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Write a novel in four weeks—Kasuo Ishiguro did it

Bondi Beach
Updated:

"Kazuo Ishiguro wrote the bulk of The Remains of the Day in four weeks. All it took was extreme dedication—and a willingness to be terrible."

That last part, "a willingness to be terrible" is key. Straight from the winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in literature.

National Novel Writing Month awaits. Sharpen your quill.

bb

Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

"Kazuo Ishiguro wrote the bulk of The Remains of the Day in four weeks. All it took was extreme dedication—and a willingness to be terrible."

That last part, "a willingness to be terrible" is key. Straight from the winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in literature.

Two years to write, probably at least two full years editing afterwards.

Just because you don't do your research and crafting upfront doesn't mean it's a free ride.

However, I did notice he looks extremely young to be winning such a prize.

Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

He's in his sixties.

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Two years to write, probably at least two full years editing afterwards.


The article behind the link gives context. He did this with the help of his spouse (who took over his share of cooking and other chores) to jerk him out of a writing funk. In the year leading up to this he'd had plenty of down time since he was stuck in his writing, and researched English households and servant roles. So he was prepped with the background.

He made no claim to have produced anything near publishing quality. I don't know how long it took him to edit.

It's not a free ride. It's work. That's a central point of the article.

ETA: He's in his early 60s, I believe.

bb

Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach

Been there done that, gave up when I got too many t-shirts.

In past years I wrote, reviewed, edited, and posted a 55,000 word novel during November, despite starting a week late. In another year I wrote and reviewed a 125,000 word story during November.

If you plan it and can think of a good idea, you can do it.

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

He's in his sixties.


"So what?" asks the 63 y/o author.

Crumbly Writer

@Geek of Ages

He's in his sixties.

Well, some young guy was announcing how proud he was to have won. I didn't catch a lot of it. Maybe he was speaking for the author (I came in late).

Crumbly Writer

@Geek of Ages

He's in his sixties.

Aren't we all? (he asks, having just turned 60)

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Aren't we all? (he asks, having just turned 60)


No, I'm only 48.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

He's in his sixties.

Aren't we all? (he asks, having just turned 60)


For the time being (having just turned 69)

Joe Long

@Bondi Beach

zuo Ishiguro wrote the bulk of The Remains of the Day in four weeks. All it took was extreme dedication—and a willingness to be terrible."


Does anyone know the word count? I could only find this on Amazon
File Size: 1853 KB
Print Length: 258 pages

Article said it took 4 weeks to produce a draft. Yesterday I mentioned jashley13 who's publishing She Is the One at AFF. Checking my notes, his highest 4 week output was 79k words in chapters 42 & 43, the 5th & 6th of 8 in the 6th book (Fracture) of the series. Chapter 41 was posted 6 Oct 2015, 42 (37.5k words) on 22 Oct, and 43 (41.4k words) on 8 Nov. I will point out that this is the final edited & published version of SITO, not a draft.

And those were two pretty intense chapters

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

Aren't we all? (he asks, having just turned 60)


58. I'm in no hurry.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play
Updated:

SOL has lots of younger writers; they just don't post here much.

It's a case of self-selection. Old farts with no life and too much time on their hands congregate here because they enjoy arguing, including some who became old farts before their time. Hi, DS. :-)

Younger writers with a life can't be bothered with us because they see a bunch of old farts with no life just shouting at each other, about anything and everything.

richardshagrin

I am not an old fart. I am middle aged because I expect to live to be 144.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

That's gross!

AJ

Replies:   richardshagrin
Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

Aren't we all?


No. I'm young enough that I have no idea who Tom Petty is or why anyone cares.

Replies:   Joe Long  Ernest Bywater
Geek of Ages

@Ross at Play

a bunch of old farts with no life just shouting at each other, about anything and everything.


This observation is congruent with my own observations.

Joe Long

@Geek of Ages

No. I'm young enough that I have no idea who Tom Petty is or why anyone cares.


