Time to Fess Up - How Long Is It Taking You?

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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Re: Time to Fess Up - How Long Is It Taking You?

Post by BlancheKing » May 3rd, 2010, 2:07 am

I think I may be out there when I say it took me 3 years to write mine. 1 to plan it and its series, another to do research on the market and taste, and a 3rd to write the one I have. It started out as 100k, then shrank to 90k, then 80k, and now it's hovering around 79k
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Re: Time to Fess Up - How Long Is It Taking You?

Post by zebra » May 3rd, 2010, 3:25 am

Well, my first novel took me eight months not to finish (ha ha, I got to around 130K)
The next one took me five months to finish, and it weighed in around 160K. I haven't started revising yet.
Now I'm working on a new one (started yesterday, actually!), and there's no telling how long it will take! Although, I hope to be finished by August September. We'll see, though. Life somtimes has a way of rearing its nasty head!

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Re: Time to Fess Up - How Long Is It Taking You?

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » May 3rd, 2010, 8:34 am

It takes as long as it takes. It took James Joyce ten years to write Ulysses. It took him fifteen to write Finnegan's Wake. One of my old writing Profs, Alistair Macleod, took more than a decade to write his single novel, the Dublin IMPAC award-winning <i>No Great Mischief</i>. Louis L'Amour, on the other hand, used to write books in a couple weeks. Repeatedly.

I've spent most of the last few years working on one big book that became two (though I've written other things along the way). But it's still quite a few years to devote to a project. But in the end it doesn't really matter. There is no set time. Everyone's process is different. All that matters in the end is that you write it. All that matters is that you put the hours in. In the end you'll have a book. And that's what we're all doing this for, right?

Take whatever time you need. It takes as long as it takes.

And, of course, good luck!
The Alchemy of Writing at www.alchemyofwriting.blogspot.com

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Re: Time to Fess Up - How Long Is It Taking You?

Post by karenbb » May 3rd, 2010, 11:58 am

My first draft took 6 months, 105K words, but I wrote every single day (without exception) and sort of stopped sleeping. All of that said, I had been mulling over the story in my mind for three years before that, had several false starts, until it all clicked in. The story now is drastically different from where my brain started three years ago.

I think people are right when they say that it takes as long as it takes. Sure, life gets in the way, but it's also about the times when you're on a roll and have to get out of the way of the words and the times when you stare at the keyboard or delete every last word you put down. Even though you're working, it doesn't always mean you're being productive.

I think it's great to spend a lot of time on a draft--it shows how much you are drawn to your own story.

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Re: Time to Fess Up - How Long Is It Taking You?

Post by JohnstonMR » May 3rd, 2010, 12:11 pm

I've been working for over a year, and I've barely begun. I'm a full-time teacher, part-time grad student, and more-than-full-time husband and father.

One thing to keep in mind: there is no "This is how long it should take." Rowling spent years writing before she was ready to publish; Melanie Rawn, who has a fairly successful writing career, claims it takes her between 3 to 5 years to write a novel.

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Re: Time to Fess Up - How Long Is It Taking You?

Post by bcomet » May 3rd, 2010, 12:14 pm

For me, it shifts.
A novella took one year to write and, seven years later, one summer to edit, then one more summer to edit, so nine years, plus I think that in the future I will edit it once more. Do all the years it takes to let the writing settle count? Probably.
Another novel was written, rough in three months, typed into a word processor three months later, but has not come up for editing in five years.

Do all the unfinished projects count time while you prioritize something else?

Now, I try to stay focused on a current WIP through completion.
With that in mind, I think now–with research and development time included–for a novel that needs to also breathe as it is written, it takes me from one to three years and requires whatever time it needs until it gets there, but it will be completed somewhere in that range, so long as I stay focused on it.

A simpler novel–with a complete plot outline and one POV– came in four weeks, (but oh, my aching forearms banging on the table).

What I am experiencing is that the more one writes, the more one writes. Some pieces are fast and furious. Others develop slowly over time.

I have heard of many authors who, away from all other distractions, can hammer out a novel in a month, at least a first draft. But I think writing is a lot like cooking. Some things can be flash braised and ready. Other things need time to draw up the flavors.

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Re: Time to Fess Up - How Long Is It Taking You?

Post by dios4vida » May 3rd, 2010, 12:32 pm

I'm almost done with revisions on my current WIP and it's been 2 years, 1 month. I had to take a writing sabaticcal due to some health issues which ate away six months, but that's still a decent amount of time for one project. It should be ready to enter queryland this summer, though, and I can get busy on my next WIP. Hopefully this one won't take me so long.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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Re: Time to Fess Up - How Long Is It Taking You?

