writing: May 2009 Archives

From Neil Gaiman:

Some writers need a while to charge their batteries, and then write their books very rapidly. Some writers write a page or so every day, rain or shine. Some writers run out of steam, and need to do whatever it is they happen to do until they're ready to write again. Sometimes writers haven't quite got the next book in a series ready in their heads, but they have something else all ready instead, so they write the thing that's ready to go, prompting cries of outrage from people who want to know why the author could possibly write Book X while the fans were waiting for Book Y.

I'm not sure that the "fan letter" is actually real, but Neil Gaiman has a nice post up attempting to debunk some myths about fan entitlement. Martin is notorious in that regard--he's published one of the best fantasy series in recent years, and in part because of its huge, ensemble cast, the books keep getting more and more complex and end up taking longer to emerge. Word on the street a while back was that the latest installment was so long that the press decided to publish it as two, which necessitated even more revision and planning. And when I say "so long," bear in mind that the page count on the four volumes I have handy are 835, 1002, 950, and 750.

The title of this post is Gaiman's elevator version of his own thoughts on the matter. Embedded in the "letter" he's responding to is an interesting point about how social media crank up the attention and pressure on writers like Martin, which is why I thought to mention it here. That, and I think it's important for all of us who write to understand about ourselves what Gaiman discusses in the excerpt above. Having gone through my own patch over the last year where I "worried that I could no longer write," it's oddly comforting to hear someone as prolific as Gaiman talk about the same thing, and to acknowledge that it's not always something that's under our control.

That is all.



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This page is a archive of entries in the writing category from May 2009.

writing: April 2009 is the previous archive.

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