Tuesday, November 16, 2010

assembly-line fiction

remember james frey, that a million little pieces novelist who duped oprah? he's set up full fathom five, a "fiction factory" composed of young writers trying to create the next twilight. what could possibly be wrong with that? well... a number of things. nymag.com has the dirt.


Frey emphasized that this was collaboration—not my own project—and that he needed writers who will listen to him. He gave as an example a King Arthur adaptation he was working on with another writer. That author had listened to his criticism and rewritten it in a different voice; because the author was receptive, Frey was positive the book would sell, and big. Another project, a Gossip Girl–like series he had worked on with two writers employed at Star magazine, he said had gone south. The writers hadn’t made his requested character changes, so Frey had recently fired them.

He reintroduced the idea that he was modeling his company on Damien Hirst’s art factory, a warehouse in which a reported 120 employees work to create fine art signed by Hirst. He considered Full Fathom Five an improvement on the way traditional book packagers like Alloy work. Generally, a book packager conceives an idea, hires writers to generate the content, and sells the package to a publishing house, much like a film-production company selling a project to a studio. The book packager’s writer will sometimes share in the revenue but usually just take a standard fee, to the tune of $10,000. Frey seemed to think that writers who had a bigger share in the profits would deliver better books.

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