Monday, August 3, 2015

First draft of The Deadly Detective Agency complete!

Having speculated yesterday that I might soon complete the first draft of the new novel, I find I have reached the end having bashed out five thousand words in the last twenty four hours. The Deadly Detective Agency has been my favourite one to date to write.  It has a nice set of characters and location and everything just slotted into place plot wise. If only all my writing progressed with the same karma!  Now onto edits, then beta readers.


Unknown said...

I wish you success in your writing adventures. However, your posting provokes a complicated question (one that I will consider giving a more complete airing at my blog, Crimes in the Library): when can people call themselves "writers"? I think the answers are not obvious and simple.

Again, best wishes from a "writer" on the U.S. Gulf coast . . .

Rob Kitchin said...

Hi RT. Thanks for the sentiment. I don't think I've put any boundaries around who is and isn't a writer in the post, just observed that I find some writing easier to do than other pieces. Best, Rob

Bernadette said...

Your comment about this book being 'easier' to write than some of your other works reminded me of a panel at a writer's festival I went to a couple of years ago that got contentious. Peter Corris (Aussie crime writer) said he found writing easy and someone else on the panel (can't remember who now, wasn't an author I knew at all) said that the work couldn't be good if it was easily produced. Then Corris said something along the lines of "I've had 40 novels and a swag of non-fiction published, what's your count?". It got uglier from there :) There was much discussion afterwards about whether art was better if the artist was tortured.

Rob Kitchin said...

Hi Bernadette,

yes, I can see that kind of debate becoming contentious quickly as it leans towards making personal snipes over competency. Just as with any skilled task I do think there are some people who have more aptitude for writing and find it easier. Peter Corris is probably one of these people and he's got better at it through lots of practice. Which reminds me of the old Arnold Palmer (a naturally very gifted golfer) - "It's a funny thing, the more I practice the luckier I get".

I write everyday. I've been an editor for nearly 20 years. I'm used to writing to very tight deadlines (e.g., pieces for news media that are published an hour or so after a policy document is published). I'm not a tortured artist. I understand what is required and I'm very well practised. The issue for me is not writing per se, but having the idea I want to express clearly worked out. If my writing is hard going it's usually because I don't yet have a really clear view on what I'm trying to say or how I want the plot to evolve.

In this case, I had a really nice set of well defined characters each of whom had a very clear role, the setting was vivid in my mind, and I had the plot pretty much worked out from the start. As a result I never wrote myself into a corner and had to struggle my way back out. Instead, everything slotted into place quite smoothly. That's not to say that the book could not be improved by revisions - I'm certain it could - but I am happy with it as a first draft.

As an aside, readers do not know and do not judge work on the basis of how quickly it was produced or whether the writer was tortured; they judge on whether it was a good piece of work and whether they liked it or not. It would be interesting to know if the person arguing against Corris thought his work was good prior to knowing it was produced quickly. If so, then their case very quickly falls apart, as I'm sure it would if a series of such blind tests were set up for them.

Bernadette said...

I wish I could remember who the other author was (someone unknown then and now) but I definitely got the sense that he was a bit of a literary snob so probably didn't think Corris' stuff any good because it is 'genre' let alone that it was written quickly/easily - we get a lot of very stuffy people at the local writers festival (it was the first one in the country and is associated with a very high-brow arts festival - they've only lately started including genre authors to get some bums on seats but the old establishment figures tend to look down their noses at the full houses drawn by the genre writers).

While it's true that readers can't know how long a book takes to write I think some literary snobs make assumptions about that kind of thing because the average literary author doesn't put out a book a year (or more) as so many genre writers do.