1. ugu
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    ugu Member

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    How long does it take you to finish a short story?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ugu, Jun 21, 2008.

    (In my world, a short story is roughly 1500 words long.)

    I normally spend as long as 20 hours writing the rough draft (4-5 hours a day). Then I would go back and reread it and end up spending about 5 hours changing things around. I don't really use my time efficiently because my computer is connected to the Internet and I'm always looking stuff up online even though I don't really have to, but I would say it takes me about 25 hours to write a short story from scratch.

    And you?
     
  2. Sandy Banks
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    Sandy Banks Member

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    i usually have the idea hibernating in my head a few days and then i write it all out in one mad 4 hour burst
     
  3. Marloy
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    Marloy Contributing Member

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    I can take up to days, but that really depends on the story. :D
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I can spend days, if not weeks, on one story.

    However, that comes with plot creation (However long it takes), writing the first draft (Normaly anything from five hours to three days, depends on the length of the story) then checking said first draft (a few hours minimum) the second and third drafts, which I find are the most important drafts (Normaly taking a few days to complete. Not counting checks.) then all other drafts after that and however long it takes to write them. Untill I am happy with the standerd of the short story, I keep working on it and don't stop untill it's done to a standerd I see as acceptible.

    It's always good to have high standards for your work.
     
  5. Hulk
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    Hulk Banned

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    If it's of about 1500 words I can complete it in about one and a half hours. Any longer than 2000 and I take two or three days to do it (one hour per day).
     
  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Most of my short stories are well longer than 1500 words.

    I've written about ten so far and the three published have been about 4600, 7700 and 9100 words. In general it takes me from 3 weeks to three months from conception to finished product for submission.

    Terry
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    when i was writing same, i usually turned them out in one sitting of a couple or three hours... another session for polishing, and they were done... the longer ones might take a few hours longer and take more reworking before i was satisfied...
     
  8. Scribe Rewan
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    Scribe Rewan Contributing Member

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    For 1500 words then about 1-2 hours, with another 30 mins of proof reading. That's to go on the forums here for critique though- if I couldnt rely on the wonderful people here then it'd be several hours of proof reading to make sure it was right. I dont mean I put it on here for other people to review to save me work though, just that I have to try and look for things i naturally wouldn;t spot that were wrong, which takes time.
     
  9. Sato Ayako
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    Sato Ayako Contributing Member

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    A 1500-word story for me would take less than an hour if I was able to work without distractions and had a very good idea of where I was going. I'd give it two if not.

    Most of my stories go under 1000 words or above 3000. 1000-word stories take me anywhere from thirty to forty-five minutes depending on how dialogue heavy they are. 3000-word stories and above are usually three day affairs, taking me a total of five hours. Anything over 10,000 words is guaranteed to be a week, but that's moving out of the realm of short stories, isn't it?
     
  10. Night
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    Night Member

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    I would say about two hours, maybe 2 1/2 at most. I tend to proofread as I go. Every other paragraph or so, I read the entire thing over from the beginning to make sure I'm catching everything, and then I proofread the entire thing when I'm finished. But it also depends on my mood.
     
  11. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    That's pretty much my case. However, if I don't want to write something, I could take months.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it shouldn't matter how long it takes to write anything... the only thing that really matters, is the quality of the writing, not how quickly it was done...

    a fast writer can turn out garbage in minutes, a slow writer can turn out a masterpiece taking days/weeks/months/years... and vice/versa!
     
  13. Sato Ayako
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    Sato Ayako Contributing Member

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    This is true, Mamma. Generally, however, if a writer rips out a piece too quickly or too slowly, it won't be as good. Too quickly and the writer didn't think about what she was doing. Too slowly and the writer lingered, letting the fire of the idea fade.

    It depends on the individual writer. For me, the longer it takes me to get out a piece, the less likely it is to have any quality. If my neighbor takes much less than a week to get even a flash piece done I swear it's like he never even learned to write. One of my friends has to finish in less than a week and a half or the quality slips. (You can only imagine how hard it is for her to write 80,000 words for a novel. They turn into marathon affairs.)
     
  14. Adelaide
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    Adelaide Member

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    It truly depends on the story. Sometimes it takes forty-five minutes, sometimes it takes me weeks. Its length, my impetus to write and the complexity of the story all are factors.
     
  15. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    Truly depends. Sometimes I can churn out an entire rough draft in one thirty minute session, while others I may only manage to add a single sentence each day.

    I just typed up an entire page of a new story yesterday, but could only contribute two additional lines of dialogue this morning.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I agree wholeheartedly with Adelaide and Mr Sci Fi on this. I can't say I even pay much attention to the clock. Sometimes the entore piece is clear to me and just flows out of my fingers into the keyboard. Other times, I'll get to a certain point where I know what I want to present, but I'm not quite sure on how I want to present it.

    In any case, I try to set it aside for a day (or more) after I first "finish" it. That second look a day later usually results in big improvements.
     
  17. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    Yeah, my stories are never quite finished for quite some time. Rough drafts may vary, but revisions can take me months. Like Cog, I need to let the piece dry out in a drawer for a few months before I'm ready to revise it. I'm more critical of my work when it reads like it was written by a stranger.

    It's amazing. Things I thought worked during the initial draft I find myself taking a red pen to with a cringe later.
     
  18. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I've had a story take me an hour to put down on paper in a form I was happy with.

    I've had a story linger unfinished for years as just notes scribbled in a notebook I keep.

    I’ve had stories fall everywhere in between.

    I try not to apply the epistemology of science to what is, for me, an artistic endeavor. You cannot measure a Van Gogh with a ruler to determine its beauty. It’s the wrong tool.

    I know that's a frustrating answer to some people, but it's my answer that fits me.
     
  19. Conall
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    Conall New Member

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    1500 words would take me about an hour, providing I had a clear enough idea in my head as to what the story is about. Though my bad habit is once I've written the story I very rarely go back to edit, when I know I should. Not sure why I do that?

    I know what you mean about finding the internet a big distraction especially when you get an email in, and it becomes a game of how long can leave the email unread before I have to open it up. I usually last about 3.2 seconds, I'll break the 4 second mark one day...
     
  20. garza33
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    garza33 Active Member

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    I started writing 'Ralph' three or four weeks ago and can't finish the damned thing. Atlantis now claims a word count of something over 23 thousand. The boy is totally out of control. I have the beginning, which I posted here, and the ending wrapped up pretty well, but the middle keeps expanding as I think of all the things that could happen to bring a 14-year-old innocent (well, as innocent as any 14-year-old boy is capable of being) to a 19-year-old armed robber gunned down in a drug deal gone bad.

    I'm not sure I like this fiction business. If I ever get rid of this thing I'm going back to writing about politics, economics, and social issues. Those are things I know about and can control. I don't mean I can control politics or economics or social issues. I mean I can keep my writing about them under control.
     

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