1. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Time trials

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by The-Joker, Sep 23, 2008.

    I was just curious...

    How long does the average writer take to write an average page of a decent first draft(500 words)? And I know its largely dependent on quality... but its nice to know the amount of time people dedicate.
     
  2. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    Well, the slowest writers produce one book in a lifetime. Call it forty-ish years. The fastest produce two or three books a year (not good books, but books.) Call it three months, pure draft-writing time.

    Somewhere in between those two is the answer. :D

    For me, when I'm really in the zone I can blast out two or three thousand words in a couple of hours, but I've sat for six hours over a measly four or five hundred words many times before. Even within a writer's own experience, the variance is pretty wide.
     
  3. Wickerman1972
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    Wickerman1972 Member

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    I'm extremely slow but I haven't written much either. I guess I could get faster with practice. Best I can do is 1,000 words or so in a sitting. But that's on a good day. The other night I stared at my monitor for 3 hours and wrote just two sentences. No ****. I've been stuck for the past few days since then. Just a bit ago I was thinking that I might just dump the sequence I'm struggling with (It relates to a certain element of characterization.) and save that reveal for later in the book. Maybe that will get me back on track. I think I have the worse obsession of all: prose. I really agonize about how I'm wording things. I mean I really go nuts over it. That's too simple, that's too damned complicated sounding, etc. It isn't unusual for me to rewrite a paragraph ten times over. Some guys don't seem to give it much thought, not on the first draft anyway. They focus on story instead. I wish I could look at it that way but just can't.
     
  4. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    One time Dean Koontz wrote a novel in 1 week, and that includes editing. He does all his own editing BTW. And that book was published. Several other books he wrote in two or three weeks, and they were also published. Dean Koontz kicks butt.

    I write about 1000 words in an hour. Then I can easily spend a few hours editing and rewriting, because I suck at editing. I am studying and practicing though.
     
  5. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    1000 words in an hour is lightening quick. Pretty much unattainable for me anyway. I write about 500 words/hour. And thats for the scenes that aren't challenging.
     
  6. Sophronia
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    Sophronia Member

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    Depends on how inspired I am and whether I have writer's block or not XD sometimes I can sit down and write five pages, and other times I'll spend an hour trying to come up with a couple of paragraphs.
     
  7. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    I always followed the model: three pages a day...90days to a finished first draft.
     
  8. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    It seems to usually take me about an hour or so to write about 1700-2000 words, so...someone else can do the math because I suck at that. :redface: I don't do drafts since I try to get it the best I can the first time. So the first time I write it it's "decent."
     
  9. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    It comes and goes, mostly depending on where I'm at in the plot and whose narrating. (My current work is 1st person and changes narrators from chapter to chapter.) Action scenes breeze by quickly. Introducing new characters is slooooow; I don't want to screw up that first impression. My MC's narratives go smoothly, because his style is similar to my own, but some of the other characters are tougher to write as. I don't think like them, so I have to watch what I say and how I say it. As for editing, I edit as I go, cleaning up mispellings as soon as I see the red squiggle and seeing what's up when the green ones appear. i don't get them often, so it doesn't take me "out of the zone" to stop and fix that stuff. Usually when I reread, it's just to make some minor changes in word choice here and there, nothing major.

    But I digress. To answer the question, I probably average about 1,000-1,500 words an hour.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i wouldn't waste time wondering about speed, just concentrate on quality...
     
  11. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Good advice, but to make money as a novelist, don't you need to crank out 2-3 novels a month? Considering you are only going to get $1000-3000 per novel.

    I think if you could consistently get short stories in top paying magazines you could make a living do that as well. They pay what, around 400 per story?
     
  12. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    Dude, even R.L. Stine doesn't crank out three novels a month.

    And if you're selling your novel for $1000 total, you need to have a serious talk with your agent. Like woah.
     
  13. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Haha. Well I am going by Dean Koontz book on how to write fiction written in the 70's, lol. He said he would get around $1,500 upfront, and then royalties, if and when ever they came in. But a more up to date book I read, said new authors, or even established authors only get a front of about $1500-4000.

    Do they pay significantly higher now?

    Oh also this author, I forgot her name, but she has been on the best sellers list, said it can take 10 years before you start to see royalties.
     
  14. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    The royalties are a significant portion of the income, especially when the advance is so relatively small. Discount them at your peril.

    Also bear in mind that $1000 in the late 1970's is rather more money today.
     
  15. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Some people are just curious, and already do concentrate on quality. I'm not letting anyone else's writing speed influence how I write, but I have to admit I too was curious about other people's output. *shrug*
     
  16. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    You know, some nights (and i mean some as in rare) nights i can write a complete chapter (mine are quiet lengthy on first draft) of about 15,000 to 20,000 in a night BUT most nights i were i can be motivated, having my pen and paper/word document open for 10 hours and write a single sentence..

    With the single liners, they can be some of my best stuff (as it will lead on to the following night with wild typing), whereas the BIG nights lead to nowhere as polishing can take 20 times longer for me to complete, compared to just doing it

    So, rant mode here.
     
  17. Westhouse
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    Westhouse Member

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    I keep a notebook of all ideas and I'm constantly rereading them over and over and I carry out a pseudo-meditation on how to connect them. So, it won't take me that long to write about 1000 words, but it takes a while to get to that point.
     
  18. Little Miss Edi
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    Little Miss Edi Contributing Member

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    Agreed, although I can't read my own handwriting so that presents a problem :p

    I'll spend ages pulling the characters out of my head so I can see 'em clearly. I'm constantly turning them over and over - when I'm driving/eating/trying to sleep, even when I'm working. After that writing is a nice fluid process.

    The actualy word count-writing bit, completely depends on how coherant I am at the time. 4am, I struggle a little! :D
     
  19. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    When I'm really motivated and the ideas are flowing, I can do 5,000+ words in a day (although I will often cut plenty of that before the end of the next day - I'm a perfectionist and if one sentence isn't perfect it goes - along with everything else after it). On the other hand, when I'm not particularly motivated and ideas aren't flowing, I can go weeks and months without writing a thing.

    When it comes to drafts, I wrote one 150,000 word draft about 3 years ago, and it took me little over six months to complete. On the other hand, I've been working on my current draft for 4 months and I've not yet hit 15,000 words (although I do have a habit of redrafting every passage several times, so this summer I've still probably written 100,000 words or so).
     
  20. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    I am a very slow writer. I think that it's sort of hard for me if I don't have a large chunk of time to write. 500 words will take me in between 3 or 4 hours, at least that's how it's been lately. Right now I'm just trying to write anything I can think of because I haven't thought of a beginning yet! So not totally knowing what I'm writing really slows me down. I remember last summer knowing exactly what I was writing. Several times I would get 10 hand written pages in 4-5 hours. But I don't know what the word count is because I never typed that draft up.
     

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