Tuesday, 18 December 2007


I read, courtesy of Donna Alwards blog, that there is an article in the Spectator on writing, so I flicked through to read it. You can check it out Here

The article claims that authors of bestsellers write because they are driven to write by Passion. On the whole, I have no argument with that. Well, a little quibble, maybe. Because, of course, bestselling authors do not always write books of the same quality, but they may well have written them with the same passion. Dan Brown is a case in point. So is Harold Robbins, James Clavell.

I don't know if J K Rowling wrote with passion, but she certainly wrote with dedication. Some of the best bestsellers have been one-offs, like Gone with the Wind, Forever Amber or To Kill a Mocking Bird, (Stops to wonder if either of them were bestsellers of their time - probably not) which would argue that the passion was of short duration.

It also seems to me that without dedication and sheer dogged persistance, passion is as nought. Time is vital, too. Writing 90k takes time, and not everyone can stay home in the garret and knock out 5k a day without interruption. The need to earn a crust gets in the way, as does the need to sleep!

My thoughts boggle at something like Wuthering Heights. Written in longhand. What a stack of paper that must have been when it was finished. How did she keep track of details in all that mass of handwritten paper? Now we have the luxury of Find on our computers, but imagine checking back through 1000 handwritten pages to find if you've given Heathcliffe blue eyes or brown! Organisation and a good memory had to be a requirement for writing then. The thought of handwriting all those pages gives my hand Repetitive Strain Injury at the mere thought.

Any other ideas? I'd love to make a list of Necessary Qualities of a Bestselling Writer!

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