Bane’s blog post tonight got me thinking about how long it takes each of us to write our novels. I’ve read of some people who can pound out a book in a few months (Stephen King) and others who take years (Sue Monk Kidd) to complete their masterpieces. And then there are the crazies who can push out a whole book in a month for NaNoWriMo. That makes my head hurt just thinking about it!
I started writing HATSHEPSUT: FEMALE PHARAOH in January 2008. I only managed 100 pages in the first year. I just didn’t know how to manage my time and went whole months without writing, knowing where I wanted to go, but now knowing how to get there. And then this January I buckled down and started writing. Unfortunately, with a two-year-old and a full time teaching gig I only managed about an hour of writing each night.
Thank goodness for summer vacation.
I started the summer at around 250 pages and finished August 16th with something close to 430 pages. I used page tallies instead of word counts to keep me motivated. Now I’m at 369 pages. So I exceeded Stephen King’s 10% formula. But I think a lot of beginning writers write a lot more than they need so I feel good about all that chopping. I still have some fluffing, metaphors and the like that I tend to add in last so it will probably grow a teensy bit before I’m totally done.
How long did it take you to write your latest manuscript?
Stephanie, my first one (buried deep somewhere) took me several years (and was a whopping 350k)… it had no continuity and my motivation was lacking. Everyone after that, though, has taken me between 3 – 6 months, and has ranged in WC from 44K – 81K…
The last two have been much faster b/c I've only been working part time, but, in some ways, it's been more stressful b/c I've got more time to over-edit 🙂
I'm going to discount my first few years writing because those works were fairly craptastic. It took me roughly three months to finish the latest revision of SON OF MAGIC (which I'd been toying with and rewriting for several years prior) and it's so far taken me about six months for CALLARION AT NIGHT (which is on revision three and not done yet).
Thank god for jobs that allow writing time during the day. Otherwise I'd never get it done.
My first one took me six years or so. 🙂 I started it one summer, got fifty pages in and got stuck. So I left it alone. And alone. And alone. Then, I was telling my boyfriend about this time last year about this story that I'd started writing that I really wanted to finish but couldn't even get to anymore because the computer was now ancient and slow. He was kind enough to get it off for me in December, and in January I decided to take "Novel Writing" as a class at my local community college. I'm so glad I did—it jump-started me into this whole world, gave me the tools and the confidence to re-work my plot, and I finished my rough draft in July. I spent about two months adding word count and making revisions, so I'd say about eight months this year.
The new one, I don't know what's possessed me. I'll have my first draft finished this weekend, though it's again too short. Ah well. I have the opposite problem with word count.
8 months in and I'm still working on one book. Hopefully the next one goes faster!