Sunday, August 03, 2008

Three Books in 10 Months

With any luck come October, I will have had three books published in less than a year. This is something I haven't done since the beginning of the 1990s. It's fun after the fact, and friends make jokes about the "Banks Book of the Month Club."
I hear of other writers doing books really fast. Michael Crichton says he writers a book in six weeks, leaving New York to live in a Florida condo while writing. (The last two times I went to Florida, I think I wrote a total of 8 days out of five weeks. (Distractions, distractions ...) Jack Nimmersheim wrote one of his computer books in one week, back in the 1980s. Harry Turtledove is cranking out 500-page novels so quickly I can't count them.
I have written a few books in 12 or 14 weeks, so I suppose I shouldn't be impressed. Those were computer books, which often come with a lot of pressure because someone's changing the product while you're writing, and you have to go back and rewrite, and the publisher wants to know if you can get the book in a little early. At the other end of that, Dean Lambe and I drifted along for 11 months writing the science fiction novel The Odyesses Solution, which proves my contention that collaborations take longer than solo work. And it took me 20 months to write my first book. The editor and I agreed that it took that long because the person I had been when I started it couldn't have written the book--something like that.
Anyway never again (which is probably what I said last time). What am I writing next? Well, I have this novel I've been writing off and on for several years ... but there's a new novel bugging me ... and I have an offer for a biography. But it comes such a tiny advance that I can't afford to write it this year. So, I'll have to come up with something new.

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