Last Week’s WW: Writing A Large Cast

In a perfect world, they would go hand in hand.  But the world often isn’t perfect.

I’m getting ready to release my first novel.  It took me 6 weeks to write the first draft, and 2 years to get it to, what I consider to be, a publishable quality.  The more I write, the better I get.  In those two years, my writing skills have increased considerably, and I have a lot of projects lined up this year.  My goal is to be a great writer who happens to write fast.  My dream is to be a full-time author.

I’ve read a lot of advice about writing over the past few years, and there seems to be two schools of thought on it. 

1st is the more traditional approach – Study, read a lot, practice, write and rewrite, give every project your all and always improve.  This is the slower approach.  This takes time, editing, and lots of probing and thought to make your story deeper and more unique.

2nd approach is one that I’ve seen come up a lot recently- Write fast.  That’s it.  Write fast.  Put out stories every 2 weeks or every month.  If it’s not an instant hit, abandon it.  If people like it, make it a series and churn out another 12 books in that universe.  But write fast and get it out!

I’m especially concerned with this because I’ve beta read things that feel like first drafts, and even worse, ARC read things that feel like beta reads.

With today’s instant upload abilities, I could have self-published my book ages ago.  But, in my opinion, no first draft is ever good enough to publish.  Even edited, I don’t think a once over would be enough.  And I wonder how well you can edit a book if you’re putting one out every 2 weeks or every month?

To be fair, I’m planning a serial this year.  But I’ve been working on it for some time, and I’ll have it revised, edited, beta read, and arc read before releasing them every two weeks.  (for a total of 5 stories)  This, I get.  If you collect a finished work, and release it on a scheduled.  But if you write as you go, and pump out a new novelette or full length novel every couple weeks, it feels improbable to me that it would end up being a great work.

So, here’s the question (if you’re a writer): Are you writing for love or for money?

Are you writing a story that you’re excited to write?  One that has gotten you up in the morning and plagued your thoughts until you finally get it on ‘paper’?  Are you putting out the best, most polished work that you can?  Are you committed to getting better at your craft?

Or are you writing for book sales first and foremost?  Are you willing to put out a sub-par product to make a profit?

I’m not saying either is wrong.  I’m not even certain that these ideas are completely mutually exclusive.  Although, I think that the latter can hurt self-published writer’s reputations as a whole.  I’ve seen big names pick the second choice, which worries me.  And I’ve seen a lot of people saying that if you want to succeed these days, you’ve got to write, eh, okay, as long as it’s fast.  I can knock out 2-5k a day.  (I write in burst right now, however, so I don’t do it every day).  But I feel that even if I wrote that much every day, I still wouldn’t be able to produce quality books in the suggested time frames necessary for “success”.  I need someone else to read my work and point out things that I’ve missed, things that are unclear or that I know but didn’t make it into the book.  When you go back over your own book, it’s easy to read what you meant to write, rather than what you did write. It often takes other people to point that out, which slows the process further.

Like I said, in a perfect world, I’d write well and I’d write fast, and I’d be a full-time author.  And I’m putting in all my effort to make that a reality.  For me, I think that putting my best effort forward is my goal.  I want to write something that people will enjoy.  I don’t think that I could sacrifice quality for quantity, even if it allowed me to quit my day job.

This post isn’t meant to offend anyone.  And I apologize if it’s repetitive.  I simply think that it’s a thought worth thinking about.