There are a lot of qualities one can admire in a writer. The way they turn a phrase. Their vivid and lively descriptions. Their realistic portrayals of characters or everyday life. Their realistic dialog.
All good qualities to admire.
What I admire most, however, is a vivid and tireless imagination. I’m in awe of a writer who can create fantastic adventures, new worlds. A writer who is seems to have an endless trough from which to draw ideas from.
I most admire writers who are prolific. Writers who can create story after story. Novel after novel. World after world. Adventure after adventure.
Edgar Rice Burroughs. The master of sword and planet stories. He created memorable heroes and fantastic worlds. He wrote about Mars, Venus, Pellucidar, and the land that time forgot. He created the memorable Tarzan, arguably one of the greatest action heroes of all time. He wrote somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 novels.
Robert E. Howard. In his brief 12 year writing career, Howard wrote over 100 stories and created some very memorable heroes, including Conan the barbarian, Kull, Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn, and his most written about character, Sailor Steve Costigan.
Walter B. Gibson. Under the pseudonym Maxwell Grant , Gibson wrote 282 of the 325 novels about the pulp hero, The Shadow. “The Shadow” magazine at its peak popularity appeared twice monthly. Gibson would often write two 60,000 word novels a month, producing 10,000 to 15,000 words a day, often writing on three different typewriters at the same time. In addition, Gibson was an amateur magician and wrote several books on magic. He also produced numerous article on magic for newspapers and magazines. He wrote the scripts for “The Shadow” comics. In addition, he also wrote 23 novelettes about Norgil the Magician.
Stan Lee. Yes, the Marvel Comics icon. Comic book writers have always fascinated me. How do they come up with all those stories, month after month, year after year? There are many comic book writers I could include here who have been as prolific as Stan “The Man” Lee, but I think Stan deserves accolades alone. He created, or co-created (most notably with Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko), the X-Men, Daredevil, Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Nick Fury, and the Fantastic Four which included Mr. Fantastic, the Thing, the Human Torch, and the Invisible Girl, along with a host of super-villains. Stan revolutionized the comic industry by giving his characters flaws, personalities, real life problems, and having them face serious social themes.
Isaac Asimov. Asimov was a writing machine. He started writing at 11, sold his first story at 18, and never looked back. He is remembered for his science fiction, but he was equally at home writing mysteries, science fact, history, and guides to myths, the Bible, and Shakespeare. Between his fiction and his non-fiction output, he authored nearly 500 books.
Ray Bradbury. Bradbury has written horror, fantasy, science fiction, and mystery stories. He has written more than 30 books, including the dystopian “Fahrenheit 451,” and hundreds of short stories.
All of these were tireless writers. Their discipline must have been Herculean. They, and many others I failed to mention, amaze me and inspire me daily. Whenever I’m feeling lazy and think maybe I won’t write today, I think, What Would Asimov Do?