THE TIMES of London ran a piece on the working methods of novelist James Patterson, showing that his high-turnover fiction output is largely a result of his farming out the production work to hired-gun collaborators.
Patterson is renowned for his “golden gut”, an instinct for what will and won’t work in a story. When (Maxine) Paetro receives the final outline, conceived by Patterson and worked on by her, she fleshes it out into a manuscript, which will become a 400-page book, and hands it over to him. “And it’s his book,” she says. “He runs with it from there, although he won’t usually make big changes.”
In one sense, Patterson is living every writer’s dream – to have the thoughts but somehow dodge the slog of realising them. But most writers will concede that, however inconveniently, it’s in the slog of the realising that much of the real writing takes place.