. I don't think it's a choice between business and hobby. I've wondered this before, with my prolific critique partners. I don't see their excitement in creating new characters and stories. To me, that's the fun part, and makes the hard part worth it.

But maybe if you have a formula, you don't have a hard part.

I'm endlessly surprised that Bull by the Horns, which took 2 months total to write, gets as good of reviews as Hot Shot, which was an 8 year journey.

Kelly, that was my reaction, too.

There are plenty of awesome romances out there. I'm listening to Blue Eyed Devil right now and it's knocked my socks off. I will be glomming all things Kleypas for a bit.

I don't want to insult anyone, but I just was really disappointed in that book, and I wonder if it was because it was written so quickly.

Goodreads

M.J. Fredrick's books on Goodreads
Breaking DaylightBreaking Daylight
ratings: 11 (avg rating 3.33)

Beneath the SurfaceBeneath the Surface
ratings: 11 (avg rating 4.00)

Hot ShotHot Shot (Samhain)
reviews: 2
ratings: 10 (avg rating 4.00)

Where There's SmokeWhere There's Smoke
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.00)

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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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