Only Scalzi can say it this well.
Because it appears someone needs to say these things out loud, some thoughts, for the consideration of readers, about authors, particularly novelists. Warning: This is long.
1. Authors aren’t machines: Which is to say, we do not reliably and through a purely mechanical process extrude Novel-Length Textual Product with Extra Added Plot and Character Flavors™ on a predictable schedule. Like all things that live, we do our thing imprecisely. Sometimes the novels come out regularly and uniformly; sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the novels conform to our own expectations of what they should be; sometimes they come out malformed and need to be fixed before they can be sent out into the world. Sometimes they just don’t work at all and have to be tossed. Sometimes production is easy, sometimes it’s not.
Certainly many authors strive for predictable process, which is why so many of them block out a regular amount…
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