The Craft of Writing 490

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Robspierre
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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby Robspierre » 24 Nov 2010 20:50

It's been a while, but Keith has posted a real doozy of a blahg.

http://kjablog.com/?p=1257

The Mathematics of Productivity


Due to a confluence of deadlines, I found myself finishing three novel manuscripts in two weeks—The Key to Creation for Orbit/Hachette (172,000 words), The Sisterhood of Dune, with Brian Herbert, for Tor (161,000 words), and the second YA space adventure Star Challengers with Rebecca Moesta, for Catalyst. Two solid weeks of 12-hour days, 7 days a week. (Yes, I did deliver all three books to the proper recipients, on time—see my November 15 blog entry.)


What KJA wants you to believe is that he write all three books over a two week span. Now we who follow his twats know better but this is no surprise. Keith will omit the whole truth in order to make himself look like a GOD when in fact he everything he writes is the lowest common denominator crap that is interchangeable with every other thing he has written.

That schedule was crazy even for me, but I’ve always been a very productive writer. Over my twenty or so years as a novelist, I’ve published more than 100 books—about five a year, on average.


I'm the best, see how many books I've written?

Now, some snobs out there will be rolling their eyes with the ingrained—but completely wrong—assumption that “productivity equals poor quality.” I can point to the fact that 47 of my books have hit national or international bestseller lists, including 19 on the New York Times list; my novels have won or been nominated for most of the major awards in my field, have received half a dozen starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, included on numerous “year’s best” lists; one was even named a New York Times Notable Book.


Here we go. Someone has had their feeling hurt. Now what major awards have you actually won in the science fiction field? Waits. Waits some more. Well?

How many of those forty-seven books were NOT part of an established brand? Star Wars, X-Files, and Dune were established names before KJA wrote stories in established universes.

Some of the greatest writers in literature wrote quickly—many of them in longhand. Alexandre Dumas, Jules Verne, and Charles Dickens were amazingly prolific, and their works have remained on bookshelves for more than a century and a half. Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol, one of the best-loved novels of all time, in a feverish frenzy that lasted about six weeks. William Faulkner wrote his classic As I Lay Dying in the same amount of time and claimed to have published his first draft “without changing a word.”


According to KJA, speed equals quality.

Productivity equals poor quality? Yeah, right.


No, quality has ZERO to do with productivity.

For some reason, though, snobs complain when a writer produces “too many books” (as determined by some arbitrary scale), as if ideas and stories are somehow in short supply in a good writer’s imagination. They don’t understand the mathematics of productivity.


Really? I thought this was about quality? Productivity, and it is obvious that KJA equates quality with high productivity, and quality are subjective. It doesn't matter if a writer writes one book every five years or ten books a year. What matters is the finished product. What matters is how people react to the book. What matters is the effort put into the finished product. Pissing and moaning about other people, watching tv all the time, and being a douche, all while saying you are working hard shows how little effort actually goes into the final product.

An author who writes one book a year—which the snobs would consider an “acceptable” level of productivity—almost certainly cannot make a living by writing (sorry, that’s just the plain truth) and works another full-time job to pay the bills. I’ve talked with many such authors and noted their writing schedules. To get pages done in the available time between work, personal, and family obligations, that person might manage an hour or two in the evenings, some during the weekends, devoting maybe ten hours per week to actual writing. Over the course of a year, the writer will spend ~520 hours to writing and editing the novel—which is apparently the right amount of time on the Snob-o-Meter.


Hey KJA, you actually have any numbers to back that assertion up? I know of a lot of writers who never write more than four hours a day and publish a book every couple of years who write entertaining, thought provoking work, and do not put down other writers at the same time.

The full-time writer, on the other hand, can work all day long on writing and editing, all week long. For my own part, I put in 8–10 hours a day, usually six or seven days a week. Even on a conservative estimate, I can devote 520 hours to producing a novel manuscript—the “acceptable” amount of time a writer should spend on a book, see above—in 11 weeks.
In other words, a full-time writer who is willing to devote the same number of hours on a writing career as, say, a restaurant owner devotes to running a restaurant, can write five books a year, spending 520 hours each on writing and editing. (In fact, that has been my average output over the course of my career as a novelist.)


Full time writers cannot write non-stop for eight hours day in day out. Steven Pressfield writes for four hours a day, most Hollywood screen writers write around four to five hours a day, it is just not possible.

Maybe you should spend more time on your "writing." Half of every book is nothing more than recapping what happened. The characters are cardboard cutouts that bare no resemblance to the originals, and finally, idiotic plot points that make readers want to throw the book across the room.

Yes, the snobs who see an author’s byline on too many book covers over the course of a year may assume that the novels are rushed or sloppy, when in fact the author may well have spent as many hours or more on each manuscript as a one-book-a-year, part-time writer does.
It’s just simple mathematics.


No, it's an author who cannot face the truth that he is a hack, who refuses to admit that he is limited in ability, and must belittle and tear down others to make himself feel better because his "success" comes on the backs of other more talented people.