Post by Rik » May 3rd, 2010, 12:33 pm

Four years.
To Posterity - the latest chapbook of poems from Rik Roots ($free)

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Re: Time to Fess Up - How Long Is It Taking You?

Post by Nick » May 3rd, 2010, 4:09 pm

Still working on this one but it's already taken a bit longer, or very near to longer...hang on...

Last MS I completed I started the first draft on March 3rd, but did a massive overhaul around the 24th and that was where I continued from so...March 24th to June 16th...84 days or so if my math isn't wrong (which it more than probably is). So, yeah. Started this one on Feb 25 and it's now May 3, so we're already looking at...67 days I think? and I'm nowhere near being done, so going rather slow with this one. Still, not horrendous progress. I was slow going with the last completed MS until I hit the about halfway point, and then I really picked up the pace and that boost in pace coupled with less time spent in school is really all the reason I have as to why I finished it when I did. With any luck this summer will also see a boost in the early days. Now, way way way first ever finished MS took just shy of the whole month of February, as I'd gotten my typewriter the first weekend of said month. I tend to go very slow at first, and then out of the blue write ridiculously fast, which is probably not a good thing.

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Re: Time to Fess Up - How Long Is It Taking You?

Post by aleeza876 » May 3rd, 2010, 5:03 pm

I hope to God by the end of this November it'll be done... it'll be two years then. from that year onwards i'd like to edit it rigorously and then...begin querying!
I write to escape reality, to escape the stifling heat of Karachi, to actually spend time with a nice, respectful, and essentially swoon-worthy teenage blonde guy. I write to escape a contary reality.

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Re: Time to Fess Up - How Long Is It Taking You?

Post by otherside89girl » May 3rd, 2010, 10:59 pm

I'm working on my first novel. I'm almost done with the first draft and it's been 14 months. I'll definitely be editing by the end of this month! Oh and it's about 85k words.

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Re: Time to Fess Up - How Long Is It Taking You?

Post by GeeGee55 » May 3rd, 2010, 11:59 pm

A long, long time. First draft of novel - hot, hot writing - 1 year, let it sit for a year, then draft 2, draft 3 ...and I have lost count - 8 or 9 years. But what fun I had along the way and what great people I got to know and what a lot I have learned.

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Re: Time to Fess Up - How Long Is It Taking You?

Post by wildheart » May 4th, 2010, 2:15 am

My very first novel took me about six months to write, but I was twelve. I don't really like calling it a novel. And it was only 50k.

After that I spent a lot of time writing short stories and poetry because I loved being able to finish it in one sitting.

I didn't try my hand at writing novels again until highschool. Problem was I could never get past page thirty.

When I realized that I couldn't finish a big project without planning it I decided to try a different approach. By planning ahead of time I won NanoWrimo! But promptly lost all my work...

After that I took a few months off before trying my hand at writing again. Started a 7,000 word short story in April and finished by then end of the month.

Now I am planning my next novel and I hope to start writing by the 7th of May. If things go as planned the first draft will be finished in August. I would like to be working on my query by the end of December. And sometime in January I want to send it off to agents. But I'll just have to see.

So...what I have learned is how long it takes me to complete a project totally depends on the story, the time I have to write, how interested I am, ect. Every time is a little different. Thats the exciting thing about writing. Never know where the next project will take me.
A mother. A writer. A dreamer.

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Re: Time to Fess Up - How Long Is It Taking You?

Post by gonzo2802 » May 4th, 2010, 10:57 am

I'm finding it takes me 2-3 months to write a first draft. The revising stage takes a little longer, about 3-4 months.

I admire those of you who have spent longer working on your drafts (for whatever reason). It takes a lot of dedication not to give up on a draft when it takes a significant time span to complete!

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Re: Time to Fess Up - How Long Is It Taking You?

Post by Sommer Leigh » May 4th, 2010, 12:36 pm

It has taken me 13 months, sort of. My first draft took 3 months. It was awful and I scrapped it when I was done. I took a month to re-outline and clear my head, then I restarted. I'm slow because I edit as I write. I finished this draft in March and started rewriting a part of the middle and the end and I've got help making edits for thew hole thing. I think I'll be done editing in June.

Good luck! I think it takes everyone a little different time frames. I think it depends entirely on how much research a person has, what their writing style is like, what their editing style is like, and how often they have to work on it. I worked during every spare moment I had, but I don't have kids and my husband was busy with classes so he never minded :-) I think that makes a big difference.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
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