Friday, 19 April 2013

Quantity and Outlining

A few thoughts, all jumbled up together this time. First is on quantity of output. One thing I've noticed is that authors at the moment seem to be aiming for relatively high output. Even quite famous authors seem to have multiple projects on the go, while e-book based authors in particular seem to put work out at a tremendous rate.

I'm not complaining about this. Indeed, as a ghost writer, I tend to write a lot of stuff myself. But it is interesting that quantity seems to have become one of the key dynamics of the writing game at the moment. Rather than that one big hit, it feels like everyone is aiming for multiple smaller ones, with each one making just enough of a profit. Yet there's also a balancing act there. It's easy to rush things, and settle for producing something okay when you could produce something that will be life changing for the reader.

My other thought was on outlining. I change the way I plan a lot, yet the ability to sit down and simply write out a one or two page synopsis seems to have been at the heart of all the novels I've finished. If I can do that, I know that I know the shape of the story, complete with the ending and the major stops along the way. If I can't, then there's probably a problem in there that I haven't seen in other planning.

1 comment:

Allyson Lindt said...

As far as quantity is concerned, I think a lot of authors are getting the message that it has to be done that way. Since we can't all be best sellers, we should aim for more books to make up for it. I completely agree that this should never be done at the cost of quality though. Writing fast != writing well.

Outlining...I agree there too. The books I finish are those I can sit down and summarize before I even start. If I dive in without at least a loose plan, I never tend to go anywhere past a scene or two.