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Greg Knauss, who refuses to write a book

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 20, 2001

Greg Knauss, who has written for more Web publications than there are Web publications, is my latest mini interviewee.

Q: Why don’t you write a book already? I mean, come on!

A: Oh, were you waiting? I’m sorry. I can give you a place to send the check if you want to pre-order.

Why don’t I write a book? Minor things, I guess, a lot of minor things: “Plot,” “characters,” “editorial common sense,” “the petty insistence of the publishing industry that books be longer than 2,000 words.” Y’know. Minor things. Not that I don’t have the ego to have thought about it, of course. I just don’t have the work ethic.

I _did_ try, once, or started to try. Years and years ago, a million years ago, I was convinced that what the world needed was all the angsty whining my sixteen-year-old ass could produce, so I took a bunch of stories I had done up — bad, _bad_ stories — and loaded them all into AtariWriter. AtariWriter then crashed, because it only left 24K free on my 400. And that was the end of that.

But now, with Word allowing me a good 36K to fill, I’ll blame the limits of my talent and temperament. Writing a book — and by “book,” I mean “novel” — requires a focus and consistency that I don’t think I could come close to mustering, even if I had the will to try. Characters need motivation, plots need structure, books need theme — I mean, _gah_. I only burp up the little stories I do because otherwise my story duct might clog and get infected. I don’t have to worry about tone or pacing or length or actually inventing situations or any of the other nonsense that defines actual writing. Which, um, pretty much explains why I’m on the Web, right where I belong.

You can still send the check if you want to, though. :: end

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