RARA-AVIS: Word-for-Word the Best Writer...

From: Gerald So ( gso@optonline.net)
Date: 20 Nov 2001

Mark B. wrote:

> If Robert Parker could write a very good book in under 200 pages in > his early books why does he need over 300 in his later ones?

Actually Parker's early (and best) paperbacks weighed in around 220 pages (of smaller, packed-in type). Dell's MORTAL STAKES was clearly inflated. Books four through nine revert to small type. VALEDICTION is around 280 pages of fat type, and the rest of the books fluctuate, but the type is never as small as GODWULF again.

I wouldn't say Parker *needs* more pages to tell a story. Publishers in general want longer books, and Parker has worked a five-page-a-day, five-day-a-week schedule for the last twelve years. *He* says it fosters creativity, but we've all seen slips of routine. Parker isn't the only one writing more than he needs.

I do question Parker for subjecting himself to these demands. He chooses to publish two or three books a year. If he's comfortable selling more books, I'm comfortable wanting every one he sells to be good.

In an ideal world, if Parker couldn't perform to the level of money he's asking--like Mark McGwire--he'd retire. I've heard Al Kaline once refused a superstar salary because he hadn't played up to it that year. He said something like "I'll do better next year. You can give it to me then."

Sorry for the baseball talk, Gerald

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