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the road to Archades

Yesterday I did "only" 1,528 words, and I felt guilty for not having written more. But I made my goal, and the Word Bank even gained 28 words. Also, we proofed the galleys of "Zero Summer" for Subterranean Magazine #6. And then there were e-mails and phone calls. And I finally crawled away down the hall and hid in a tub of very hot water.

Speaking of words/per day, matociquala was remarking on "the fast writer/slow writer debate," which I did not even know, previously, was a debate. Some people write fast. Some people write slowly. But apparently there are those who would be prescriptive in these matters. That is, those who believe slower writers are more likely to produce good books than those who write fast. And I will admit, I do tend to be skeptical of writers who turn out two or three novels a year. A big part of that's envy, though. I freely admit to that. I am a very, very slow writer. That's why this whole 1,500 words per/day every day thing is such a big deal for me. Until 2002, my average was 500 words/per day. Since then, it's been 1,000. But, as for how long it takes me to write novels, factoring in research, stewing in my skull time, inexplicable stalls, and such like, they usually take me at least a year or two. Daughter of Hounds needed more than two years. Low Red Moon was written in only about eight months. Threshold took forever (something like three or four years), and I think Silk required at least 27 months. It takes me as long to write a novel as the novel requires. But, yes, generally, I am a very slow writer. And rarely am I good for more than four or five hours writing on any given day. There are numerous reasons for this. Having only one functional eye. What some have described as "sentence-level writing" (doesn't everyone do it one sentence at a time? One word at a time?). The fact that I really do not enjoy writing. And so forth. Frankly, if someone told me I had to write two or three novels in a year, I'd probably murder them on the spot. But if there are people who wish to do such a thing, well, that's hisherits business. I will say that some of my best short stories have been written in only a few days, though some others have taken many weeks. Things take time, the time that they require. And though I am slow, a veritable writing tortoise, I should not be prescriptive, as hares are quite nice, too. But, I think, one should not ever think this is a race, the writing. It is not a race. Speed is mostly irrelevant, unless we are to concern ourselves solely with matters of deadlines imposed and finances and other things that actually have very little to do with writing.

Last night we finished Mitch Cullin's Tideland. What a wonderful, wonderful novel. A few observations. Terry Gilliam's movie, despite a marked difference of POV, is amazingly true to the book. And Cullin is the rare sort of author who pulls me in so completely that I am not distracted by that aforementioned problem, the magician watching another magician, trying to figure out how it's done or remarking how I could do it so much better. I doubt I shall ever be half this good, and I know it, so I am content to be swept along...which, I think, is the whole point of a novel. There are some beautiful details in the novel that didn't make it into the film, such as those describing "the Hundred-Year Ocean." Brendan Fletcher did such a marvelous job in Gilliam's film of bringing the character of Dickens to life that only that portion of the novel seemed in any way less amazing than the screen adaptation. And it has occurred to me that there are some interesting parallels between Tideland and another of my favourite novels, Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

Okay. Gotta make the words.

Comments

( 5 comments — Have your say! )
ladyeuthanasia
Jan. 19th, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC)

"Sentence-level writing"? Huh?

I'm slow. I like to write prose poetry. I like sentences that flow like a bolt of shot silk unfurled across the bed. I used to be disabled and write with a voice program. THAT was slow. But worth it, I think. Almost like having to commit to paper with a fountain pen, it was so difficult to edit.

Depending on the writer, for the most part the "fast" writing I've seen has no art, no wordsmithing.
woodrunner
Jan. 19th, 2007 10:29 pm (UTC)
The fact that I really do not enjoy writing.

Really?

I wouldn't be able to tell.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 19th, 2007 11:09 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't be able to tell.

That's the trick.
stsisyphus
Jan. 20th, 2007 03:41 am (UTC)
I really do not enjoy writing.

Speaking of things you don't like, I posted some comments about DOH on my blog, along with as many links to your books as were appropriate. There are a couple of nods to Sirenia as well. If you've got to refute me on anything I say, I've got comments open.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 20th, 2007 04:58 am (UTC)
If you've got to refute me on anything I say, I've got comments open.

I shall have a look, but perhaps not until the morning.
( 5 comments — Have your say! )