Petty did some good songs 30 to 35 years ago (my college years). I wasn't a huge fan, but I liked his work.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

No. I'm young enough that I have no idea who Tom Petty is or why anyone cares.


Hey, I'm in my mid 60s and I'd not heard of him until he died. Maybe he was famous in a limited part of the industry or his fame was local to the USA.

Geek of Ages

@Joe Long

I mean, my parents might have played it when I was in the womb or something, but otherwise, yeah, I wouldn't have heard his stuff at that time.

Replies:   Joe Long
Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

including some who became old farts before their time. Hi, DS. :-)


:-P

Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

Aren't we all? (he asks, having just turned 60)


I just turned 39, and will probably remain at 39 for the duration.

bb

Bondi Beach

@Joe Long

Does anyone know the word count? I could only find this on Amazon
File Size: 1853 KB
Print Length: 258 pages

Article said it took 4 weeks to produce a draft.


Emily, my 2013 NaNoWriMo effort, was 56K at the end of November. It was 12K when posted on SOL.

bb

Replies:   Joe Long
richardshagrin

@awnlee jawking

gross

Twelve dozen is a gross (definitely not metric unit.)

richardshagrin

@Bondi Beach

remain at 39

Jack Benny clone.

Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

58. I'm in no hurry.

Just like with technology, we're all dragged forwards, usually kicking and screaming.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

It's a case of self-selection. Old farts with no life and too much time on their hands congregate here because they enjoy arguing, including some who became old farts before their time.

Sorry, I doubt anyone here is arguing because we have too much time on our hands, rather we argue because we're trying to avoid doing our work! Forums are the modern day equivalent of the office water cooler.

Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

I just turned 39, and will probably remain at 39 for the duration.

Just make sure you finish your current stories before walking into traffic.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

Just make sure you finish your current stories before walking into traffic.


No worries. I have the cover for my 2017 NaNoWriMo novel and that's the important part, right? Now, about the plot ... *

bb

* ...the less said, the better.

Joe Long

@Geek of Ages

I mean, my parents might have played it when I was in the womb or something, but otherwise, yeah, I wouldn't have heard his stuff at that time.


Art lasts forever. There's always the oldies channel

Joe Long

@Bondi Beach

Emily, my 2013 NaNoWriMo effort, was 56K at the end of November. It was 12K when posted on SOL.


I Googled "words per page" and results said 250-300. 275 x 258 pages = 71k words.

So this guy took 4 weeks to crank out a 70k draft. With the history of NaNoWriMo, I don't believe that's unusual. As I pointed out above, jashley13 at one point published 71k finished and edited words of She Is the One in 4 weeks.

Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach

Now, about the plot ...


It's a cheap one in a distant cemetery.

richardshagrin

@Bondi Beach

plot

a plan made in secret by a group of people to do something illegal or harmful.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Joe_Bondi_Beach

@Joe Long

So this guy took 4 weeks to crank out a 70k draft. With the history of NaNoWriMo, I don't believe that's unusual. As I pointed out above, jashley13 at one point published 71k finished and edited words of She Is the One in 4 weeks.


OK, sorry about the deleted post. I found the story text through Google, no thanks to the AFF site itself, although perhaps I just don't understand its organization.

I read the first page. I don't need to go any further to point out we are not talking about the same quality of work here. Jashley13 and Ishiguro are not in the same league. They're not even in the same universe.

That's not a knock on She Is the One. By the smattering of posts in the forum it's clear the story has many fans, and the little I read is competently done, free of grammatical or spelling errors. But it does not compare in its effectiveness or grace or strength of language to Remains of the Day, to name only one of Ishiguro's works.

Amazon's "Look Inside" feature gives you exactly nothing of Ishiguro's text for "Remains," but perhaps you can find a sample to compare elsewhere online.

The authors may have each written about the same number of words in one month, but that's about the only thing the two works they produced have in common. One is literature (after editing); the other isn't. Yeah, that's pretentious, but there is a difference and in this case it's a pretty clear one.

bb

Bondi Beach

@Ernest Bywater

It's a cheap one in a distant cemetery.


