The Need For Speed—Is Faster Better?

I recently read an article by about writing fast—a book every two weeks. And I have to admit to a sense of…utter disbelief…and it really got my panties in a bunch.

I do not normally talk trash about other authors (and in the current publishing climate this is truly becoming harder and harder to do…), let alone without reading their work, but I have to admit to having a huge element of doubt as to the “density” of prose, especially when I read a published article by said author that had a period placed outside the end-quotes in a sentence (e.g., “…the ‘thing’.”), and don’t even get me started on the platform that allowed that to be published, which is supposed to be some Big Time company. I mean…nothing personal, but I’ve never heard of this person. Sure, I’m not all that well read, and sure, I’ll now have to look up this person’s work, but I just can’t fathom a continuous effort where books are written in only two weeks and are actually any kind of “good,” I don’t care who that author is (well, maybe Stephen King)….

Fast forward a couple of minutes: I just now sampled one of this person’s most-recent works on Amazon. I rest my case.

Just reading the Prologue was brutal—nothing but short, choppy sentences. Later on, mixed sentence structure was employed, but then I immediately noticed a few places where commas were missing. And the story just didn’t interest me and seemed rather basic. Tired. Clichéd. Same Ol’.

No, I’m not going to mention the author, but my point is I don’t believe most authors (i.e., 99.99%) can do even a good job in two weeks and keep that paced indefinitely, and, frankly, I’m getting tired of hearing about it. Tired of said modus operandi (M.O.) constantly being promoted. And also frankly I’m getting tired hearing about how fans want books every two weeks and how we’re supposed to utterly cater to them. That writing 26 books a year is the new normal.

What the hell is the matter with you people?

I will say, however, that any author who can come up with that many solid novel ideas is pretty creative. Yes, that is incredible you have that many novels in your head. Now…take the time to properly develop them!

A couples of things:

  1. I looked for the publisher, found the name, and searched for it. Couldn’t find it, so it’s self-published.
  2. The article did not say how long of a pace this writer was keeping this up at, doing a novel in two weeks. Was this only a six months effort? Two? In fact the article promoting this individual should have mentioned how long this author had been doing it, but conveniently left that out.
  3. The author didn’t say anything new about the writing process. It was all basic writing M.O.
  4. This again proves my point that most readers don’t give a crap as to how well-written a book is.
  5. Having said #4, doing this really dilutes the curated word. Sure, the well-written word is appreciated in certain circles, but I maintain that it largely goes unnoticed by the Common Reader, or they just don’t care (this does not mean I feel books should be published in such a poor, unedited state!).
  6. [If everyone did this it would] Totally saturate the market—and not in a good way.
  7. Why the hell is everyone in such a goddamned hurry?

I blame the Internet.

I’ve said this before. I blame smartphones and the Internet for short attention spans and for the perceived need to have everything NOW.

And I will add to this that I blame publishing’s Bean Counters for forcing the perceived need to cater to the perceived need to write 26 novels a year.

And I used to think two novels a year excessive!

So here I ask all of you…readers and writers: GET A LIFE.

No one needs to write 26 books a year.

Get your faces out of your hand-held computers and do something else. Go outside! Life was not meant to be lived on computer screens!

Okay, point taken, that was my humble opinion.

I love it that there are voracious readers out there, and dedicated, highly creative writers, but you will kill yourself indefinitely writing at that pace (if you can even do it), which will include such things as carpal tunnel syndrome, bad backs, weight gain, metabolic issues, and eye problems, since nearly all of us use computers, and staring into these screens is not good for anyone (hint: there are computer glasses out there you really need to buy).

I don’t care how studly and hot you are now in the gym…if you’re sitting that much and writing that much, you’re not doing anything else. Like standing…or carrying on meaningful relationships with people…engaging life in general…or developing a personality. With all that writing comes all the other things: packaging, publishing, and promoting, because I can pretty much bet that your work is not being picked up at traditional houses. Nothing gets done in two weeks at traditional houses. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. Read my point, not so much my words.

