Thursday, June 13, 2013

Simmering on the Back Burner

I think I must be one of those people who has to ponder ideas for a looooong time before implementing them. My first book, Dancer's Delight was the product of several years of mental planning. In fact, I carried the kernel of the idea of Mystic Valley around for about twenty-five years. By the time I sat down to write it, the background details were pretty well set.

I had no schedule for that first book. I knew very little about publishing so I had no notion of the expected amount of time to finish it. I just wrote. From beginning to end, I spent almost two years on it. And if I had it to do over, there are numerous things I would change in revisions, but that's mostly because I've changed as a writer.

Publishing has changed drastically since I blithely sent off that first book. Authors who only produce one book a year find their sales suffer enormously. Readers devour books with the voraciousness of locusts, no longer content to wait for the annual offering from their favorite authors.

The competition is fiercer with so many authors entering the field, whether from the New York publishers, online publishers or independent self-publishing. There's an unconscious urge to produce faster, faster, faster...a notion the reader will forget the author if their works aren't at the forefront every day.

It seems to me that doesn't say much for the author's capabilities. For at least the last three years--and maybe more--I find myself buying fewer and fewer books. That's not only due to rising costs and shrinking income.

The bald truth is I'm finding fewer books worthy of my hard earned dollars. Authors I loved and kept on auto-buy five years ago no longer hold my interest. Short stories churned out of the writing mills offer less and less sustenance for the mind and soul. They have little entertainment value and nothing to offer the mind. Vocabulary is shrinking.

For comfort I turn to old favorites. Dorothy L. Sayers. Louis L'Amour. John D. MacDonald. Tony Hillerman. Mary Stewart. Georgette Heyer. Helen MacInnes. Alistair MacLean.

A personal epiphany dawned. I don't write quickly. The only reason I produced so many books my first year of writing was because I'd carried those idea around with me for so long during my 'rearing kids and working' years. Now that most of the internal stories have been written, I take longer to work out the details. And of course, the story is in the details.



  1. I totally agree with you. Stories - not books as there is no length to them, are churned out at an alarming rate of knots in ebook land and I don't buy ebooks any more due to predictability and lack of quality. I stick solely to paperbacks where sex is not the whole plot

  2. It's taking me longer too. I blurted everything out all at once, now I'm taking my time.