Monday, April 14, 2014

How Many Novels Have YOU Written?

Just something I have to get off my chest.

It really bugs me when I see and hear comments like "It takes her ten years to write a book!" (Donna Tartt) and "It took him six years to write the last one....too long!" (George R. R. Martin).

Most of the people making these comments are not, I think, writers. I don't like to make assumptions, but they are, so why not?

Found on Tumblr

George R. R. Martin and Donna Tartt both appear to write books that are very long indeed. That takes time.

Long and complicated books also take meticulous editing, to avoid mistakes, repetition, plot holes, etc. That takes time. And we all want there to be time enough

Found this on Tumblr

As a reader yes, yes I want to read the next book. I want to know what happens. I want to go into that world. Tartt's books so far have not been series, but they have been very successful. Some of Martin's books are on HBO now, which means exponential attention and popularity.

So people say casually "I hope he doesn't die like Robert Jordan did." Which I find to be in bad taste. Because yes, I really hope that too. But not because of his fucking book series. You can rest assured that George R. R. Martin in fact wants to finish writing his books. It's what he's doing. He's a writer. He's been a writer for many many years. Maybe in some part he's doing it for you. But he's not doing it for you.

So you know what? Shut up about him watching football, and going to conventions, and *gasp* posting on the Internet. He's probably also reading books and eating dinner and playing with random dogs at a park or some shit. And he can and it isn't your business. Because it is his life, and he is living it. It is not your life. Just because he produces something you enjoy immensely does not mean you have a lien on him. As Neil Gaiman so eloquently put it, George R. R. Martin is not your bitch. Neither is Donna Tartt, or Neil Gaiman himself, or Chuck Wendig or Elizabeth Bear, or any of them. Any of us.

(I mean, unless of course you're in a personal relationship with that person and they are, in fact, your bitch. Or you're their bitch. But that's not what I'm talking about and you know it.)

I want to read the next book too. And you know what? Even if none of us were here, those writers would probably still be writing. I have been. So wait. Just wait.

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  1. It actually bothers me more when I hear writers make these types of comments. A lot of readers don't know what goes into writing a book, from Once Upon a Time to bookshelf. But writers are supposed to know better, I think. The judgement because one writer's process is different than theirs, is to me unacceptable.

    1. I don't know many writers in person, so I hadn't thought of that. But yes, it is worse when a WRITER is saying it about a fellow writer, because they should know better.

  2. How many novels have I written? One and I'm not the least apologetic that it's taking me eons to write my second and it's only slightly irritating when readers of my first novel want to know when my second will be finished. It will be finished when it's finished. I've never said anything to another writer about how long it takes them to write a novel, except maybe 'you lucky dog, it only took a year?' :)

    1. I'm sure it's nice to know you have readers who want more! But I can see how it would get irritating, posthaste, when people are asking "when is the next one?"

      Yes, I do have a certain admiration for people who complete a novel, AND the editing, in a year!

  3. It takes me a week to write a grocery I'm not one to talk at all.

    1. And I'm sure it's because you're writing the best grocery list you can produce!

      (I need to get better at planning, and that includes grocery lists. I always forget something!)