“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.”
Oy vey! As if writing isn’t tough enough already, it seems that we’ve entered the fast line in the dream factory. What’s this mean, exactly? Well, the e-book era has ramped up the demands on authors to write more and to write it more quickly. As one novelist put it, “…today the culture is a big hungry maw, and you have to feed it. “What’s going on here?
Forget speed dating, now we’re into speed writing! Just as the pace of everyday life is quickening, so is the pressure on authors — especially in mystery, thriller, and romance genres– to churn out more material for readers who are used to downloading books and getting instant gratification.
Many popular authors used to write a book a year on a regular basis, which their fans eagerly awaited. A book a year! That sounds like a lot to me — but guess what: apparently that’s not enough. Beleaguered publishers are fighting with many other forms of entertainment for people’s attention. As a result, they are eagerly searching for new ways to keep readers hooked in between their authors’ books. So they are encouraging writers to churn out short stories, novellas, and anything else they can think of.
In some cases, authors are using short-form fiction in digital form to entice readers to pick up their newest books. Lee Childs, a British thriller writer, is writing short stories in digital form in order to boost demand for his upcoming novels. “Everyone is doing a little more,” Lee laments. “It seems like we’re all running faster to stay in the same place.”
I wonder if all this scurrying around to feed the hungry digital beast is a good idea. It took Herman Melville years and years to pen the fabulous Moby Dick. And I know our boy Gustave was a painstaking craftsman who sometimes rewrote the same page 12 times in his quest for just the right turn of phrase. That’s how he wrote the masterpiece Madame Bovary. Don’t think he was churning out short stories in between pages!
Is all this churning out of books and stories really a good idea — or just more hype from a world insane for speed? What do you think?