I used to kinda be that way. Every free waking moment working on a manuscript. In my “cave.” Sure, I was productive, but it got me nowhere. I don’t do that anymore.

Readers…stop demanding this of us! Chill!

Sure, it’s flattering that you love our work, but go do something else and practice some personal restraint. Practice some Away Time from your screens. There are so many freaking authors out there now, read someone else. Don’t drive authors to carpal tunnel surgery! Don’t drive them to drink, depression, or frustration, because they can’t make real or perceived unrealistic deadlines!

Bean Counters: BE REASONABLE.

Stop being greedy!

Everything is NOT about money or the Bottom Line. No, it’s not. Even in business. Creating a good business model is about delivering a kick-ass product and/or service. You do that, the money will come. How about developing a better strategy to deal with the current New Normal in publishing, whether it’s Amazon or anyone else, which would better benefit the world and not send writers to doctors? How about going back to curating a well-written word, and not just publishing something you know will sell, which is poorly written, poorly constructed? Something that is not like everything else already out there? Just because something is being asked for does not mean it has to be delivered. And if I really have to explain that, good freaking LORD, where the hell IS that moon-sized meteoroid?!

Writers: DON’T ENABLE STUPID THINKING.

Do not enable greed.

Do not fall into this ludicrous trap.

And, please, please, if you’re gonna writing anything, give it the due diligence it deserves and take your time! Properly develop that story! Properly edit your story! Work your stories over until they positively radiate (you were expecting “shine” weren’t you? See? Don’t do the expected…)!

You’re writers, for crying out loud…supposed to use that noggin better than the average bear. THINK about what it is you’re doing. Step back and look at what you think are the  words of God. I want to see these 26-books-a-year writers in five years. I mean, not really, because I’m sure they’ll be spent and have more physical (and possibly psychological) problems…but even if not…I just can’t believe that the output-content would be anything but less-than stellar. I don’t believe it can be maintained—and I mean GOOD storytelling at 40-80,000+ words a clip.

Slow. Down.

Don’t be in such a hurry.

Before you know it you’ll be my age and wonder where your life had gone.

Enjoy your life…stop trying to blast through it.

Thank you for your time and attention.

 

 

About fpdorchak

Speculative and paranormal fiction author. Please check out my website: https://www.fpdorchak.com/. Thank you for stopping by!
This entry was posted in Books, To Be Human, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Need For Speed—Is Faster Better?

  1. I was blown away by a recent interview with Amanda Lee, who writes books faster than I thought was humanly possible. I used to write at least 50k words every month when I was a freelance copywriter, but these days I tend to only pick up jobs that actually interest me. It was crazy. Chasing money is not a long-term prospect. Burnout is very real.

    • fpdorchak says:

      That’s pretty good! Yeah I used to write 100k first drafts in a month, but then take 2-3 years to complete each novel! And that’s with a full-time+ day job, and obviously not every month. To each their own, but I’m tired of the “have to”! Thanks for the comment and stopping by!

  2. Karen Lin says:

    Like you, I suspect the writer doesn’t put out many of his books after literally only 2 weeks writing them… once or twice, maybe. I definitely wouldn’t have a life if I did that. That being said, i did write a screenplay in two weeks (with very few edits after) and it won awards and has had an offer of purchase and has been successfully used as an audition for writer for hire It can happen when the story and characters tell themselves on paper. Certainly the case in that script. But I’ve never been able to duplucate it. Wish I could do that every now and then. My latest project (novel) has been in the works for a few years! Prefer quick… but this story doesn’t lend itself to quick.

    I think you are right partly about what readers want. If you have a good story and characters you can get away with pretty bad writing. But not if those two things aren’t interesting.

    As to the industry wanting us to crank them out, It’s their job to make money thus no surprise and won’t change anytime in our lifetimes… unless money is no longer a part of our world. No breath-holding here.

    And Periods are outside the quotes if you are British. Was the author American? 🙂

    • fpdorchak says:

      American author, American publication. How funny—I’d forgotten about that!

