Monday, November 21, 2005

Writer duos

My friend Tosikko talks about on her blog about the Finlandia prize of literature. The shortlist has a SF novel by Risto Isomäki, and the jury said that it's not a perfect piece, but it discusses important matters and henceforth could receive the prize. Tosikko asks, rather rightly so, why Isomäki's novel is up there, if it's not well written. Someone commented that Finnish writers are usually not great stylists, or if they are, they don't discuss important matters (for example, Jari Tervo, who on the other hand wrote Myyrä/The Mole, an Ellroyish piece about Urho Kekkonen, the president of Finland 1956-1981 [or was it 1982? or -83?]).

I suggested that Finnish literature could benefit from a system in which someone comes up with the plot and the characters - and of course the issues - and someone else does the actual writing. This hasn't happened much in here, while it's very common everywhere else. Do you remember any actual writer duos from the annals of Finnish literature?* Take for example Ilkka Remes, the most best-selling thriller writer now. He could easily increase his income by making up a plot and characters and giving the stuff to some other writer. Then they'd split the advance fee and royalties (or whatever the system is in the US or UK).

This could also help some aspiring writers who don't have yet a novel of their own (or have had one), but who show promise. As the Finnish paperback and fictionmag industry has waded to almost non-existence, there's no real let-out for young writers. They have to make their breakthrough immediately with their first novel, which is kind of silly. I know couple of young writers who could easily fill out the pages from an existing synopsis.

* Tuuri Heporauta and his brother Arijoutsi wrote a SF thriller in the fifties, called The Mines of the Moon. Mika Waltari and Armas J. Pulla wrote as Captain Leo Rainio in the thirties. That's just about it. Any other suggestions? [Nota bene: Tapani said that I was in error first. It was Armas J. Pulla, not Leo Anttila who collaborated with Waltari on the Captain books. I changed it into Pulla now.]

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