Saturday, July 18, 2009

Crime writing - a quick kill?

I was reading through the Christchurch Press this morning (one can never have too many newspapers in the weekend) and came across an article about Canadian crime writer Linwood Barclay. He was talking about his latest book Fear The Worst but the bit that got me was when he was talking about the time frames involved in his novel writing. The article by Margie Thomson says:

"His first draft will take around seven weeks, then another six weeks or so of editing."

That fair blew my socks off.

Admittedly, the man was a journalist in a former life and I think journalists are at an advantage in the world of writing to deadlines as there is nothing more pressing than the next days edition and they will have honed those skills of getting the job done over many years of pressure.

But still, seven weeks!

Then I got to thinking. What would I have to do to get a draft written in seven weeks. What sort of support mechanisms would I need.

Then it all came clear.

I would need a wife.

That's what I would need, a wife.

Someone else to look after the family, attend to school runs and kids activities and Mount Laundry and getting the dinner on the table and actually functioning as a normal human being and being the glue that held the family together.

So there it is.

I need me a wife.


Dave B said...

How long are his books? Most I have heard, do 1000 words a day ... so seven weeks is only 49,000 words. I guess it depends whether you aim for 60k, 75k or 100k of words in your novels.

I remember Paul C got scoffed at for saying on a panel that he writes 10,000 words per day ... everyone scoffed but I have seen Paul write 10,000 words in a day (it helps when you stalk him for new writing). He probably should have said 'up to' 10k.

My published short story was 3072 words in it's first draft, and that was 1hr 20mins - so I know that 10k words in a day is totally possible.

Your husband would be the envy of many, with two wives. And that's all I'm saying ... :)

Melinda Szymanik said...

I wife would be jolly handy - especially as domestic chores are not my favourite thing to do. But would I be the same writer if I didn't do those other things...

Kiwicraig said...

I actually interviewed Linwood as well (for an article in Good Reading, and one in the Weekend Herald). The process of a book takes him several months - preparation/research etc, it's just that he's one of those authors who once he's ready to write, blasts it out rather quickly. I've read about many others (screenwriters too) who are like that.

Each to their own I guess. Incidentally, he was a very humble, likeable guy to speak to.

Vanda Symon said...

Dave, I did think of Paul and his massive writing output when he was on a roll. I would love to have that ability. The most I've managed in one day was 4000 words, but I was mentally shattered by the end of it.

Melinda, I'd be prepared to risk it. But then, a number of aha moments have come to me while hanging out the washing...

Kiwicraig said...

Hey Vanda - I've posted a comment from Linwood on my blog today which might answer your question about his writing speed, a little: