How long did it take you to write your Manuscript?

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hulbertsfriend
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How long did it take you to write your Manuscript?

Post by hulbertsfriend » July 27th, 2010, 9:30 am

I'm curious how much time people devote to a single writing project. From the first word of the page to finish, please include word count. My current manuscript stared May 1 2010. Word count 241,734. Now that I've finished the story I've begun ot edit...ick! Give me a hand if you can, when you see the name of my primary character- Devin Briar

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Re: How long did it take you to write your Manuscript?

Post by Margo » July 27th, 2010, 11:03 am

Do you want to include planning/research time or writing time only?

I generally assume 4 months for planning and research, 4 months for writing (100,000 word target), 4-6 weeks for editing. The up-front planning and the slower writing pace cuts down my edit time, but others might be less comfortable with the front-loading of work and prefer to write hot and take longer to edit.
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Re: How long did it take you to write your Manuscript?

Post by tchann » July 27th, 2010, 1:30 pm

I devote my lunch break every day to writing, and that's about it. My attention is too split otherwise! I write on a netbook but have deliberately kept myself off the office wifi so I don't get distracted during my lunch. Still, even though it's slow going, it's steady progress - at five hours a week (or less, based on if I had to do something during lunch), it took me just under six months to finish my 92,000-word first draft. :)

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Re: How long did it take you to write your Manuscript?

Post by Sommer Leigh » July 27th, 2010, 1:49 pm

I wrote my first draft in about 4 months, and them trashed about 90% of it and started rewriting. I'm into my second major edit/rewrite and I've been working on the project for about a year and a half. I put in probably on average 35-40 hours a week on my book. But I'd say at least a fourth, probably closer to a half of my time is spent researching for my book and researching for publication. I'll probably finish by the end of the summer. I also edit while I write.

Understand everyone is different. The way I write is that I write a couple of chapters and then start back on chapter 1 and begin reading through to what I'd written. This helps me visualize the pacing and the transitions. I edit all those chapters as I go and then start writing again. So when I finish the whole book I'll have edited some of the chapters many times over. Most people don't write like this.

I'm also working on a post-apocolyptic society, so I've had to do a ton of research and a lot of world building (or unbuilding, I guess you could say!)
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Re: How long did it take you to write your Manuscript?

Post by Callum » July 27th, 2010, 3:26 pm

Woah, I must be taking so long! I keep on re-writing so much of mine even before finishing it. I've been doing my WIP (including research) for roughly 6 months and I'm about to hit the 30,000 mark. :/
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Re: How long did it take you to write your Manuscript?

Post by AMSchilling » July 27th, 2010, 3:42 pm

I'm similar to Sommer in some ways. My first draft (90k words) took about 3.5 months. Then I basically rewrote 90% of it with draft two (we're talking MAJOR changes to plot and characters. And adding a new main character and then weaving in his storyline). That was another few months. And so on, until I got where I am now (query stage). It took about 18 months to get to the query stage, but the query and synopsis took a month of that. I work full time and have a pre-schooler that wants a lot of attention (silly kids! :-) ) so most of my writing got done a few hours a night.

Writing speeds vary. Some people will take a year or two for the first draft, because they perfect as they go. For me, that makes me lose the pace and excitement of the book. I write garbage to get it all down, and revise the heck out of it after.
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Re: How long did it take you to write your Manuscript?

Post by heyimkt » July 27th, 2010, 7:57 pm

My recently complete WIP took me around four months to write. I thought of the beginning and started it in January, but then finished working on something else until April. I came back to the idea then, and just finished it at 74,000 words! I do minor edits as I write, but am starting revisions very soon! I'd say for me, no matter what, it takes around three months to write a first draft.

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Re: How long did it take you to write your Manuscript?

Post by Robin » July 27th, 2010, 8:58 pm

First draft (40K) in about 2 months. Completely scrapped it, because it was CRAP!!! New project should be finished in about 5-6 months total (75K)
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Re: How long did it take you to write your Manuscript?

Post by craig » July 27th, 2010, 11:01 pm

Umm... a year? And I'm still not done...

To be fair, I was working three jobs at a time through most of that. Or, when working only one/two jobs, I was also a student on top of that.

The actual time spent writing, though, was two months (give or take several weeks), then nearly a year of no writing, followed by another two months and counting. And I'm currently at 80,000 words.

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Re: How long did it take you to write your Manuscript?

Post by jfw » July 27th, 2010, 11:46 pm

I was foolish enough to enter NaNoWriMo last year, and complete the challenge at just over 50K words in one month. I didn't finish the remaining 45K until April of this year, so that's around 6 months, but that's just the first draft.

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Re: How long did it take you to write your Manuscript?

Post by CharleeVale » July 28th, 2010, 12:42 am

Coming up on two years now, but then again I go to school full time and don't really get to write when I'm there.

It's fluctuating between 130-150k and is in the editing/refining stage.

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Re: How long did it take you to write your Manuscript?

Post by wildheart » July 28th, 2010, 2:46 am

Well, the one I just finished took me 24 days to write. It's a YA novel and ended at 40k, but I hope during revision I can bump it up to at least 50k.

Last year I participated in Nano and wrote 50k in 30 days.

But my very first attempt at writing a novel was at ten years old. It was completely handwritten and 100 pages long front and back. That took me a little longer. Almost two months.

So...I guess my first drafts come out rather quickly. And they should since they are SO short! Revision though, that will be another beast entirely. I plan on spending the rest of the year revising my finished first draft.

Oh, and before the end of the year I want to have written another first draft if possible.

For me, it's important to write fast because my ultimate dream is to be a published author. And since most authors make hardly anything I assume writing fast would make it easier to make a living.
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Re: How long did it take you to write your Manuscript?

