Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Some books take long to write, but many don't

Recently, I have noticed a lot of accomplished writers sounding off against authors churning out a bazillion books in a short amount of time. Without even reading these books, they have decided that the books are bad and of poor quality. Surely those books could not stand up to the merits of fine literature! Why else would the book be written so quickly instead of that author toiling away at the manuscript for years like the rest of us?

I can’t help but get a little riled by these writers. It’s unfortunate that they fail to see that some books can indeed be written in a short amount of time – and STILL be a good book!

I know, it’s important to spend time writing a book if you want the book to be the best it can be. This is true. I spent years writing what was to eventually become my novel Shadow of Samhain. I toiled for more years on Parenting Pauses: Life as a Deaf Parent. And I’m still pinching myself that, after over 10 years, I finally finished the haunted cities book!

But not all of my books took so long to write, or even get published. Some books were published the very same year that they were written! (Side note: That doesn’t often happen.) That doesn’t mean that they were “bad” books. Just that they were books I managed to write in a short amount of time! And it’s unfair when people decide that just because I wrote them so fast, they are crap.

I have been writing for a very long time. In fact, it was 20 years ago when I wrote my first novel. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide to write a book. Sure, I practiced writing book-length fiction as a teenager, but I didn’t start writing books from the get-go. I took time to write before I started writing books. Forgive me for getting to a point where I can crank out a book so quickly!

Also, some people may think that a book just magically wrote itself and that’s why the authors can crank out so many. I don’t know what kinds of systems some of these authors have in place, but for me, I work on several books at a time. I write fiction, poetry, children’s books and nonfiction, and I have several different types of these books going on at a time. I tinker with one and put the focus on another. Once that other one is finished and complete, I take the book I was tinkering with and put the focus on THAT one. Then I tinker with another, write in it here and there, until I finish the one I’d been tinkering with before. This is how I am able to always have work going on. It helps that I have so many ideas for books. Also, some books, like the children’s books, are already written. I just put them away for a while until it’s time to pull it out, fix it up and send it.

And, hey, guess what? Writers write. That’s what we do. If we write books, we are frantically writing books. It’s this unstoppable force within us that cannot and will not be quenched. We are writing books like there is no tomorrow! That doesn’t make them bad books. That doesn’t mean that the final result that is published is no good. It just means we have a lot of books going on that we just can’t stop writing – but when the time comes for getting a book ready for publication, we ARE willing to make sure it is a damn good book. We invest the time, energy and brainpower to revise, edit, fix, change, toss out, add, update and give an overall facelift in order to make sure the book is the very best. We DO that. We want the book to be good, and we’re willing to make sure it is good. We just are capable of getting our good books out there faster.

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