…that’s roughly the rate that the incredibly prolific James Reasoner is writing. Amazing. On his blog today, he notes that in 2005 he published 13 books (under six different names) and wrote 14 books, which translates to 5524 pages and 1.1. million words. But this isn’t even his personal best. That was back in 1998, when he had 14 books published.
I sometimes hesitate to talk about how much I’ve written because some people always think that if something is written fast, it can’t be any good. My theory is that all
writing is words on paper, and if the right words are on the paper, it doesn’t really matter how they got there.
Amen to that, my friend.
By the way, in that same post, he kindly lists my book as one of his ten best reads of the year. I am honored.
5 thoughts on “A Million Words a Year”
James Reasoner is the very soul of the skilled professional, and I send along my appreciation. We once shared an agent, and she told me that everything he writes goes to the editors without a single flaw: no spelling, punctuation, capitalization, syntax or other errors. There is some sort of special genius in that.
Check this article out:
Wherein Slate writer Jack Shafer tries to figure out how many words H.L. Mencken published in his life and goggles with amazement at the idea of “100,000 words a year for 50 years, or about 2,000 words a week.”
I actually admire people like Lee and James more than writers like Michael Connelly – who, let’s face it, gets to write whatever he wants. Being able to accept an assignment and produce high quality work on schedule is a skill that was more common back in the pulp and paperback eras, but there are still a few who can manage it.
I had an uncle who, during his heyday in the 1950s, wrote 300 pulp novels for a single London publisher. He handled everything, Westerns, Science Fiction, War Stories, Romances, you name it.
Uncle John was a dour, taciturn man, a research chemist by profession, and when I was a kid I read one of his Westerns. It had a passage that ran something like this:
“Throw down the box, Wilson,” yelled Black Bart.
“I will not, and be damned to ye,” returned Slade Wilson, as that stubborn stalwart drew his trusty revolver. Slade’s gun spat lead, BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
I asked: “Uncle John, how come none of your heroes kill the bad guy with just one shot?”
John glared at me from under his shaggy, Scottish eyebrows and growled: “Penny a word.”
Ah, now there was a scribe.
I’m not even sure I could stay awake long enough to write that much in a year! Does he even have the time to read what he writes, let alone anything else?