October 28th, 2007

Books - Writing

Stop and smell the prose

I have never actually read a Dean Koontz novel, but after reading this fantastic interview I think I may love him just a little. This bit especially thrilled my soul:

I work 10- and 11-hour days because in long sessions I fall away more completely into story and characters than I would in, say, a six-hour day. On good days, I might wind up with five or six pages of finished work; on bad days, a third of a page. Even five or six is not a high rate of production for a 10- or 11-hour day, but there are more good days than bad.

This guy has written how many books? And they've sold how many copies? And he writes the way I do -- revising and polishing obsessively as he goes, so that by the time he's finished a book he's really done the equivalent of thirty or forty drafts. I may not be able to write 10- and 11-hour days, or even six-hour ones, but still, like he goes on to say, if you keep at it steadily the work adds up.

He also has some wonderful things to say about theme, characterization, and using metaphors and similes that I found very encouraging.

Anyway, his comments about the books he's written make me realize that he must be a far better prose stylist, and more of a challenging read (in the good way) than I'd imagined. Next time I go to the library, I'll have to check him out.