Rob

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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby Freakzilla » 24 Nov 2010 21:00

Can I move this to Prequels/Sequels?

This is business, not distraction.
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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby Robspierre » 24 Nov 2010 21:03

Freakzilla wrote:Can I move this to Prequels/Sequels?

This is business, not distraction.



Go for it.

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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby SandChigger » 24 Nov 2010 22:57

Some little girly man having a snit wrote:the Snob-o-Meter

:lol:

I'm really glad to see that he has once again gotten in touch with his inner Pissy Little Bitch. ;)
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

I don't like every writer's style; for instance, I have never been able to get through Ursula LeGuin, China Mieville, or Iain Banks, all of whom are critical darlings. —KJA

I...had written a bunch of Star Wars and X-Files books...that proved not just that I'm a hack, but that I could write in somebody else's universe... —KJA

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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby Freakzilla » 24 Nov 2010 23:00

SandChigger wrote:
Some little girly man having a snit wrote:the Snob-o-Meter

:lol:

I'm really glad to see that he has once again gotten in touch with his inner Pissy Little Bitch. ;)


It's kinda turning me on.
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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby SandChigger » 24 Nov 2010 23:19

(That's the sort of detail best kept to oneself, I fear. ;) )

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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby Robspierre » 24 Nov 2010 23:55

I wonder what set him off? It would be interesting to read the article or review.

Rob

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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby TheDukester » 25 Nov 2010 01:15

Agreed. It's sort of out of nowhere ... and on the day before Thanksgiving, too. I mean, not that Captain Self-Obsessed has ever been much of a family guy, but it's still the sort of holiday that makes most people at least semi-happy.

If I had to guess, I think some of his inherent misery boiled over. I think Kevin J. Anderprick is, fundamentally, a very unhappy man.
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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby Aquila ka-Hecate » 25 Nov 2010 01:19

Way to go to create a straw-snob-man, KJA.

I don't think many people shit all over a writer for turning out loads of books in a short period of time - however, many people (snobs according to Teh Keith) object heavily to a hack crapping out the number of inferior products he does.

No, productivity does not equal inferiority, Mr. Hack. Inferiority equals inferiority, and the fact that you turn out so much of it is what makes me nauseous.

P.S - it's arithmetic, not mathematics. Despite your degree, I get the feeling you have forgotten what mathematics looks like.

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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby SandChigger » 25 Nov 2010 08:30

Aw, heck, he wiped his butt with that asstrophysics degree YEARS ago. ;)
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

I don't like every writer's style; for instance, I have never been able to get through Ursula LeGuin, China Mieville, or Iain Banks, all of whom are critical darlings. —KJA

I...had written a bunch of Star Wars and X-Files books...that proved not just that I'm a hack, but that I could write in somebody else's universe... —KJA

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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby Kojiro » 25 Nov 2010 17:51

He does realize that A Christmas Carol is a novella, right? Or that Jules Verne only wrote roughly over 60 books? Both authors were prolific, yes, but they were hardly close to the half-assed assembly line Keith has.

And I love how he takes credit for the best-selling list, despite most of his "books" were produced under popular, established brand names like Star Wars. Newsflash, Keith, but people aren't buying it because your name is on it, they're buying it because it has "The X-Files" on the cover.
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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 25 Nov 2010 17:58

Yeah, right, because most authors only write an hour or two a day. Riiight. Most authors are putting thousands of hours into a book, not an hour or two a day. And lots of authors make a living off of one book a year, or every couple years, because they actually have sales for those books. If you write shit that sells few copies then yes, you'd have to write a lot.

People aren't complaining because he writes too many books, they're complaining because the books obviously suffer for it. Asimove wrote hundreds of books, and no one complains about him. :roll:
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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby Kojiro » 25 Nov 2010 18:05

A Thing of Eternity wrote:People aren't complaining because he writes too many books, they're complaining because the books obviously suffer for it. Asimove wrote hundreds of books, and no one complains about him. :roll:


Although Isaac did spend roughly his entire life writing every single book, whereas KJA "wrote" over a hundred in only 25 years.
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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 25 Nov 2010 18:07

Honestly I have no beef with whatever qty an author feels like writing, as long as they keep up the quality. KJA on the other hand, seems to feel that qty is quality, and timeliness is quality.

I'd rather wait 15 years for the rest of the ASoIaF series than have it handed over to KJA to finish off by next summer. (For example)
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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby TheDukester » 25 Nov 2010 18:48

Just to keep adding to the theme, I'll agree wholeheartedly: Keith is not loathed because he writes lots of books; he's loathed because the quality of his work is so poor.

Big difference. And one he is either too stupid or too self-obsessed to understand.

My favorite SF author ever is Robert Silverberg, who wrote like his hair was on fire, especially during the '60s and '70s. But he had the talent to make it work. Any SF database will show the amazingly high level of his work back then. Asimov is another fine example, and there's a few others, too.

Keith just doesn't get it, or refuses to acknowledge a simple truth: he is not a good writer. He has no talent for it whatsoever. It would make only a tiny difference if we wrote quickly or slowly. A talent-free hack is a talent-free hack, period, full stop.
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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby Robspierre » 26 Nov 2010 00:38

Rabbits & Typewriters: On Being Prolific
“I could be a successful writer, too, if only I had the time.”
I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard aspiring writers bemoan their lack of time, their inability to get any writing done with distractions, with family and work obligations. Since it’s not likely anyone will give you any more time, in order to be a serious writer you have to find ways to make the most of the time you have, and how to be as productive as possible.
Back in the heyday of pulp fiction magazines, when freelancers tried to make a living by writing stories that paid half a cent per word (at most), they had to produce, produce, produce. “Be prolific or starve” was their motto. Armed with manual typewriters and carbon paper, the most popular and prolific writers managed to crank out entire novels in only a few days, or stories and novelettes in a single sitting.
Today, with an arsenal of writing tools that includes word processors, email, scanners, internet research, and lightning-fast printers, it’s got to be easy for modern authors to be even more prolific, right?
Life is crazy and hectic for most of us. We’ve got jobs, fitness programs, mountains of correspondence by snail and email, video games, TiVo, cell phones, Blackberries, family and friend obligations, and a million things to read online. How does an aspiring author find the time to write?
And when you do find the time, how do you make the most of it?
In subsequent blogs I will be describing eleven techniques that I and other prolific authors use to increase their writing productivity—ways we have discovered to keep a writing session going a bit longer, or to squeeze out a few more words or pages in each sitting. Because I’ve gotten suggestions from different writers, they aren’t all applicable to every situation—some are even contradictory—but try the techniques. Some may work well for you.


This is nothing but a retread of, oh, maybe five or six posts he has made in the past, a complete retread and in some ways, a stripped down, less bitchy rewrite of yesterday's blog post. And in true Keith fashion, he touts this blog post as some all important guide to writing when it's just bluster.

Rob

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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby SandChigger » 26 Nov 2010 23:14

Yep, it a retread prelude to him whipping out his eleven-point trouser snake for its annual tug of bore. :roll:

He's already posted "#1 Shut up and WRITE!". (sigh)
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

I don't like every writer's style; for instance, I have never been able to get through Ursula LeGuin, China Mieville, or Iain Banks, all of whom are critical darlings. —KJA

I...had written a bunch of Star Wars and X-Files books...that proved not just that I'm a hack, but that I could write in somebody else's universe... —KJA

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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby merkin muffley » 02 Dec 2010 11:19

I would love to see someone systematically destroy his claim to being like Dickens. I'd do it myself, but Dickens isn't someone I've read other than in English classes, and I'm just not informed enough to do it. I know enough to realize that Kevin J. Anderson bears absolutely no resemblance to Dickens.

KJA is suggesting that both he and Dickens were both popular and good at the same time (KJA is a delusional, pretentious bastard). I have a vague sense that Dickens was probably criticized for being sentimental, but did people really ever call Dickens a hack!? People have always known that Dickens is a good writer of prose, which makes him fundamentally different than KJA.

It's a totally ridiculous comparison, and I haven't seen any recent examples of KJA comparing himself to Dickens. Maybe he dropped that because it was such an incredibly stupid thing to say. I'm basing this on a quote from an interview in which he said that Dickens was a "spiritual brother." :roll: :puke:
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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby lotek » 02 Dec 2010 12:07

keith is comparing himself to Dickens ???
What the flying fuck is he on about ???

And why not Shakespeare while we're at it ?
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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby Omphalos » 02 Dec 2010 13:23

And in other news: A shambling mass of moldering flesh rose from the grave of Charles Dickens and started ambling towards Colorado, whispering "I'm gonna git me that boi."

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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby lotek » 02 Dec 2010 13:48

and how come we ended up talking about the hack in a subject whose title include the term "The Craft of Writing" ?

It'd be like talking about Jabecca on a subject about dieting...
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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby TheDukester » 02 Dec 2010 13:58

Keith's advice for today: "Set goals."

Wow ... awesome.

Bone-chilling thought: there are people out there stupid enough and desperate enough to pay him hundreds of dollars for that sort of advice. :doh:
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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby Kojiro » 02 Dec 2010 17:53

Wow! That's like the best advice EVAR!!!





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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby Nekhrun » 02 Dec 2010 19:20

TheDukester wrote:Keith's advice for today: "Set goals."

Wow ... awesome.

Bone-chilling thought: there are people out there stupid enough and desperate enough to pay him hundreds of dollars for that sort of advice. :doh:


Actually, I think we should start taking his advice. I'm going to set a goal to post on more websites about what a fucking idiot he is. What else does he say I should do?
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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Postby Freakzilla » 02 Dec 2010 19:31

Nekhrun wrote:
TheDukester wrote:Keith's advice for today: "Set goals."

Wow ... awesome.

Bone-chilling thought: there are people out there stupid enough and desperate enough to pay him hundreds of dollars for that sort of advice. :doh:


Actually, I think we should start taking his advice. I'm going to set a goal to post on more websites about what a fucking idiot he is. What else does he say I should do?


Be bad.
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