Friday, December 01, 2006


In his comment on the previous post, John Hocking (a fine author of heroic fantasy himself) asks about my outlining practices. I've written books with no outline at all, just a vague idea of what I wanted to do (a recipe for disaster -- I'm lucky I've never had to scrap a sizable portion of a book and have always been able to figure out how to save it), and I've written books from a highly detailed 60 - 70 page outline that was pretty much a condensed version of the novel (that was what the publisher wanted, but I never liked writing those mammoth outlines and gradually whittled them down to 20 - 30 pages).

These days, most of my outlines range from about half a page to three pages. If I'm working with a particularly complicated plot, the outline might grow to six or eight pages, just so I can be sure I've got everything lined up so that it'll all hold together. Sometimes I have the beginning, middle, and end, and sometimes I just have the first part of the book figured out and work out the rest as I go along. In other words, I'm all over the map when it comes to outlining, but I nearly always have one, such as it is.

I went to the TCU Press signing this evening and had a good time as usual. The crowd wasn't as large as it sometimes is, but I still signed quite a few books. Got to talk to old friends and met a few new ones. This is the last signing I'll be doing for a while . . . unless, of course, somebody else asks me.


Anonymous said...

I read a while back that you'd had a million-word year.
I didn't think any authors had hit that mark since the heyday of the pulps.
I understand that Walter Gibson, Max Brand, and Erle Stanley Gardner did it.
That puts you in some pretty exalted company. Good show.
Anybody else? Robert Randisi, maybe?

James Reasoner said...

Yeah, I did a little over a million words last year, and earlier this week I hit the million-word mark for this year, too. Although I've never discussed the subject with him, Bob Randisi has almost certainly written that much on numerous occasions, since he's produced more than twice as many books as I have in a career lasting roughly the same amount of time.