“I’ll tell you the idea, you write the book…”

I’m reading Million Dollar Productivity by Kevin J. Anderson, which I picked up in a recent StoryBundle. I haven’t made it very far yet, but I loved his response to the common and somewhat hilarious idea that becoming a professional writer (unlike any other profession requiring years of hard work) is just a matter of having the time, and that anyone can write a novel if only they can get around to it.

Writing seems so effortless from the outside, but Kevin J. Anderson gives some perspective to the popular misconception:

To the unpracticed eye, publishing a novel involves little more than stringing a lot of sentences together until you fill enough pages with words.

Every author has heard this suggestion from a friend or a fan, and the proposition never ceases to amaze me: “I’ve got a great idea for a novel. I’ll tell you the idea, you write the book, and we can split the money.” (As if the idea is the hard part!) In all honesty, I always have plenty of ideas. In fact, I’ll never have time to flesh out all the novel possibilities that occur to me on a regular basis.

I’ve often wished I had the nerve to reply: “Why don’t we try it the other way around first? I’ll tell you an idea off the top of my head, then you do all the research, the plotting, and character development. You can write a hundred thousand words or so, then edit the manuscript (I usually do at least five to ten drafts), sell it to the publisher, work with the editor for any revisions, deal with the copy editor, proofread the galleys, and then do booksignings and promotion after it’s published. Then after all that, we’ll split the money.”

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *