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Thread: How long did it take you to write your first novel?

  1. #1
    Writing and oceans, just dive in. msd's Avatar
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    How long did it take you to write your first novel?

    I am working on my first novel and to make things more challenging, English is not my first language. I am writing part time and only on the weekends. I am almost 60,000 words into my first draft; I think it will be about 90,000 words when I am done.

    At this rate I feel it will take me about 4 years to complete. Is this normal?

    How long did it take you to write your first novel?
    Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.

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  2. #2
    creative genie katci13's Avatar
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    There is no normal. I had a friend once that spent 7 years on her first novel, writing and editing and rewriting and revising.

    Me, personally, I don't remember, probably a month, but it was too short and horrible. Longest it's taken me is 6 months.

    Works in Progress:

    Paranormal/Horror - Drafting

  3. #3
    Punctuation and I don't get along Briony-zisaya's Avatar
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    It took me about 4 months to write my first so-called book.....and it's atrocious, truly. Subsequent works have taken longer because I spend more time doing research and working on my constant "show not tell" issues. Take as long as you need because it's never going to be perfect in the first draft, just tell your story the best you can and go from there.
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  4. #4
    Following my North Star L. Y.'s Avatar
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    My first took me eleven months to finish.

    But don't worry about how long you take. Everyone writes at a different pace. The main thing is to keep writing.
    Write. Edit. Rinse, repeat.

    Edit with your head, write with your heart.


  5. #5
    figuring it all out
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    Its been two years since I started my wip and I still have approximately 30000 words to go. I haven't been very disciplined in my writing, but I'm working on it.

    Best of luck to you

  6. #6
    chronically underwhelmed Fantasmac's Avatar
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    My first full-length novel took me six years, the second one year and the last about three months. I can only hope the trend continues.

    Seriously, tho, there is no such thing as "normal". There are several books a year writers and a book a decade writers. As long as you're adding words, you're on the right track, I think.
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  7. #7
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    All of mine take just about over three months, maybe a little more after the pass-throughs and editing. Four is about tops. Now, that's going full steam every day--about eight hours a day.

    tri

  8. #8
    Azarath Metrion Zinthos AshleyEpidemic's Avatar
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    It took me 21 days to write my first novel, but that was just the first draft. The second took roughly the same plus a couple days I think.

    The time it takes is different for everyone. Normal is such a restricting word.
    So, I have this blog. It's here
    and a book blog
    I tweet too.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW rwm4768's Avatar
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    My first novel took me about nine months to write the first draft. I have since gotten to the point that I can usually knock out a novel in a month or so.

  10. #10
    writing, working, weeping, winning ohthatmomagain's Avatar
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    5 months on first novel. But I agree... there is no normal
    available now CROSSING THE DEEP--

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  11. #11
    Banned
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    My very first novel was written around 2005 and since I knew nothing about word count guidelines for debut authors, it rang in at about 219,000 words. It took me 2 months to finish.


    I started a series in 2011, finished the first installment in 2 months time at 137,000 words, and the second installment in one month at 125,000 words.

    Now I'm almost done with a novel I started writing by hand in Nov. 7, 2012 and I'm at page 1,199 of 1,400. I have no idea how many words I've written on that one.

    I recently had my biggest achievement when it comes to writing a novel. I started it in Dec. 15, 2012 and finished it on Jan. 3, 2013, at 120,000 words. Now I am working on the second installment of that series and I'm at 7,568 words on that one.

    My second WIP I'm working on, I did 30,000 words in 5 days, so I'd say I'm getting faster and faster at writing stories as time progresses. I no longer write 220k-word behemoths, though.


    Chris.

  12. #12
    permanently suctioned to Buz's leg Putputt's Avatar
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    First novel took about 3 years. Maybe more.
    Second novel took umm...I dunno, but I gave up on it.
    Third novel took 29 days.

    Write at the pace you're most comfortable with.
    corny: This is the way of the future. Nonsensical fragments and oozingly gross weeping sores of language spilling over the keyboard.

    I feel like corny needs to have a book review site, really.

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  13. #13
    Horror Man seun's Avatar
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    My first took me about eighteen months. It was awful. I've written another eleven since and now average 6-8 weeks for a first draft.

  14. #14
    space opera-popcorn lover!
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    From first conception to now... 26 years. I periodically picked it up, tried, and went back to life instead. Since deciding, once and for all, I was going to learn to write the thing to the version it's in now (which is completed, but complicated by my insane decision to write a prequel, that might now become book one of the series), about 16 months. Mind, 12 of those months was taking the advice of an early beta and going somewhere that might teach me not just how to write, but how to tell a story. (I'm still learning.)
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  15. #15
    resident curmudgeon
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    Exactly three weeks, but that's all the time I had. The agent needed it by then so the publisher could look at it in time to fill a slot, if they liked it.

    Like most things, it takes as long to write a novel as you have time to do it.

