Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How Long Does it Take You to Write a Story?

People sometimes ask me how long it takes to write a book and, because of my messy process, I don't normally have an answer. But this time I decided to keep a closer eye on my timeline.

I started DANGEROUS WATERS on December 12th 2011. It's likely I already had a solid outline in my head. This idea started as a vivid and heart-pounding nightmare about me and my own kids, walking through the woods. Needless to say it branched into a much bigger story concept over time.

I finished the first draft of this story Saturday 14th April. So, basically that's 4 months to write 90,000 words and have at least the first 50K edited to a reasonable standard (because I have an awesome CP!). BUT, this hasn't exactly been a normal year. If we add in Christmas, getting the flu, my beloved grandad dying and me going back to the UK for his funeral, son breaking his arm, I'd say I missed about a solid month-6 weeks of writing time. (Note to wannabe writers, I used this time to edit other manuscripts, as yet unsold, send out queries etc. I need a certain amount of mental peace to write the first draft but editing is a different creature). I also wrote draft blurbs and a draft synopsis during these 4 months

First draft is a long way from finished, although it's getting into shape. And some books take longer than others. So ballpark figure is it takes me 5-6 months to write a 90,000 novel. I could probably do it faster but I might not survive the experience. And every book is different in some way. Some flow pretty easily, others are like pulling teeth with knitting needles.

And I was thinking about that whole 'normal' thing. Life is never normal, there's always something to hit you unexpectedly. I think you need to plan it that way :)

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