And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sure, I've had it in the ear before

A bulleted list cribbed from Michael Moorcock on how to write a novel in three days. For certain definitions of "write" and "in three days." Hint, there's a lot of prework, and well, Moorcock is somewhat a freak of nature. Keep in mind that the Elric "novels", brilliant as they are, are really more like novellas. Several of them have been collected to make slim volumes. But good for pure "getting out of your own way" there some good stuff. And, as per the previous linked writing advice ala William Jones, YMMV. Take what you can use, leave what blocks you. (grokked from the marvelous eBear)


Eric said...

Well... and there's also the fact that some Elric novels are more brilliant than others... and some maybe aren't actually that brilliant, when you get right down to it: I personally find the Elric novels to reap diminishing returns after the first one.

Philip K. Dick's secret to fast turn around on novels when he was living check-to-check was a lot of speed, a suggestion that's not on Moorcock's list and doesn't have a lot to recommend it. And PKD, like Moorcock and a lot of other writers who wrote fast to stay alive, wrote a lot of novels that were more brilliant than others, and some that weren't that brilliant. Another secret that doesn't recommend itself is to recycle plots and characters, and another is to wrap untidily when you've burned through your cool original idea in the first fifty pages and don't actually have anything left; I say these things from a place of deep love for PKD (who's my favorite SF writer) and because a lot of this applies to Moorcock, too.

To be honest, as much as I wish I could pump out words at that rate, I'm not sure I'd want to pay the butcher's bill to do it. It's kinda nice having a steady paycheck, knowing where my next meal's coming from, and not being tweaked all the time.

Steve Buchheit said...

Eric, I think that's a part of him using a formulaic process. And no, coking up isn't a recommended writing technique.

I, too, like having a steady paycheck that can support my writing habit. I've been debating the whole "pseudonymous" cranking out words to make cash flow, while keeping my own name for projects I like. But I don't think that's my path.