1. FireWater
    Offline

    FireWater Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2016
    Messages:
    248
    Likes Received:
    139

    Would love to hear from people who have completed a novel in a short amount of time

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by FireWater, Aug 7, 2016.

    Hi everyone,

    What's the shortest amount of time you've written a complete full-length novel? I've read articles by people who have written a novel in a month, or even less, and am wondering if anyone hear has accomplished a similar feat.

    I'm working on a novel that will probably be 90,000-100,000 when done, and currently I've got about 30,000, so I have another 60-70K left to go. I'm going on a trip in two months and want my book to be done by then, for several reasons I won't get into here.

    I know it's absolutely possible to finish my book in 2 months, but for some reason I'm finding it far more daunting than I should. When it comes to other things--like short stories I write for friends, or written assignments for work--I can sit down and crank out a few thousand words in a couple of hours, and it's good quality too. But with my novel I find this far more difficult. There's both the more "emotional" issues like fear of failure and procrastination, as far as the more "logistical" issues like making things more complex than they need to be.

    I really just want to be on track to getting this done. And I do love my story, a lot. It's just that, for reasons I'm not sure of, I have a very hard time bringing it through to the end. Even breaking past the 30,000-word threshold semi-recently was a huge accomplishment.

    I do work a 9-5 style job, and have an active social life, but I also typically have 3 or 4 free evenings a week, so time is not the issue.

    Any help or advice? :)
     
  2. Dr. Mambo
    Offline

    Dr. Mambo Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2016
    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    139
    Location:
    Iowa
    When you say you want your novel to be "done" do you mean you want it ready for publication, or do you mean you want the first draft ready to sit for a while so you can come back to it after your trip and begin editing?

    I've only written one novel-length story (78k words), and I spit out about a 50k chunk of it over a span of 4 weeks. However, I didn't really have any responsibilities at the time (no job, no school), and I turned in at least a half dozen days--if not ten or twelve--where I wrote for 12 hours straight. Most days I spent at least 4-5 hours writing or editing what I'd already written. It was quality material, but it took a lot of time to get there, and I still had to do some major editing later on.

    My advice is to shoot for 1000 words per writing session until it's done. If you're having trouble with procrastination, then holding yourself to a quota should help. Putting some words to paper (or .doc) will hopefully inspire you, too, and make it easier to sit down and write it in later sessions. Along with that, this site is a devil when it comes to beating procrastination, so definitely spend as little time as you can here during the next two months. ;)
     
    tonguetied likes this.
  3. theamorset
    Offline

    theamorset Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2016
    Messages:
    221
    Likes Received:
    68
    Location:
    midwest
    I've been working on mine for about a year. It's nearly done. I can't shoot for a certain number of words per session. I get a sort of rush of ideas and might stay up all night writing, several nights in a row.
     
  4. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,799
    Likes Received:
    2,413
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    It will be done when it is ready. Unless you are one of those mass production style writers that can turn out book after book (which most take at least 3 months), I would say it would take more than 30-31 days to produce an adequate novel. There are things like editing and polishing that take time, on top of Alpha/Beta reading for quality control/suggestions.

    For me it took me 9 months to finish 127k+ novel, e-publish is pending due to cover malfunction.

    So unless you have impeccable spelling/grammar/plot, a month will show the lack of craftsmanship that you are looking for. Then again I could be way wrong. Ultimately you will do as you will. Good luck and all the good stuff.
     
  5. Steerpike
    Offline

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,095
    Likes Received:
    5,306
    Location:
    California, US
  6. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,661
    Likes Received:
    5,153
    I've written a few books in a month or less - not super-long, probably 80-90k words. It's only 3K words a day, and it takes me about an hour to write 1K, so... 3 hours a day.

    I don't know if I have any real secrets to pass along - for me, books go fast when I'm staying in my comfort zone. Contemporary stories with lots of dialogue and characterization, not super plot-driven--they pretty much write themselves. I slow down when I try to do something new, or something that's outside my natural writing style.
     
    tonguetied likes this.
  7. Siena
    Offline

    Siena Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Messages:
    249
    Likes Received:
    51
    In my experience it's all about getting to grips with your method and letting the "craft" aspect become second nature - knowing how to take characters on a journey, how to change them, where to pop in the symbolism, how to foundation all that with theme and so on (read KalBashir.com ). Then you can get on with the actual execution. Once you know what to do, it's just then a question of putting in the hours to get it done.
     
