Lots of lovely royalties

Dorian E. Gray israfel at eircom.net
Thu Dec 2 16:10:32 EST 2004

Roger said...

> On Thu, Dec 02, 2004 at 09:16:26AM -0600, Margaret Ball wrote:
> >[Roger wrote]
> >>Some writers do seem to burn out after a while and just keep churning
> >>things out to pay the bills.
> >Keep? Keep? You think paying the bills wasn't a concern from the
> >beginning? HAHAHAHAHAHA
> With all due respect (and considering the books of yours that I've
> enjoyed that's quite a lot), I don't think many people _start_ writing
> to pay the bills. There are much surer ways of making more money
> (though granted they mostly don't involve working from home, and aren't
> as much fun).

As a trying-to-get-published writer, I'm strongly inclined to think that
taking up writing *in order* to make money is one of the stupidest things
anyone could do.  Which is not to say that I don't want to be paid for my
writing - I do.  I write because I enjoy writing, and I would very much like
to be able to make a living from it, and I feel that I put enough work into
writing to deserve remuneration from anyone who may wish to publish what I
have written.  But I have no delusions of instant publication, fame and
fortune <insert derisive laughter here>.

But the original point (Sallyo's, I think) was about writing being the only
profession where its practicioners get lambasted for practicing (I
paraphrase).  I *think* Sallyo had her tongue perhaps partly in her cheek
(and I *know* she'll correct me if I'm wrong!).  The trouble with *some*
writers seems to me to be twofold:  Firstly, some writers get a bit (or a
lot) of success and let it go to their heads.  They suddenly start squawking
about artistry and getting all precious about their words and refuse to let
editors do what editors are supposed to do - I suspect J. K. Rowling may
have fallen into this trap, and I *know* (from things she's said in public)
that Anne Rice has.  Secondly, if a person happens to write something that
is all shiny and attractive to the reading public, the reading public has a
tendency to demand more of the same, which can lead to the writer's acceding
to said demand, and thus not actually learning or practicing any new writing
skills (I'm thinking of Mercedes Lackey, here, though I thought the last
couple of Valdemar books were much better than a lot of her recent oeuvre.
And this particular trap is lampooned mercilessly in Sharyn McCrumb's
"Bimbos of the Death Sun").

All of this, of course, is not to say that *all* writers suffer from either
of these problems.  Staying close to home, DWJ and Sallyo are both excellent
examples of people who have written *lots* of books without getting into
ruts or going all temperamental at their publishers.

And speaking of new writers, as we weren't really, you must all go and seek
out "Hammered", by Elizabeth Bear; she's a member of my writers' workshop
and this is her first book, due out the end of this month, and having read
it on the workshop, I can tell you that it's damn' good stuff. </plug>


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