      Well, you’re a genius when it comes to screenplays, but screenplays aren’t the same as novels. A full-on, in-depth story EVERY two weeks, for even a couple of months—I just cannot believe it. With a minimum of 40-80,000 words?

      And when I say that the Common Reader doesn’t “give a crap” about the writing, I don’t mean that negatively, I should make that clear. It just means that in my experience, from what I’ve seen and heard they just don’t care. Nothing good or bad about it, it just is. But as you mentioned, there has to be SOME redeeming value to the work, which is usually the characters or the (high concept?) story itself. I think all the hype on “our writing has to be pristine and error free” is by the agents and editors. Because that’s their job…but on the other hand that IS our job, to be as pristine and error free as possible. I know I don’t want to read a piece full of errors. But by the same token, I just no longer believe that if an editor finds a few misplaced commas or dangling participles in my work does NOT mean it should be passed on. It really seems that for the most part readers just don’t care about that kinda stuff—if there are other redeeming values to the work.

      As to the “It’s their job to make money,” that’s a given, but it still does not give them the right to force unrealistic expectations upon us. It’s plain bullshit. No business can make enough money, if you listen to them, but I still maintain that you provide a great product/service, the money will come. It should not be the other way around. It appears as if big publishing is trying to compensate for an outdated business model with sales…which seems obviously insane to me. But what do I know?

      This was about speed versus quality…and I think the whole world has gone freaking crazy. There’s a time and a place for speed…and a time and a place for focused concentration.

  3. rdmonroe5 says:

    Good morning. This is the first time I have ever commented on a blog post. New terrain for me- an unmarked trail. We’ll see where it leads.
    I have read this post several times, all the comments, and given it some thought. Admittedly, there is much I don’t know- especially when it comes to writing and publishing. I’ve got a great deal to learn. I will likely never even be in the league of all the literary giants out there. But I do learn pretty good.
    I like to write short. It’s a challenge to myself. What’s the shortest route to the summit? Got to bust some trail to do that sometimes.
    I have lived a bit of life (we all have). Some of it more than a bit rough. Learned some stuff along the way.
    Just maybe there are a lot of different motivations in life, different routes, off-trail hikes.Perhaps it’s okay if we each choose our own methods & routes; in both writing, and in life.
    I started my blog for reasons of my own. Many of them personal. Some of them professional. My pace & my pace count are purely my own.
    Maybe, just maybe, the true “Judge” of what constitutes “good writing”- what defines what is or is not “too much too fast”- is the reader.
    If readers like it- doesn’t that make it good? If it uplifts or motivates or inspires a reader in some way- doesn’t that make it good?
    If it provokes thought and discussion….doesn’t that make it good?
    I’ve read your post several times- and all the comments too. It has provoked thought within me- doesn’t that make your post good?
    I did not check it for spelling or punctuation though- we graduated English class some 40 years ago. We’ve lived a lot of life. I think we get to bend some rules. Make some of our own.
    As to pace- doesn’t each writer set their own? If you’re winded or dehydrated- slow down. If you’re losing daylight- speed up. Lots of factors go into determining pace, on any given day,any given trail, seems to me.
    I'[m probably way wrong, and way out of line. but it wouldn’t be the first time. I’m sure it won’t be the last.
    Another thought- if one finds one’s panties in a bunch- why wear panties in the first place? Try boxers!
    I find they let things breathe a lot easier- and they don’t tend to chafe.
    I did enjoy your post. It did make me think. And make my first blog comment.
    Thus- as a reader,I judged it as “good”.
    Oh- and now I will now ALWAYS make sure my periods are outside the quotes- A salute to our British Allies from “Across the Pond”.
    Bloody well write!

  4. fpdorchak says:

    rdmonroe5: I’ve responded by keeping your original comments in there and nesting my responses. Look for “FPD” for my responses. I hope WordPress does not jumble all my paragraphs together (I’d separated all of them for ease of reading).