Poetry. Seriously.

bb

Bondi Beach

@richardshagrin

a plan made in secret by a group of people to do something illegal or harmful.


You mean like the drafters of the American Declaration of Independence and, years later, the Constitution? Right on.

bb

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Bondi Beach

the American Declaration of Independence

The British who ruled the 13 colonies thought it was illegal.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  Bondi Beach
Joe Long

The sprint is a challenge.


I suffer from anxieties and also from overload.

My fiction writing has had hot spells and is now in a cold one. Someday I will finish this book!

Last summer I was rolling on the book but needed to devote time to a project in my home consulting business - but it was something new that I was unsure about and I got locked in anxiety. I'd usually end up on Twitter feeling guilty about not doing the project which then also kept me from doing anything else.

The anxieties been under control lately (although even when I'm flying through some code I still have a tightness in my chest) but now I'm swamped with work that needs done. Several clients with lists of requests. Fiction is on the back burner. (But I still come here to the forums)

Joe Long
Updated:


how could such crap be popular, blah blah blah (and how come my stuff isn't because it's just as good


There's one work that has made me feel that way.

When I was casting my book, I decided on Kaitlyn Dever (Justified, last Man Standing) as my female lead, the protagonist's love interest. On IMDB I saw that she was in a movie, Men, Women and Children along with another young actor I had cast, Ansel Elgort. In the movie he played her boyfriend. In my book, her brother.

Then what caught my eye was that despite a well known cast (Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Dean Norris, J.K. Simmons, Dennis Haysbert) it managed to gross a whopping total of $461,162 at the box office, one of the worst duds of all time.

Extremely curious about how bad it could be, I plopped down the $3.99 to watch it on Amazon and was greeted by an opening scene that featured Adam Sandler masturbating to porn on his P.C. The plot was about following the sex lives of four couples and their high school children.

As it was based on a novel that dealt with under-18 sexuality that was made into a movie by a major studio (Paramount), I spent another few dollars to get the book on Kindle. I think it was worse than the movie. Flat arc - basically ends where it begins, a few weeks in the life. Instead of being in high school, the sexually curious kids were in 8th grade. That gave me some encouragement for my 19/14 romance.

This was not Chad Kultgen's first novel, but the writing was absolutely horrible. Several times there were entire pages filled with nothing but...

He said, "..."

She said, "..."

He said, "..."

She said, "..."

and on and on...

So a guy writes a crap novel about 13 and 14 year olds losing their virginity, but movie director Jason Reitman finds it hilarious (I'm not sure if I ever laughed while reading or viewing. Honestly, it was quite sad.) And because Reitman liked it, he pitched it to the studio which spent $18 million to make one of the worst box office failures ever.

So there's hope for my book.

Ernest Bywater

@Joe Long


He said, "..."

She said, "..."

He said, "..."

She said, "..."


What? No damned Car Cam or Body Cam or phone video - sheesh?

Replies:   Joe Long
Not_a_ID

@Bondi Beach


I just turned 39, and will probably remain at 39 for the duration.


I'll be joining you in a few more months. =p

Not_a_ID

@richardshagrin

The British who ruled the 13 colonies thought it was illegal.


And the signers knew it qualified as treason. It was allegedly part of why the president of that Congress, John Hancock signed it as boldly as he did. To ensure King George could read his name.

Bondi Beach

@richardshagrin

The British who ruled the 13 colonies thought it was illegal.


And harmful (to their interests).

bb

Bondi Beach

@Joe Long

So a guy writes a crap novel about 13 and 14 year olds losing their virginity,


Which raises the question once more: "How come he gets a novel with underage sex published and the rest of us can't?" (Or most of us. Must be someone else somewhere who has.)

bb

Replies:   Joe Long  awnlee jawking
Joe Long
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


What? No damned Car Cam or Body Cam or phone video - sheesh?


Try this again.

