Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It takes five books

There are many notions that fall under the category of "publishing industry common wisdom;" which I define as ideas publishers, writers, agents, editors and book sellers often agree with and repeat, but that have no identifiable point of origin.

One such notion is the concept that it takes most novelists about five novels before they really have control of their craft. I don't feel I have enough experience to argue about this assertion. And I certainly found the creative arc of my first novel to be uncharted creative ground.

However it begs the question: does the preponderance of my creative experience (writing short fiction, poems, essays, artists books, academic papers as well as making art of various kinds that often included text and almost always involved narrative) add up to something more than one novel? Or, as I embark on my second novel, am I really just a beginner?

I'm not complaining. Starting from scratch is something I have had a lot of practice with. I might even say I am good at it. But it seems to me that I should be able to generalize creative lessons from one area to another.

On an unrelated note a friend of mine, Brandy LaChapelle, suggested I might like this small press. I think I do. And I think you might too: Small Beer Press.




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