Novel Writing: How Long Does One Take?

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Re: Novel Writing: How Long Does One Take?

Post by sierramcconnell » July 19th, 2011, 6:45 pm

I once read\heard it takes 3-5 years to successfully write a book. I laughed back then. I just snicker because I know it's true. It's not the /writing/ part. It's the writing-editing-trying not to go insane. But that was back before eBooks were popular and I could say pfft to all the other stuff and just put it out there for people to read.

I should probably start thinking of covers. [chin scratch]
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Re: Novel Writing: How Long Does One Take?

Post by Chantelle.S. » July 20th, 2011, 1:36 am

I would think it depends on how dedicated you are to writing a novel.
I've rewritten a novel in a month by spending at least six hours every day writing it. It went that fast because I had a clear outline of the plot to work from. Plus it doesn't hurt to have the motivation - my support group at the time expected the next chapter finished by the time they'd finish reading the previous chapter.
It took me over a year prior to the 30-day-sprint to get the first draft written.
I don't know how long it's going to take to do a third draft (which is essential), and then finally going into the proper editing and revising stage of the novel. All I know at this point is that I don't have adequate time to do either of those things. I'm sure if I set a deadline for myself and I have the support of my family to back me up on it, that I could do another rewrite in a month, and I can estimate another month for polishing it before submitting it to agents. The problem with that is I live in the real world where I have two kids under 5 distracting me all the time, with a third one due next weekend, and with my children being a handful I can't expect to dump my duty as a mother onto MY mother for six hours every day anyway.

So I think it all comes down to the person writing the novel: their responsibilities, their lives, their motivations, their support, etc. I mean I wrote a story of nearly 60 000 words in 7 days. But I was living with my parents, I was fresh out of high school and had no other responsibilities like a job or studies. It was just me, my headphones, a locked bedroom door and my computer for a week. I'd sleep for two or three hours, then get straight back to writing. I had brief bathroom breaks, and ate like a starved person while I sat at my computer mulling over what I was going to write down next. And then I got right to it.

It also depends on the satisfaction metre of the writer. Some people like to edit while the type (like me) which makes for slow progress. Others find it easier to just throw it all out there on the page and worry about the nitty-gritty stuff once they have a complete manuscript. Some people are happy with their work after the second draft, other people push themselves to the brink of insanity and will have over 30 drafts before they are satisfied with their work. Like someone said before me, it takes as long as it takes.
"Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s." -Stephen King

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