Monday, August 9, 2010

Progress Report: 8/9/2010

For a writer, one of the challenges of this information-rich age is how much of your life you want to reveal to the public.

I'm thinking of George R. R. Martin here, 'cuz he's a good example of what I'm talking about. So he's got a series in process, and the wait between books keeps getting longer. This happens for a variety of reasons, one of which is that the story is a big complicated epic monster, and I think that the longer you go on with something like that, the harder it is to keep all of that monster's heads focused on going the same direction. Fair enough.

Then there's the fact that as the series gets more popular, so does Mr. Martin. Which means he goes to more and more conventions. And does more interviews.

And the series itself gets more popular. Calendars, figurines, table-top games, video games, and an HBO show... and since he wants to be a good creator and take care of his creation properly, he's hands-on for all of these things to some degree.

Plus he writes other stuff. He contributes to short story anthologies and shepherds a long-running superhero fiction series called Wild Cards.

So it's hardly the picture of the writer in his secluded cabin, hammering away at a keyboard in isolation. And as the years drag on, and the wait stretches out, some fans start grumbling about when this next book is going to get done.

Which irritates Mr. Martin. For good reason... nobody wants to see the book finished more than him. Nobody feels that pressure more. And it's his life, his book. So when fans grumble and complain—Mr. Martin naturally gets annoyed. And other authors also get annoyed, like Neil Gaiman, who spelled out his feelings pretty plainly.

Mostly, I'm on Mr. Martin's side on this one, but I wonder if he's hurting himself by being as available to the public as he has let himself become. Yes, you want to promote your appearances and new products and so forth, and where's the harm posting about the football games Sunday? And those fans who wondered when you had time to work on the book in between going to a Tokyo SF con and rooting for the Jets to beat the Chargers can just deal, right? And the months roll by, the years roll by, and your book is still not done...

All in all, I think I'd rather be a recluse.

But I am posting my progress, so here it is: got some writing done, though mostly this was a week for catching up with the furious pace of work right now (I have the best team—we really support each other when one person is hammered, so I've been grateful for them this week) and dealing with a few irritating health problems.

Now, back to my cave.

1 comment:

Danny said...

Hi Mr. Towler, I'm one of your readers from Thunderstruck, and I'd just like to say that I'm really looking forward to the novelization :) i hope your work eases off soon and doesn't get too hectic