  8. AASmith
    Offline

    AASmith Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2015
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    119
    Well I completed and first draft of over 60k in two months...I ended up hating it and am now using the first draft as an outline to draft 1b. I dont know if finishing quickly relates to me not liking my first draft, but putting the draft down and walking away from writing for a good couple of months allowed me time to really think about what i wrote. That time of reflection was really needed.
     
    minstrel likes this.
  9. Tenderiser
    Offline

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,288
    Likes Received:
    5,161
    Location:
    London, UK
    My second book took my just under three months from conceiving the idea to having it polished and sent to my agent. Having alpha readers really helped, as I could adjust as I go rather than rewriting huge chunks after a beta read. Besides that, there's no secret... you just have to make time to crank it out.

    I'm not sure I'll ever be able to do it in a month. Maybe if I didn't have a day job, or if my day job wasn't so draining that I'm generally too tired to write in the evenings... but you have to reach the sales of authors like Stephen King and Lee Childs to earn a proper living from writing. So I'm aiming for 3-4 novels a year and I'm comfortable with that.

    I don't think I'd ever want to spend a year on a novel like I did with my first one. Boy, that was a very steep learning curve...
     
  10. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,661
    Likes Received:
    5,153
    Side note, but I don't think this is true. I guess it depends what you mean by "proper living", but there are lots of mid-list authors who don't have outside jobs.

    I know, you were probably just exaggerating a little, but... NO, @Tenderiser, YOU ARE COMPLETELY WRONG! AND IGNORANT! AND, FRANKLY, I DON'T CARE FOR YOUR AVATAR! (Phew. It feels good to get that off my chest...)
     
    Tenderiser likes this.
  11. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    About eight years ago my average was three months for a first draft. I completed two novels ( their first drafts ) in about that time. Polishing to my standards, however took longer. Now my personal life is a bit more pressured so I'm all over the place - though if I pushed myself I think I could get back to the three month mark.
    Are you doing genre? I would think certain genre's would be easier. They have more built in goals and certain points that have to be hit.
     
  12. Steerpike
    Offline

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,095
    Likes Received:
    5,306
    Location:
    California, US

    A slight against Rik Mayall?! That tears it!

    Choose your weapon, @BayView.

     
    Tenderiser likes this.
  13. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,661
    Likes Received:
    5,153
    I don't know who he is, but I don't like the looks of him. He's up to something, I'm pretty sure. Something not good.
     
    Steerpike and Tenderiser like this.
  14. Steerpike
    Offline

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,095
    Likes Received:
    5,306
    Location:
    California, US
     
    Tenderiser likes this.
  15. Tenderiser
    Offline

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,288
    Likes Received:
    5,161
    Location:
    London, UK
    I'm not exaggerating; just don't get out of bed for less than £50k. I guess some of us have higher living standards than others.

    [​IMG]

    I'll go with a cricket bat.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,661
    Likes Received:
    5,153
    I am unconvinced.

    Back to the topic of the thread - perhaps I'm able to write quickly because I don't waste time being amused by silly things.

    Yes, far too silly. Silly, silly, silly. Right. Get on with it!
     
  17. deadrats
    Offline

    deadrats Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    639
    Likes Received:
    293
    My first novel took me five months of working on it just about every day. Some editing was done along the way because that's just how I roll. Mostly, though, it was a lot of writing and hard work. And it was never published despite my efforts that followed finishing the book. I also have tried NANO (finishing an entire novel in the month of November). I couldn't do it. The goal for that is to reach 50,000 words. I got a little less than halfway, but when the month was over I felt like everything I had done was just too messy and needed too much work that I didn't want to even finish it. Not that I was really writing all that faster or anything, it was just the pressure seemed to make me a little sloppy.

    I think the longer we write, the more we figure out how we best write and what sort of conditions and timeframes to give ourselves. You said you have your reasons for finishing a book in two months, but just finishing it means very little if nothing ever comes of it. That's my take on it at least. I rather take five years to write a novel that is good enough to publish than write a dozen that no one ever wants to read in that same time. How long did it take you to write the 30,000 words you have? I'm sure you could do a little math to figure out how much more time you need to finish it. Editing and revising take me longer than writing, maybe twice as long. I would ask yourself if your goal is really to finish in two months or if you perhaps have a bigger goal where it might not matter so much if you are done in two months are not.

    That being said, a few people who have responded here seem like they are pretty speedy. BayView writes twice as fast as my fastest with 1,000 words an hour. I think that's pretty amazing, but I also know that if I try to write my fiction that fast, it will come out pretty useless. I just can't do that. Be realistic with yourself. There is much more at stake than just how fast you can write, assuming you have a desire to publish all your hard work.
     

Share This Page