So following along with Dean Wesley's Smith ghost novel was enlightening, but not entirely surprising. He wrote a 70,000 word book in 10 days.
I've written 4–6K fanfic chapters and short stories in 2–3 hrs, so I know it's possible, but there's that head of steam factor. I have it just as easy as he does when I write into the abyss. I'm not.
There are worlds I know so well inside and out that I can scribble off a piece of them in very little time at all. And some I know so well that I can't just keep on writing past the point I slid out of character voice. That I can't just plow ahead and change history when other stories in the canon have already established the point. That I can't just call a story done when it isn't because it's really just the first level of info I yanked out of a character's head but the details to make it make sense to someone else aren't there yet.
When I'm writing Vardin, Kingdoms and Thorn, Breath even, I'm not writing into an abyss. I'm writing into a world so full I sometimes bump up against the scenery. Nevertheless, that does not make me unproductive.
Within the last three weeks, while I was sick as all get out (and I say this not lightly, y'all; I was sick), I worked on three larger pieces: Dowse and Bleed, the prose version of "History Lesson on the Night Train," and what's shaping up to a novelette/novella size Vardin piece called "By Blood and by Land" about Llereya and Cayden and the whole history surrounding "Hunt the Mists." I've written more than 10,000 words while sick and in less than forty-five minutes a day. I don't feel bad about that.
It's easier when I'm not locked in though. Writing into the abyss is easy. You can make up any decisions on the fly and not worry about the consequences. Which is how I got the first mess of "Dowse and Bleed." That story flew out of my fingers.
The only problem is I was completely unfamiliar with writing mysteries of any kind (mysterious being a different case altogether), and so I hadn't a clue where I was going and let an awesome setup go anticlimactic with the tension draining out as I moved forward. The new version is better to me. It satisfies me because it's truer to the characters, but I had to take a whole break to get the case on straight in my head. (Thank you, in_the_blue!)
"The Alchemist" flew out of my fingers, written in less than three hours, took minimal edits, and it's my bar none bestseller that everybody likes. I like writing into the abyss. I just can't do it often because once that story's down, it tends to grow into a world in my all too fertile imagination.
Thanks all for your patience as I recovered. See you soon with more stories.