    Thank you for time and effort and I hope I’ve better clarified those areas I’d perhaps confused you about….


    rdmonroe5: Good morning. This is the first time I have ever commented on a blog post. New terrain for me- an unmarked trail. We’ll see where it leads.

    FPD: I’m honored I was your first comment interaction and I congratulation you for your foray into these strange and ofttimes vexing waters. I also thank you for taking the time to write such an expansive comment!

    rdmonroe5: I have read this post several times, all the comments, and given it some thought. Admittedly, there is much I don’t know- especially when it comes to writing and publishing. I’ve got a great deal to learn. I will likely never even be in the league of all the literary giants out there. But I do learn pretty good. I like to write short. It’s a challenge to myself. What’s the shortest route to the summit? Got to bust some trail to do that sometimes.

    FPD: The so-called “shortest route” is self publishing, also called Independent (or “Indy”) publishing. BTW, the terms “Hybrid” is used to define those authors who do both the Indy and Traditional House (the traditional publishers, like Random House, et al) publishing. But all routes come with a price…consequences. If you “summit” too quickly or unprepared you risk “exhaustion” and “injury”…such as putting work out that that isn’t ready and is fraught with errors and developmental issues because it was rushed (hence my concern with “writing too fast”). You can then lose a readership you haven’t even yet gained, even though you may have gained a handful of readers. If that doesn’t bother you, then you’ve found your summit. But then, once you’ve gained experience and knowledge, and as you look back on your earlier works, you might well question having put out something obviously not ready for the mountain top…so you redo your work…working it properly…and republish it. Among issues with that is you just “wasted” time and effort redoing something that should have been properly performed in the first place, and instead put said effort into going forward…creating new work.

    FPD: Again…if you don’t care…then do so.

    FPD: But then what this does is it also takes readers away, in both time and attention, to read something that isn’t as good as it could be, when their time and attention could have been better suited to something “more ready for prime time.” This may also not be an issue for you, but then as you get better, these same readers may not read you again (or they might!), because of having been “burned” (disappointed) by your earlier work. There is one quite famous author I am not reading again, unless I have more time to see “their” (using “their” is an arguable construct to do when you don’t want to address “she’s” or “he’s”) improvement, because of how utterly juvenile their initial release was—which had been universally panned—yet I stayed with it to the end because of the high concept. But I freaking cursed every damned page, which was embarrassingly covered in errors. I could not believe such a thing had ever been released by a major publisher.

    FPD: So why waste all this wheel-spinning when you could do it right the first time?

    FPD: This is just one scenario. Again, none of this might bother you, so, yes, you’ll do what you will, because you can. And I’m saying that this is every individual’s right…but I’m asking that people do not rush their efforts and enjoy the journey. Enjoy the journey of doing something properly. Enjoy the journey of the journey itself, of you learning the ropes, creating drafts upon drafts of dreck until something finally takes—or you realize writing is not your thing and discovering where you talents really do lie.

    FPD: The fact that you ask that very question: “What is the shortest route to the summit?” shows there is much better preparation needed than just given a map with a hidden trail. As in all good quests, many paths, especially those set to “top” anything, are so fraught with many dangers. Mentally as well as physically. Even—and usually—spiritually. So many writers have inflicted damage upon themselves, because of real or perceived issues. And I’m sure they, too, have all thought “not me.” And sure, I may be making a grand show it, now, but I may not. I’ve seen people in various occupations try to hurry. Try to get there faster and better, but all I usually see are those who don’t understand what they’re getting into and can’t handle it once they’ve gotten “there.” And some very well do “make it” and thrive. Again, you’ve heard this before: exceptions rather than rules. And If you and others reading this are the exceptions, then more power to all of you. But in either case, I wish you all well, but urge you and all others to properly prepare for your summits, pack the proper gear, properly prepare yourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually, and know when to bivouac or even turn back when the weather, terrain, or outcome looks deadly. Climb another day.

    FPD: I’m asking all writers out there to enjoy the journey and do it “right.” Not my kind of right, but right in that we all take the time to develop our talents, whatever they are, and to avoid the ruts in the trial of every other “expert” out there telling us how things should be done that just don’t ring true.

