Monday, September 8, 2014

30-Week Writing Survey: Week 23: Drafting Time



Today's question: How long does it usually take you to complete an entire story—from planning to writing to posting/submitting for publication (if you post/submit)?

I'm an extraordinarily fast writer. I can write a short story in a couple of hours, I guess, and for novels it's sometimes measured in days or weeks, though for some books I've gone on little hiatuses sometimes when my life gets busy.

The House That Ivy Built, Book 1 was written in fourteen days, and came to about 155,000 words. I'm not sure but that might be my record. Bad Fairy's first version was 255,000 words and took me five weeks. A while back, I wrote a novella at 35,000 words in a week. (I was working full time during that last.)

I have, however, been known to go on indefinite hiatuses. THTIB 2, 3, and 4 took longer because I was just kinda plugging along at them whenever I felt like it, and they were pretty aimless books so that makes sense. THTIB 4 actually spanned about three years. Joint Custody was begun in 2002 and the last time I worked on it was 2006. Finding Mulligan was begun in September of 2006, but then life interruptions made me shelve the project, after which I picked it up again in 2008 and knocked it out of the park in a couple weeks. The latest Bad Fairy took two years to write in weird little bursts. My latest book, Stupid Questions, took ten months, again in bursts.

The bit about "planning" in the question also deserves a nod. I'm a bit weird in that there is rarely any planning whatsoever for my novels. Sometimes I think that shows. Most of the time it looks like it was on purpose, heh. But I have never started a book knowing how it was going to end, and while there have been instances for which I've gone BACK and researched and fine-tuned (of course!), I generally do very little pre-planning, unless noodling on it the evening before counts. 

If I'm actively writing on a project, I'd say my average is around 6,000 to 8,000 words a day, with a couple thrown in where I only write maybe a couple thousand words and weird peaks that arch up to around 15,000. I seem to recall one Sunday many moons ago that saw a 23,000-word sprint. But I seem to be more often falling into this sprint-and-rest mode. Probably because life does an awful lot of interrupting lately. . . .

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