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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Why Writers Can't Write Another Book

The amazing thing that has come out of the Harper Lee Saga and it is a saga now is that we are finding out she could not complete a follow up to To Kill A Mockingbird. As an author this is nothing short of amazing. Here she has the publisher telling her just give them anything because this book has headed for the moon and anything you publish will sell like crazy and just give us something. She could not.

And the question then is why? So we delve into the saga. Here is a woman who submitted a manuscript that was rejected by the publisher all those years ago. That manuscript is what is being published now. But the publisher saw no book there. So she told her to rewrite it. More than that she told her to bring in each chapter as she went along. This kind of hand holding does not usually happen these days. This process went on for two years.

TWO YEARS. She rewrote with the editor for two years and at the end out came To Kill A Mockingbird. But then then they said ok write something else. She could  not. So then you have to go into what makes  a bestseller. Timing. A story. The intersection of history and events. Luck. Writers are aware of all these things. That is why only a few hit. But then there is that next book. Why could she not produce something else?

Harper Lee might have been a one book writer. She might have had nothing else to say. We can say now that without that heavy editorial hand there would be no To Kill A Mockingbird. And once writers are cut loose to go on their own then they have to fly. Incredible as it may sound, Harper Lee simply couldn't come up with another story.

Maybe the price of mega success is just that.
The Pitcher...sometimes a dream is all you have

Books by William Hazelgrove