During my morning browsing, I came across a gem of an interview with Akhil Sharma at the New Yorker. He talks a bit about a child’s P.O.V. and other ways to describe the scene. But something that has stuck with me as poignant is this: “After writing seven thousand pages over twelve and a half years, I now have a novel, published this week, that is two hundred and twenty-four pages long.”
Yeah. Sounds about right to me.
I’m a big fan of Isaac Asimov. He was and still is one of the most prolific writers of all time. He published over 200 books, I believe, (I don’t have the research in front of me) including three autobiographies. On the surface he can come across as a braggart, but his voice makes it melt away. The reason I mention Asimov is because he was so prolific, he represents an ideal of some sort in my mind. Some sort of goal to strive for.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about quantity equalling quality. I believe it to some point but I can’t quite fully embrace it. I believe writers must write, but it isn’t all worth sharing. From my experience, I feel comfortable sharing maybe 10 to 15 percent of what I write. Much of it is me working through how to say something, finding the right P.O.V., the right anecdote, or sometimes, just stumbling over things I don’t have enough experience to explain. But each time I write about it, it gets a little better, tighter, more fluid.
I think there will always be an enormous body of work that we never see from authors. That is good. Being an author really puts you out there. We have to keep something to ourselves. Here’s to the cutting room floor.