I recently started answering some questions over on Quora. I thought I’d share them here now. This particular question is a good one, one that is asked a lot…
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Lots of people will be telling you “they write crap.” They aren’t completely wrong. There are some authors who do churn out “crap”, but what you call crap and what the readers like might be the same thing.
Take James Patterson for example. He writes a lot of books, and he sells A LOT of books. He sells them because people love them. Even Chuck Tingle, who clearly writes toward the ridiculous, can churn out a book a week, and sells enough books to never work again.
Then there’s Stephen King who wrote so many books a year that he kept manuscripts in his drawer because the editors refused to publish more than one a year. He eventually publishd under a pseudonym just so that he could do something with the work he had done. And he has contributed a huge amount of work to the horror genre, and inspired many people to build upon his foundations.
List of prolific writers – Wikipedia who have more than 150 books to their name, some with more than 1000. Nora Roberts, RL Stine, Issac Asimov, and more.
Are they geniuses? You might consider some of them to be. But really, if you pay attention to what these authors have to say you realize that it isn’t genius that drives them. They simply want to create a story, and they write it. They don’t agonize over every word, or rewrite 50 times like their counterparts who write less than a book a year. They just write. In Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury and On Writing Stephen King both authors insist that anyone can write. Bradbury even suggests writing a short story a week every week for a year (because no one can write 52 bad short stories.)
2k to 10k: Writing Faster, by Rachel Aaron and 5, 000 Words Per Hour by Chris Fox offer some fantastic tips and tricks to help you write more consistently, and steadily increase your word count per day. Because really that’s what it comes down to. The more you write the more words you have down on a page, and the faster you get to the end of a novel. The more you practice writing the better your writing becomes. The more finished novels, short stories and novels you have the more practice you have at completing work.
Writing, noveling, is a job. A plummer can’t take a day off because he just doesn’t feel like it. An neither can an author. Call it crap if you want (and clearly a lot of people do) but that doesn’t mean you can’t write a good novel quickly if you just take the time to do so.