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popmuze
09-21-2008, 09:03 PM
A while back I was put into a situation where I was given six months to write an entire non-fiction 90,00 word book. Since I have a lot of the materials on hand, in the form of past interviews and a library of source material, and with the judicious and lightning fast use of the Internet, about 20 phone interviews and writing six to ten hours a day, I'm up to 75,000 words in less than two months. I've even re-read most of these pages and they actually make sense, conform to my proposal, and flow nicely.

The only problem occurs whenever I entertain basic doubts that anyone could possible take seriously a book written so quickly (not that an outsider would necessarily know how fast I did this).

Can anyone offer me philosophical insight as to whether the length of time it takes to complete a book has anything to do with the quality of the book?

Bufty
09-21-2008, 09:09 PM
For non-fiction I wouldn't think time and quality are necessarily connected.

To my mind the deciding factor for both elements would be the ability to express oneself and the depth of knowledge in the subject matter.

Bubastes
09-21-2008, 09:35 PM
I don't think there is any correlation between quality and speed. Some people simply write faster and better than others.

san_remo_ave
09-21-2008, 09:58 PM
I agree with MeowGirl. If it's well written and well structured, that's all that matters.

Michael Davis
09-21-2008, 10:07 PM
I try to write the raw draft as quickly as possible to get the ideas and the evolving scenes down while they're fresh in my head. For my first three novels it ranged from 7 weeks to 12 weeks. The kicker is in the reviews. That to me is were the quality in a story matures. It general takes me 2 to 3 months to review my MS before I send to pre submission reviewers. Then some of my best scenes, lines, environmental descriptions come when I revise in line with the reviewers suggestions and I've been away from the story for a month while they read it.

Mr. Anonymous
09-21-2008, 10:43 PM
My first novel, I wrote pretty quickly. 65,000 words in about three weeks. Considering I only worked about 5 days a week, it comes to around 15 days or so. So just over 4,000 words per day. As a result, the first draft was pretty weak. In fact, I'm kind of ashamed of it. lol.

My next novel, the one I'm working on now, is coming along much slower. 1000 words here, 1000 words there. Gives me a lot more time to think, plan things out. And although I already have a small list of changes that I'm going to have to make, it's looking pretty solid. I'll have to edit/revise, obviously, but I'm feeling a lot more confident about it.

So for me, taking it slow really does help. Although part of it is probably due to how much I learned since I wrote the first one.

Dale Emery
09-21-2008, 11:17 PM
The only problem occurs whenever I entertain basic doubts that anyone could possible take seriously a book written so quickly (not that an outsider would necessarily know how fast I did this).

Can anyone offer me philosophical insight as to whether the length of time it takes to complete a book has anything to do with the quality of the book?

Yes: You didn't write the book quickly. You wrote down the book quickly. It took you years to write it.

Dale

Chasing the Horizon
09-21-2008, 11:34 PM
6 months to write a 90k book really doesn't sound that fast to me (it's certainly not slow, but not unreasonable either). I started my YA novel the beginning of July, and expect to have it completed and edited by the middle of October, so that's only 3.5 months and I've been working on several other projects at the same time. I understand non-fiction may be more time-consuming because of all the research, but it sounds like you had a good bit of that done before you started. I don't see why the quality of your work would suffer because of the deadline.

DamaNegra
09-22-2008, 12:01 AM
Not slow at all. Especially because you already had most of the information in hand, which is the hard and lengthy part of non-fiction. If your book makes sense and is based on solid facts and research, who cares how long it took you to write it?

C.M.C.
09-22-2008, 01:46 AM
How is anyone reading the book going to know how long it took to write?

tehuti88
09-22-2008, 02:21 AM
I wrote an approximately 70,000-word novel in about 2-3 months once. (Granted, this is not taking into account research and outlining, and I can't say if it's any good.)

Something written fast isn't necessarily bad. Every situation is unique. I bet some stories that people spend forever working on really suck.

popmuze
09-22-2008, 03:05 AM
To me the most amazing thing is how research has changed because of the internet. If I need to know the menu for the first Thanksgiving, zap, I have in two second. Best of all, no microfilm.

JamieFord
09-22-2008, 03:59 AM
That doesn't sound too fast at all, honestly--it sounds about right. I've read some awful books that took 7+ years to write...

Snowstorm
09-22-2008, 04:06 AM
Popmuze, you wrote you had most of the material already. That's probably a huge opportunity of having such a project finished. If you already knew the material, you're even closer. Plus, it sounds like you're working very hard on it so I don't think you're rushing it.

scheherazade
09-22-2008, 05:06 AM
I think Stephen King has said he takes about 3-6 months to write a first draft, and most of his books are more than 90,000 words. Yes, you might be able to write nicer sentences if you worked slower, but not necessarily. My bet would be that working faster is probably more likely to help the flow of your story.

The reader won't know how long it took you to write your story (unless they're a fan desperately waiting for the next book!). As long as it's edited well. So just go with it. If the story's flowing, don't argue!

L M Ashton
09-22-2008, 06:26 PM
Don't sweat the small stuff. And this falls under the small stuff. :)