Being prolific is an interesting handle to have been given. I’ve never really thought about it very much. I suppose the first time I considered it was when I visited my local bookstore, requesting that they stock two of my books. I had been there a month or so before, and noted that the shelf where my first book had been placed, was empty. “I have two new ones,” I said.
The shop owner arched an eyebrow. “Two new ones? My, you’re working hard.”
I smiled, thinking nothing of it. Then came the low punch. “You want to take it easy. You don’t want to swamp the market, do you?”
I had no idea what this meant. Swamp the market? With three books?
Since then, my tally of published novels has reached 14. My first book was published late 2009, so within three years that’s not a bad achievement I feel. Prolific, perhaps.
Now, I can understand what some people might think. That the quality of the written work has suffered. But each book has been accepted by publishers, who have worked with me in the editing process, and the words have been well polished. Naturally there is the occasional typo. I remember a friend of mine who showed me a silly typo towards the end of an edition of Anna Karenina by Tolstoy, a book some people believe is the finest ever written. Now, if they can get it wrong, so can anyone. But silly typos apart, I feel my writing is fairly good. It’s suspenseful, flows well, has satisfying resolutions. People seem to like what I do, those who have read my books. So, I don’t see it as quality making way for quantity. I just view it all as an absolute joy.
I’ll give you an example. I had an idea for a novella. A small book about a young veterinary nurse, set on the wonderful island of Alderney. As soon as I finished it, I had to write the next two in the series. There was no argument. These stories buzzed around in my head, and they wouldn’t leave me alone. I worked furiously at them, watching them all play out in my head like a film, and within a month I had them done. Overall, two months saw three novellas of 30,000 words each completed; edited, checked, ready for publication.
And that’s it. When I’m gripped with an idea, I can’t shake it off. The words tumble out, an unstoppable cascade. Perhaps not Niagara Falls, but certainly a force of nature!
Another example. I’ve only just completed a thriller, entitled ROAD KILL. Eighty thousand words. When I say ‘completed’ I mean just that. Re-drafted four times, proof read and submitted. At the same time that I was going through the final edits, I was writing another thriller, entitled MINUS LIFE, which at this moment has the final chapter left to do. I’ve got WHIPPED UP, the next Paul Chaise thriller, waiting its final edit, and I am planning out a historical novel based on the mysterious death of William II in the year 1100. Each book is substantial, averaging out at around 80-90,000 words. It is almost a full time job. As one project is completed, another comes along, a conveyer belt of stories. Inspiration is another thing entirely, this is to do with output. I am not young anymore. Time does not wait. I should have done all this twenty years ago, I know that. But life was different then. Now I push myself, on and on, to get it done. My aim is to get out at least three books a year, if I can do more, so much the better. The biggest problem is, that publishers don’t work all that fast. Obviously, they have other authors to consider, but that doesn’t lessen my frustration.
So, I do the best I can. I write quickly, I work hard at it. I do not skimp on the quality. I look at every sentence, envisage every scene, every piece of dialogue. I write and I write and I write. Some people grow flowers, others tinker with classic motor cars. I write. There really is nothing more to it than that.
If this little piece has made you curious about my work, please visit my websites and take a look at what I have done so far. My books are available on all the Amazon sites, as well as Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. My websites give all the details.
For adult materials, please visit: www.stuartgyates.com
For Young adult paranormal mysteries (including those little, but very terrifying stories about Jenny the vet), please visit: www.glennstuart.co.uk.
Also, take a look at my accompanying blog, ‘Fallen Past’ which is an unpublished work of mine serialised in chapters. I hope you enjoy it, and thanks to everyone for taking the time to have a look at what I do.