How long to write a book?

Mouse

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#1
I've finally finished my novel. I started it years ago, left it, then picked it up again sometime last year. I feel like I've been writing it forever.

I was just trying to find a multiple page view on my word program so I can have a look at the layout, but couldn't find one. Instead I found something which told me how many minutes I've spent editing. I guess that means how many minutes I've had the document open? Or been writing within the document?

Well, I must've already had about 21,000 words written. I've since written an extra 58000 words.

According to this minute counter thing, I've taken 316.48333333333335 hours, or just over 13 days to write this.

That seems like nothing! 13 days?! Mad. (I know the NaNo is 50k in one month...)

Without this counter thing, realistically, I've taken a year or more to write 58k.

I just wondered how long it took everybody else to write their novels?
 
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#2
My first has taken me 18 months (it is a 100K and needs a final edit to bring that down a bit), but I have written several other first drafts, short stories, blogs etc in that time. It has also been completed 'twice' and then my writing has improved so much that I have opted to rewrite it. It took me eight complete rewrites (as in deleting the previous draft and starting again rewrite) to get this one right.

It takes me about a month or less to write a draft of 89K so with what I have learned I can complete a novel in two-three months. Working at 2-3 hours a day. So it takes me 40-60 hours to write an 80-90K draft. Editing takes double that lol OK it has taken me a month as well.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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#3
At least a year. Lately ... well, we won't go into that, except to say several years and counting.

But Mouse, you have to count the time when you aren't at the computer, the time when you're just thinking about the book and what comes next. There are a lot of things, things that don't involve sitting there writing down words, that count toward writing your novel.

Anyway, the answer is: As long as it needs to take.
 

chopper

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#4
Anyway, the answer is: As long as it needs to take.
That. With knobs on. :D

MC1 took 3.5 years, judging from the excerpts I posted here in the beginning. given that i was already thinking about the second half of the story even then, you could say that MC2 will take (x+3.5) years to write.

i have one of those "minutes spent editing" things too - i can't even bring myself to look at it.
 

Glen

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#5
About a year. This is if I start the clock from the moment when I had a pretty clear view of where the story was going, who the characters were, and what was driving the story. I aimed to write 1K wds p d, but there were periods when I wrote nothing. It finished around 130K wds.

If I start the clock from the moment I first had the idea for the story, then that would be, around, 20 years.

I don't know whether to type a smiley face or a sad face.

Smiley I think, cos it's finished! :0)
 

Boneman

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#6
My first opus took about a year,(I was a working quite a lot of hours in my day job) and then editing/rewriting it all took another year - was in a critique group and we met once a month.

My second took 4 months for the first draft as I had much more spare time. Editing and rewriting about another 6 months - having said that I'm doing a rewrite of the whole middle section, after feedback, to see if I can improve it. So I guess about a year in all, give or take...
 

Susan Boulton

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#7
Writing, well the actual putting it into first draft has taken about 4-6 months. The thinking of, researching and plotting anything between two to four years if I am lucky.

I tend to get ideas, make a rough plotline then set it aside and come back to it when I can in between working on other novels. The current WIP started as a rough idea back in 2009. At that time I was working on Hand of Glory. I was doing the main research for the current WIP while working on Oracle last year. I started actually writing in early May, but hit a problem with parts of the plot in June, so it stalled. Started it again, but recently hit a problem with one POV and currently have some serious upset in real life, so slowed again. I am now aiming to pick up the pace and have the first draft finished just after Christmas.
 

Ian Whates

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#8
The simple truth is that it varies, depending on all sorts of factors, including how comprehensively you plot and how organically you write.

My first novel, City of Dreams and Nightmare, took me nine months. The next three (the second 'City' book and both 'Noise' books) each took me around eight months. My fifth, City of Light and Shadow, took seven months. The publisher had initially asked for delivery in five but I said, 'No!' As it was, I delivered a week late (the only time I've ever been late).

My current WIP has taken a little over six months to date, and I'm about half way, so I'm hoping that the second half comes a little more quickly than the first.
 

Mouse

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#9
Some of you guys are quick! :D

I know it's a 'as long as it takes' sort of answer, but I was just curious. I write scenes and ideas in notebooks too, so none of that is included in my minute counter thingy.

I just like the idea that if I wasn't to eat or sleep (well, I don't like the idea of not eating or sleeping!) for 13 days, and do nothing but write, I could have a novel done!
 
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#13
I just hit the 80k mark last night. I've been working on this novel for about 5 months now, which kinda makes me a little sad inside because I wanted it finished by Christmas and it really is nothing something I work on every day anymore.

80k words and I have another 50-70k to go I think. It's still possible to get it done by Christmas time, but I just gotta work harder.

Anyway, I don't have a little counter to determine my progress, I just consider the total days of my life it took me before the first draft was complete.
 
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