    FPD: And how do you find out what “rings true”?

    FPD: By the journey.

    FPD: By proper research and trial-and-error.

    FPD: What works for YOU.

    FPD: By incorporating information from those who’ve been there/still climbing and genuinely mean you no harm, who are also not trying to elevate their own talents or stature by telling you how damned “good” and “godlike” they are, and “Follow me and you’ll bypass every needed stop along the way and get there before everyone else!”

    FPD: I’m telling you is you summit too quickly you will most likely dehydrate your efforts. Will exhaust your efforts. May very well hamstring them.

    FPD: But you may not.

    FPD: Initiate YOUR journey…give it the due diligence it deserves…and find out. Another very important point to consider is this: let us not try to pollute the world with our words and thoughts, but try to make it a better place. There is so much pollution out there already. Junk. We truly need more “clean” words, “clean” messages. I mean spiritually. In presentation. Don’t just make trash because everyone’s doing it and making money. Rise above and take the High Road. Please tell me you understand this.

    rdmonroe5: I have lived a bit of life (we all have). Some of it more than a bit rough. Learned some stuff along the way.

    rdmonroe5: Just maybe there are a lot of different motivations in life, different routes, off-trail hikes.Perhaps it’s okay if we each choose our own methods & routes; in both writing, and in life.

    FPD: I’m not nor am I ever against that, and if I gave that impression to you in my post, I apologize, because that was never my intent. I, too, have gone off-trail plenty of times. I’m still not at my summit—and I’m in my late 50s and have been writing since I was six years old. I have bivouacked and lean-to’d many times…still am. Have even gone back down, only to restart. I am the cautionary tale of the guy who thought sure he’d make it because he’d come across all manner of poor and ill-thought-out and hurried stories and thought sooner or later my work would find its heralded success (and, yes, I do have an audience of dedicated readers). I am one who went into self publishing before it was a thing—and now see so many poorly packaged works out performing anything I’ve ever done. And that’s not saying that my work is stellar…but if it is bad, then why isn’t it doing half as well as other work out there? I’ve done things in writing that were hammered into all of us as “wrong,” yet I constantly questioned those stances and was told I was still wrong. Now many do those same things that I had been so criticized for doing (two examples are messing with time: use of flashbacks, flashforwards, et cetera, and another is how I portray interior dialogue). You see, it has not happened for me, and I’ve come to terms with that…but am still open to the future. And I still write. I don’t feel any part the “victim” nor “poor me.” I know myself, I know my writing for what it is. But I am human, and now and again, as easygoing as I am, things trip my Bullshit Wire, and I have to vent. Have to try, in some small measure, to alert others our there that no, not everyone subscribes to whatever trumpeting is currently being portrayed out there.

    FPD: And so you do take that off-trail? What then? Are you expecting to rise to the attention of Summit Gate Keepers just by doing that? Look around you—nowadays, EVERYONE writes. At that summit are a shit-ton of others, just like you. That…is the New Normal. I do hope for the best for everyone, and I do hope that you make your dream. Why wouldn’t I? I don’t wish ill will on anyone. I always wish the best for every human (and animal) out there…but there are consequences to every action, intended, or otherwise.

    rdmonroe5: I started my blog for reasons of my own. Many of them personal. Some of them professional. My pace & my pace count are purely my own.

    FPD: Of course! Again, I never meant to imply everyone “write slow.” I merely meant that everyone give due diligence to their work. I used to be told that I was a fast writer! I was railing against the notion that “If you do this, you, too, can write faster than everyone else out there and be as freaking successful as I am!” Or that by doing so, this, this is what all writers need to now aspire to. That it is the New Normal. To write one book every two weeks. I still maintain this is faulty and damaging logic! You can still give your work the proper attention it deserves and “write quickly.” Such is exactly what happened, for example, in the bike racing industry: everyone started illegal doping…and some got caught—and it absolutely ruined their careers. But since “everyone was doing it,” the bikes felt justified in lying about it, because—in their minds—they’d factored it out, the doping, because EVERYONE was doing it. Sure, some gained much stardom…but at least I’ve noticed I haven’t seen much mentioned about road biking much anymore—but maybe that’s just me.

    rdmonroe5: Maybe, just maybe, the true “Judge” of what constitutes “good writing”- what defines what is or is not “too much too fast”- is the reader.