Post by Margo » July 28th, 2010, 11:09 am

wildheart wrote:For me, it's important to write fast because my ultimate dream is to be a published author. And since most authors make hardly anything I assume writing fast would make it easier to make a living.
That can backfire on you. It may be a little different with YA work, which tends to be shorter, but in general authors (especially in adult fiction) who turn out books at a rate faster than about one every 9-12 months are considered hacks by the industry and readers alike. It is very easy to write two 100k books a year and a novella or two. It's almost impossible to do it well. Off the top of my head, I can think of a very famous author whose readers have started to complain that her 2+ books/year rate has resulted in a major decline in quality. As I work my way through her work (I'm quite a few books behind), I can see the slow decline, book by book, as her writing rate increased. I suspect I'll be giving up on her work in the next 2-3 books. Not coincidentally, that's about the point where past readers have said they'd had it with the unbelieveable and/or hardly existent plot, decline in characterization, instances of characters becoming TSTL, mindless sex scenes, etc.

There are some famous exceptions, but their work has never been considered quality fiction. They were knowingly turning out junk food novels, but that was their choice to make. Their readers knew what they were buying, so no one felt cheated.

It's best, I think, to take into consideration what kind of writer you want to be, aside from just genre. Do you want to be considered the best quality writer in your field, or most entertaining, or most thought-provoking? Is your aim to take your reader on a fun ride or say something really important? Do you want to be the Barbara Cartland of your field or the James Joyce? Or something in between? Making your career is more than deciding you want to make more money by writing more books.
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Re: How long did it take you to write your Manuscript?

Post by wildheart » July 28th, 2010, 8:20 pm

Margo wrote:
wildheart wrote:For me, it's important to write fast because my ultimate dream is to be a published author. And since most authors make hardly anything I assume writing fast would make it easier to make a living.
That can backfire on you. It may be a little different with YA work, which tends to be shorter, but in general authors (especially in adult fiction) who turn out books at a rate faster than about one every 9-12 months are considered hacks by the industry and readers alike. It is very easy to write two 100k books a year and a novella or two. It's almost impossible to do it well. Off the top of my head, I can think of a very famous author whose readers have started to complain that her 2+ books/year rate has resulted in a major decline in quality. As I work my way through her work (I'm quite a few books behind), I can see the slow decline, book by book, as her writing rate increased. I suspect I'll be giving up on her work in the next 2-3 books. Not coincidentally, that's about the point where past readers have said they'd had it with the unbelieveable and/or hardly existent plot, decline in characterization, instances of characters becoming TSTL, mindless sex scenes, etc.

There are some famous exceptions, but their work has never been considered quality fiction. They were knowingly turning out junk food novels, but that was their choice to make. Their readers knew what they were buying, so no one felt cheated.

It's best, I think, to take into consideration what kind of writer you want to be, aside from just genre. Do you want to be considered the best quality writer in your field, or most entertaining, or most thought-provoking? Is your aim to take your reader on a fun ride or say something really important? Do you want to be the Barbara Cartland of your field or the James Joyce? Or something in between? Making your career is more than deciding you want to make more money by writing more books.

I get what you are saying. And I am sure that is true for quite a few writers out there. But most of the writers I read write more than one book a year and they just keep getting better and better. Just because someone writes fast doesn't mean their writing sucks. Kind of like just because it took someone five years to write a book doesn't mean its pure gold you know? It depends on the writer. Everyone is different.

My true desire is to work full time as a writer so I can stay home with my child. I'm not looking to get rich, I just want to support my family like anyone else. And I love to write. Every spare moment I can find I work on my writing. I'm sure that is pretty much what everyone else here does. I should also make clear I spend much more time revising my work than writing a first draft. The one that I just finished will probably take me five months to edit.

I already know what kind of writer I want to be. I want to write books that I love, that are important to me. I have clear themes I wish to write about. I want to make people think. I don't care about being the most well written, I care about touching people's hearts.

Sorry for the long post, but I had to make this clear. I'm not just some weirdo that cares nothing about the quality of my writing or my work. I just want to write as many books that I love as possible, even if I never get published I will continue to write and improve. We only have so much time. I want to spend my time writing books I care deeply about.

If this sounds rude or harsh its not meant to be. I just don't want people thinking I don't care about what I write.
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Re: How long did it take you to write your Manuscript?

Post by One of the Mad Ones » July 28th, 2010, 8:58 pm

I've been working on my first novel for a little over a year with interruptions - taught 6 college comp classes one semester, got married, moved out of state, started my first year in my MFA, hated large portions of my first year in my MFA, etc.. I wrote every day, but I kept only what worked the best, and I revised those chunks when I didn't know where to go with the plot, so it was one of those two steps forward one step back processes. I just did two intensive line and content edits of the whole ms, and I sent it to a few trusted readers. It ended up being about 80,000 words. It feels complete to me, so it's hard to say how much longer I'll spend revising it. That will largely depend on what my readers have to say. I hope to query this fall.

Some people consider my timeline slow. I was never worried about how long it took to write it, only how well it worked. Sometimes I envy fast writers, but I also know that many of you spend quite a bit of time revising after that burst of inspiration. I tend to do that part as I go, and after the few weeks I just spent going through the full draft, I don't think I could be the kind of writer who focuses only on that part of the process for months. I think there's some pressure to be a fast writer - and I mean that to include everything from inception to final edits. Certainly there is if you want to make much money, if you're in a position to actually make money from writing. The thing that makes me nervous about completing another book is where I'll find that many ideas and characters to fill it out like my first. I pretty much put everything in this first one. (It's not Idea Soup, I promise.)

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