Why Do You Write?

Specifics about craft, talent, technique, etc.
Chris533
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Why Do You Write?

Postby Chris533 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:20 am

I know it's a false dichotomy, but if you had to choose a) or b) below - which would you choose?

a) an ability to churn out decent stories that sold in such numbers that you could quit your day job and just write for the rest of your life, but the stories had no staying power and no impact beyond just being something nice to read - they were quickly forgotten after being read - and never republished - and certainly completely forgotten after you died; or

b) an ability to write stories that were the kind that people thought about for the rest of their lives, that spurred them to be better people, that were republished over and over, even hundreds of years after you died, but you couldn't produce enough of these gems to support yourself and your family and so you never could quit your day job.
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disgruntledpeony
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Re: Why Do You Write?

Postby disgruntledpeony » Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:50 am

I refuse to make this choice. It's not fair. wotf004
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain
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morganb
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Re: Why Do You Write?

Postby morganb » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:26 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:I refuse to make this choice. It's not fair. wotf004


Ha ha! Werd. I vote for option c) Not only do I love the stuff I'm dreaming up, but other people love it enough to support me while I do it full time. It would be nice to reach a point where I'm actually losing money by NOT writing!


~Morgan
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RSchibler
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Re: Why Do You Write?

Postby RSchibler » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:39 am

I started writing because I had a story in my head, and, I've always wanted to be a writer. I kept writing because I discovered that I love the process- from creating to critiquing.

Except query letters. That sucked.

I agree with DisgruntledPeony. That question is a no-win. I'd settle for my stories being read by more than crit partners and Dave Farland wotf001
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amoskalik
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Re: Why Do You Write?

Postby amoskalik » Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:26 am

Let's be honest, either one would be awesome. I like (b) better though. I don't mind writing being a side gig, but giving my stories immortality, that would be truly special.
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Ishmael
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Re: Why Do You Write?

Postby Ishmael » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:11 pm

How would you know? People now considered geniuses were not necessarily so recognised in their lifetimes.

How many paintings did Van Gogh sell? Okay, the answer is actually one, not none as many people think. (The Red Vineyard at Arles).

Particularly in science fiction it's very easy for your work to be overtaken by science. Sometimes Jules Verne guessed right (20,000 Leagues) and sometimes wrong (From the Earth to the Moon). Didn't make him a bad writer.

And language evolves so much that we're always in danger of being seen as quaint by future generations who txtspk w/o grmr.

You do the best you can. The rest isn't up to you.
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Chris533
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Re: Why Do You Write?

Postby Chris533 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:40 pm

For me this was a thought experiment - I hope to do both of course. But I see advice about the need to write quickly if you want writing to be a career - and then other advice that you need to write slow - in order to fully develop your stories. The last story I worked on was about 20 pages, and it took about four months to write (it's now with my critique group - once I get my feedback and mull that over a bit - I'll make any needed changes and then submit it to the contest). Over that period of four months I kept developing more and more layers - learned more and more about what the story was really about rather than just the surface story. I don't know what I'll do if I ever win the contest - and/or have other success that gets me book deals - etc. Would I go for speed and trying to get lots of things out there or remain focused on quality? I think Rothfuss (maybe my favorite current writer) is erring on the side of quality - and as much as I hate waiting - I know his second book was far better than his first (which was pretty awesome already!). I saw a lot of development in his writing ability from the first to the second - will the third be even that much better???

At this point, for me, its kind of a moot issue since focusing on quality is still needed if I'm going to get anything published.

Also - I thought it funny - You probably are all subscribed to David Farland's emails - but in case not - he touched on this subject in his last that I just got - here it is on his blog (and I know - he's not saying you have to chose - as I said it was a false dichotomy - but if we're trying to get into his head a bit - and aren't we all?? - I think focusing on writing stories that mean something beyond themselves is probably a good idea! albeit without being preachy or overly didactic) http://davidfarland.com/2017/10/power-literature-transform-others/
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morganb
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Re: Why Do You Write?

Postby morganb » Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:12 am

I think you have to be very careful when you look at speed-to-market and the business side of writing. There are lots of pro writers who use ghostwriters to help them publish book after book after book. So when you see pro authors cranking out two or three or four novels a year, chances are good they've got an entire team working to help them drive that kind of volume.