Here's one of the pages I spoke of

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss157/stillers7/mwc02_zpsvjv4adfg.jpg

and the last page, to show again how awful the writing is

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss157/stillers7/mwc_last_zpsq4xldkxy.jpg

Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

No worries. I have the cover for my 2017 NaNoWriMo novel and that's the important part, right? Now, about the plot ... *

I do the same thing. My order of writing priorities:
1) Come up with basic concept
2) Write the story outline
3) Come up with a unique name
4) Create the cover (if I can find a suitable image)
5) Create story art (header and section break images)

These are all necessary for me to get a feel for how the reader will perceive the book, and helps me get into the same world as I'm writing it.

6) Sit on the book for a couple months, as the ideas gel (usually while finishing up other books)
7) Write the first chapter (just to be sure the story actually works)
8) Start writing the actual book

However, unlike you, I have the majority of the basic plot already laid out in my head. It's just the details that need to be fleshed out as I write it.

Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

I Googled "words per page" and results said 250-300. 275 x 258 pages = 71k words.

So this guy took 4 weeks to crank out a 70k draft. With the history of NaNoWriMo, I don't believe that's unusual. As I pointed out above, jashley13 at one point published 71k finished and edited words of She Is the One in 4 weeks.

Don't forget, there's a BIG difference between words written for a NaNoWriMo contest and how many words make it into the completed book. Much of that initial draft will either be trashed entirely, or rewritten or edited down, and then authors/editors will add whole new sections, adding to the book overall.

Generally NaNoWriMo is a starting point for a book. Some will publish that as a finished work, but most will spend a LOT more time fine-tuning and perfecting it.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

It's a cheap one in a distant cemetery.

Or for those of us in the new disposable era: it's on the shelf on my mantle piece, waiting to be filled, so my wife can dump it once I'm gone.

Joe Long
Updated:

@Bondi Beach


"How come he gets a novel with underage sex published and the rest of us can't?"


Not just published but made into a movie by Paramount with major name actors.

Explicit sex with between 8th graders

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss157/stillers7/mwc03_zpstygj5mhn.jpg

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss157/stillers7/mwc04_zpsyyphhzc1.jpg

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss157/stillers7/mwc05_zpstzwcai4n.jpg

I'm done. That's enough.

Crumbly Writer

I agree entirely and especially in view of the readership (although Ishiguro probably beats those numbers).

I hate to say it, but most 'world class' literature sells poorly. Most readers want action, not clever allusions or beautiful prose. The awards look nice for the publisher, but does little beside saying 'nice job' for the author—who typically continues to struggle just to get by.

This is especially true for awards like the $1M Noble, which increasingly is being granted to an entire group of people, none of home likely pockets any more than a mere $100,000 from it.

awnlee jawking

@Bondi Beach

Richard Laymon.

AJ

Replies:   Bondi Beach
awnlee jawking

@Joe Long

Here's one of the pages I spoke of
http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss157/stillers7/mwc_last_zpsq4xldkxy.jpg


Another writer unfamiliar with female anatomy ;)

and the last page, to show again how awful the writing is
http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss157/stillers7/mwc_last_zpsq4xldkxy.jpg


Same link?

AJ

Replies:   Joe Long
Ernest Bywater

@Joe Long

So my attempted humour failed.

When you have a two person back and forth you're allowed to, and damn well should, drop the identifier tags to make it easier on the reader. As long as you have a different speaker for each paragraph the readers can follow it very easily.

While I use say / said in most case I do mix in words like ask / asked reply / replied response / responded where appropriate to mix it up a little.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

I recently read a four person dialogue where the author omitted vital dialogue tags. But all the characters spoke with the same voice and they mostly all had the same knowledge so I guess the tags didn't matter.

AJ

Joe Long

@awnlee jawking

Same link?


Fixed, and somehow got it the way I wanted, straight to the jpg

Bondi Beach

@awnlee jawking

@Bondi Beach
Richard Laymon.