  16. #16
    Huh. kkbe's Avatar
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    My first was that horrible mess I typed on a typewriter when I was 19. I think it took me three weeks or something. Probably two of the three weeks I was changing ribbons or trying to white stuff out. I never revised it, I thought it was so, so great. I actually submitted it to publishers, no agent, I didn't know about agents. I was totally, completely, utterly clueless.
    From CHERRY:
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    “What? Then he what?” Fuck.
    “Then, he—”
    “What?”
    “He—”
    “Stop.” I had to get out of there before I suffocated or had a heart attack or something.

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  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW Write_Askew's Avatar
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    I wrote my first novel in about six months. But then it took three years to edit it into something worth reading. I gave it a break after that, and was not surprised when a year later I still thought there were major issues. I fixed those, took another six months with a beta and then when it was better, I submitted it to agents. It did not get picked up. I love the dang thing, but I still (two years later) want to make it something its not. I've moved on, and I wrote my most recent novel in about a month. But it took months of editing to make it worthy of a submission.

    Do your best, take your time, and love what you're doing. Writing something worthwhile will take time. Don't rush your work. Keep after it, and you'll finish it when you're supposed to.

    Good luck!

  18. #18
    He'll NEVER fit in! Lost World's Avatar
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    My first novel was a whopping 330K fantasy epic. Big mistake starting there. The first half is horrible, the second half not so bad--I'd learned along the way how to write. It was POD published as a two-volume set, but I pulled it off the market years ago. The first draft took me eighteen months to write and an equal time to revise. I was married at the time, however, with a pissed-off yet accomodating wife who handled most of the day-to-day affairs around the house. No children then and I had lots of time.

    It took me six months to write my second novel, 85K words. Written almost entirely during afternoons before I went to work at night (my kids and significant other take up my weekends). When I get on a project it obsesses me, and takes its toll as well. I finished the revisions last summer and haven't written a word since, save for synopsis and queries for this novel and several other short stories.
    "What's madness? Only something just a tiny bit wrong in the make of your brain." Joseph Conrad

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  19. #19
    have faith, restart itsmary's Avatar
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    It took me a few weeks, maybe a month or two, to finish the first draft. Then I spent several more months (maybe even a year) tinkering with it before I finally gave up. My second novel took a few months for the first draft and several more years of rewrites. My third novel took two years to complete (with first draft and revisions). My fourth (and most recent) took about a year.
    Don't stress if you can't finish quickly. As you continue writing and learning, you'll learn how to pace yourself as well as little things that help you write more efficiently. And if you ever want to be published...well, trying to gett published is the ultimate lesson in patience.

  20. #20
    I fight like a dairy farmer Corussa's Avatar
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    The first draft I completed took me at least four years, although a good proportion of that was in the final year. Its plot also underwent significant metamorphosis over that time, so I think it was kind of necessary for it to take that long.

    However, I almost (almost! rats) finished a second first draft just a month and a half later, thanks to NaNo and my self-competitive spirit. So just because the first project takes a long time doesn't mean subsequent ones have to!
    'Everything you want is on the other side of fear.' Jack Canfield

  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW ucf612's Avatar
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    Well the first one I ever started is still not done (I started it in 2010). I'll finish it someday! I actually still really like the story but I hit a point where I really need to map out the rest of the story before I finish because it needs more layering.

    First one I finished from first word to 'the end' took one month. I did NaNoWriMo. It needs a lot of editing and I haven't done that yet. I'm still writing my 3rd novel now, I'm a few thousand words from the end and then I'll start really revising it. I think it needs the least work of all so I'm going to work on it first then move back to the other two. So anyhow, that was a long answer that didn't tell you much.
    YA- The Dream Keeper's Apprentice - Trunked for now.
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  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW LJD's Avatar
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    first draft - 6 months.
    By the time I trunked it after 4 drafts, it had been 1.5 yrs, although there were 3 months in there in which I didn't touch it because I was writing the first draft of novel #2.

  23. #23
    υπείκωphobe Wilde_at_heart's Avatar
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    I never finished my first, second, third, forth or even fifth novel. I forget what number I'm at now, but have completed my first draft and am halfway through the second and should be ready by the middle of the month for when I begin querying agents. It took a month to write.

    I see all the previous works as practice and honing my skills. I will go back and finish some of the others once I'm done with this current project.

  24. #24
    Which of them was the machine? Hiroko's Avatar
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    Somewhere between 10-12 months. I think I have the file somewhere, but I am too lazy to check.

  25. #25
    He'll NEVER fit in! Lost World's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilde_at_heart View Post
    I never finished my first, second, third, forth or even fifth novel.
    I have two that I never finished as well. Thanks for the reminder!
    "What's madness? Only something just a tiny bit wrong in the make of your brain." Joseph Conrad

    "Are you finding self-importance in the things that you've done?
    You're finding out that no one really cares."
    The Guess Who

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