    FPD: I’ve already stated my position, but in addition I add, that no, “good writing” is not defined by the masses of anything, and it is certainly not defined by readers. It is defined by absolute standards developed by experts in the field. These standards are interpreted by those as they will be, “right or wrong.” Pick something you know a great deal about…have you ever made the judgement that someone else doing this same thing sucked or just wasn’t good enough? By what standards did you use? I can bet they were by a set of standards that experts in the field developed, and not by the masses performing those actions—I could be wrong, but I’ll wager that guess.

    FPD: I maintain that when readers say so-and-so is a “good writer” what they may usually mean is that they LIKE the work. Which is all that matters! This is what I’m saying: that the physical writing of words on a page simply does not matter—or matter a small fraction—exactly because there are so many opinions about what is “good writing” by the masses. But SOMETHING in that piece of work MUST matter. And it’s usually the story and/or characters. Writing should be transparent. I’m just trying to keep the practice “elevated.”

    FPD: There are defined and vetted standards in HOW to write. Most people do not know all of them (I frequently have to reference tomes). And I can pick up so many novels and point out errors in them, and I am far from an expert. But that doesn’t even necessarily bother me…if there is some redeeming quality to the work. I am not a grammar snob, but I also will stop reading if there are far too many errors on a page, because I am a writer and I notice that kind of thing. More than one or two on a page can turn me away. Depends on my state of mind.

    rdmonroe5: If readers like it- doesn’t that make it good? If it uplifts or motivates or inspires a reader in some way- doesn’t that make it good?

    FPD: I’ve answered above.

    rdmonroe5: If it provokes thought and discussion….doesn’t that make it good?

    FPD: Of course—again that was not my point in the original post.

    rdmonroe5: I’ve read your post several times- and all the comments too. It has provoked thought within me- doesn’t that make your post good?

    rdmonroe5: I did not check it for spelling or punctuation though- we graduated English class some 40 years ago. We’ve lived a lot of life. I think we get to bend some rules. Make some of our own.

    FPD: Again, I’ve addressed these. Of course you can…and if enough agents/editors/readers feel it works, then you’ve succeeded in blazing new trails!

    rdmonroe5: As to pace- doesn’t each writer set their own? If you’re winded or dehydrated- slow down. If you’re losing daylight- speed up. Lots of factors go into determining pace, on any given day,any given trail, seems to me.

    FPD: I’ve addressed this.

    rdmonroe5: I'[m probably way wrong, and way out of line. but it wouldn’t be the first time. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

    FPD: You’re not “wrong.” You’re exploring. That is as it should be. Keep doing so! Keep asking questions! Making your OWN interpretations! And, please, don’t take my words as “gospel.” I am far from a preacher! But I truly want to help where I can. Give grounded input to all the crazy out there…or at the very least a differing perspective to the “secret du Jour.”

    rdmonroe5: Another thought- if one finds one’s panties in a bunch- why wear panties in the first place? Try boxers! I find they let things breathe a lot easier- and they don’t tend to chafe.

    FPD: Oy. Touché.

    rdmonroe5: I did enjoy your post. It did make me think. And make my first blog comment.

    FPD: Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughtful comments! You are on the proper journey, sound properly prepared, toward your summit. I wish all the best! Just, please, hydrate….

    rdmonroe5: Thus- as a reader,I judged it as “good”.

    FPD: Thank you.

    rdmonroe5: Oh- and now I will now ALWAYS make sure my periods are outside the quotes- A salute to our British Allies from “Across the Pond”. Bloody well write!

    FPD: I…wish you the best with that, rdmonroe5. But bring bug dope. Lots of it.

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