Ah. Had to look him up. One fan explains the connection:

"The show features Valeria, the world's only living captured vampire. Slim, a feisty tomboy, is attracted to Dwight. Rusty, overweight and perverse, is tired of screwing his younger sister and dreams of nailing Valeria. Will he succeed? "

So, underage sex and incest is OK if everyone dies in the goriest fashion possible? That's the old Hollywood trope, of course. Teenagers have sex and pay for it---but only after we get to perv on them committing the evil act.

bb

Replies:   Joe Long  Joe Long
Joe Long

@Bondi Beach

Teenagers have sex and pay for it---but only after we get to perv on them committing the evil act.


I mentioned "casting" Kaitlyn Dever as the female romantic lead in my book. I'd seen her in Last Man Standing, which she started on when she was 14 (and looks no different than now, when she's nearly 21), but not in Justified, which she started a year earlier at 13, doing both series for many years.

I'd watched some of season one of Justified, and saw she debuted in the first episode of season two. Loretta McCready was out working in the marijuana fields of Kentucky when this strange character came spying on her. She noticed the guy, and then confronted him with her first lines on the show, "Are you perving on me?"

Busted!

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Joe Long

@Bondi Beach

"The show features Valeria, the world's only living captured vampire. Slim, a feisty tomboy, is attracted to Dwight. Rusty, overweight and perverse, is tired of screwing his younger sister and dreams of nailing Valeria. Will he succeed? "


Yeah, that guy was twisted

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@Joe Long

She noticed the guy, and then confronted him with her first lines on the show, "Are you perving on me?"


She was superb in Justified.

bb

Replies:   Joe Long
Bondi Beach

@Joe Long

Yeah, that guy was twisted


Long live rape and pillage! And spatterpunk. Wait, I have "Pirates" in my title, so I'm halfway there already.

bb

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Bondi Beach

spatterpunk


"Splatterpunk was a movement within horror fiction in the 1980s, distinguished by its graphic, often gory, depiction of violence and "hyperintensive horror with no limits." The term was coined in 1986 by David J. Schow at the Twelfth World Fantasy Convention in Providence, Rhode Island." Quote from Wikipedia found by an on-line search. Maybe spatterpunk is something else?

And a pi rate is a buck an ear.

Joe_Bondi_Beach

@richardshagrin

Maybe spatterpunk is something else?


Maybe spatterpunk is something else?


Why don't we open a thread on the nuanced differences between "spatter" and "splatter"?

Perhaps a spatter of blood is what is left when the blood splatters?

Better yet, perhaps I should wear my glasses when I read.

bb

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Joe_Bondi_Beach

Why don't we open a thread on the nuanced differences between "spatter" and "splatter"?


blood spatters while gibbets splatter - you need the extra meet for a good splatter.

Joe_Bondi_Beach

@Ernest Bywater

blood spatters while gibbets splatter - you need the extra meet for a good splatter.


Should the meet be in a coffee shop or a bar?

bb

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Joe_Bondi_Beach


Should the meet be in a coffee shop or a bar?


doesn't matter, as long as the gibbets get to meet the wall, or the floor while still moving at speed.

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

And a pi rate is a buck an ear.

And here I've always thought a pi rate is 3.1416...

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

And here I've always thought a pi rate is 3.1416...


the pie rate of eating depends on the size of their mouth and how quickly they chew and swallow.

Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

@BB
Why don't we open a thread on the nuanced differences between "spatter" and "splatter"?
@EB
blood spatters while gibbets splatter

Then start one on the difference between "gibbet" and "giblets".

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Joe Long

@Bondi Beach

She was superb in Justified.


Still on my to-watch list.

I hadn't seen the pic of Ms. Dever that I linked until just now, when I was looking for one to include in my reply.

Despite it somehow having previously avoided my detection, I have to say it's one of my favorites of her. Outstanding. Makes me think of her as my character even more.

Bondi Beach

@Ross at Play

Then start one on the difference between "gibbet" and "giblets".


Paging Ernest Bywater.

bb

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach

Paging Ernest Bywater.


I take no responsibility for typographical errors made while half asleep.

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