~Morgan
"If you can do it for joy, you can do it forever."
- Stephen King

Infrequent posts about this whole writing experience...http://mbroadhead.blogspot.com/

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tparchie
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Re: Why Do You Write?

Postby tparchie » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:48 pm

Do you want to crank out a living, or art?
The answer to this has to be personal. I know a guy (we all know a guy) who cranked out a novel a month. You can't go back and make them better because the treadmill of life pulls you on. he's hired an editor so, in a sense, that's one answer to the question.
What do I do? I go to writing groups and read out my stuff. As I'm a genre writer, I only read out the bits with no zap guns, flying saucers etc.
I write because I've a lot to say. Mostly I experiment. Is it art if it's not in the public domain?
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Ishmael
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Re: Why Do You Write?

Postby Ishmael » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:14 am

tparchie wrote: Is it art if it's not in the public domain?



The standard answer is to point out Van Gogh sold only one paiting in his lifetime. On the other hand, I for one certainly started with the notion that my work didn't sell because it was too artistic for the uncomprehending market. The truth, as I now know, is my work wasn't good enough at the time. I know this because I can point to several ways in which my present work is better, yet my present work seems to sell, at least sometimes.
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Martin L. Shoemaker
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Re: Why Do You Write?

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:42 am

morganb wrote:I think you have to be very careful when you look at speed-to-market and the business side of writing. There are lots of pro writers who use ghostwriters to help them publish book after book after book. So when you see pro authors cranking out two or three or four novels a year, chances are good they've got an entire team working to help them drive that kind of volume.

~Morgan


Or not. Contest judge Kevin J. Anderson has no ghostwriters. He just dictates two chapters a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. 730 chapters a year.

Contest judge Dean Wesley Smith writes a novel a month at his cruising speed. He can go faster.

Dean and Kevin are both New York Times bestsellers.

My Nebula-nominated story "Today I Am Paul" was written in an hour. After first reader feedback, I spent another fifteen minutes revising the last three paragraphs. As of Tuesday, that one has been printed or reprinted 16 times in 9 languages. In just over 2 years. (Soon to be a novel, I hope.)

"There are nine-and-sixty ways
Of constructing tribal lays,
And every-single-one-of-them-is-right!"
-- Rudyard Kipling


Some fast writers use ghostwriters, some don't.

Some fast writers ARE ghostwriters. They have enough time in their schedules to make money on the side.

Some great art is written quickly. Some is written slowly. (Some schlock is written quickly, some slowly.)

All you can do is find your own way.
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michaeljwyantjr
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Re: Why Do You Write?

Postby michaeljwyantjr » Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:56 am

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:Some fast writers use ghostwriters, some don't.

Some fast writers ARE ghostwriters. They have enough time in their schedules to make money on the side.

Some great art is written quickly. Some is written slowly. (Some schlock is written quickly, some slowly.)

All you can do is find your own way.


I'd have to say the one big thing to keep in mind with any high volume, well published writer is that they likely have a team of editors and such handy. They can pump out their admittedly great content rapidly, then shuffle it off for review and editing. That's something we all have to do ourselves.

Honestly, that's the only real thing I'm looking forward to if/when I'm able to "make it".
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Martin L. Shoemaker
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Re: Why Do You Write?

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:06 am

Absolutely. Build your support network.

They're also simply faster. Musicians get better and faster with practice. So do artists, engineers, doctors, mathematicians... Any profession you can name. And so do writers. Five years ago, 3,000 words per day felt impossible to me. Now it feels like slacking. I've had 15,000-word days, because I'm comfortable in the habit.
http://Shoemaker.Space
Other worlds from award-winning author Martin L. Shoemaker

WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT!
REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT!
Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience.
NNiNN

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disgruntledpeony
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Re: Why Do You Write?

Postby disgruntledpeony » Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:54 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:Five years ago, 3,000 words per day felt impossible to me. Now it feels like slacking. I've had 15,000-word days, because I'm comfortable in the habit.


I can do 3,000 words on a good day, but I haven't had a good day in awhile. I've been stressed all the time lately, and trying to shake that stress in order to write really eats into the actual writing time.
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain
2015, Q4: R
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2017: SHM, n/a, F, R


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