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It took me about six months to get Dark Currents (the sequel to my first novel, The Emperor's Edge) together, including edits, and that's a record for me. Encrypted took about nine months, and Emperor's Edge, uh... I started that in 2005, lol.

I do about 1,000 words a day when I'm writing a first draft (my novels are all 105k-ish), so that's a good three months. When I'm editing, I try to do a chapter a day, but sometimes that just doesn't happen. And then there's waiting for feedback from critique buddies and incorporating what they suggest.

I work from home (not eight hours a day), so I have more time than most. I'm impressed with folks who can get novels together in less than a year when they have full-time day jobs (and kids). :)


 

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My rewrites always take about four times as long as I think they're going to take. I don't know if that's just arrogance, assuming I can burn through it like that, or the fact that when you get closer to the end, you're that much more confident in the voice and tone, that when you go back to the early chapters where you weren't, there's more work to do than you realised.
 

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My most recent 100K word novel to be released soon broke down as follows (note - there are two of us working on it)

Total writing time for both of us combined - 130-140 hours
Total time for both of us combined planning/outlining/discussing as we go - 50-60 hours
Total time on first editing pass for both of us -40 hours
Total remaining editing time for both of not counting copyediting, including processing feedback from beta readers - 75-100 hours

On my thriller half novel Alive From new York, which I wrote myself, it broke down about 50 hours writing and 30-40 hours total editing.
 

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Every single book is different.  Anywhere from 2 months to ten years. However.....

Generally I let a book gestate for a while before it goes "live."  Often a year or more, playing with ideas and doing sketches and bits of exploratory writing in my spare time -- but mostly just letting it cook in the back of my mind.

The actual writing of the story varies a lot, but generally, I write the exploratory draft, first draft and second draft all in one draft -- I like to fit my stories together like a puzzle with fine honed pieces.  This is why it is so variable. Some stories are pretty straight forward others are more difficult.

But generally, when the story takes a long time, it doesn't actually take more hours to complete, it's just that I have to set it aside and let it cook more.  If I were to put the hours worked back to back, I suspect most of those novels would all take a similar amount of time to write -- two to three months of part time labor.  

Once it's done, the rewrite doesn't take all that much effort, although that too may take a lot of calendar time, as I set it aside to work on other things. So while it might take a week or two of actual work (and maybe another week of polishing) that work might be spread over another couple of months to a year.  That part of the process, however, can usually be hurried up if I need to, because it's more practical and rational.

Camille
 

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This reminds me of a little bit of business advice I found in a book called "Cut to the Chase" -- which was a 100 short ponderings on efficiency.

One of the essays was called "To Speed Up... Slow Down." He used an example in manufacturing. A company that made reeds for musical instruments had a multipart manufacturing process which included cutting and then polishing the cut ends of the reeds. On studying ways to be more efficient, they discovered that if they slowed down the cutting process, the cuts were so much smoother that they didn't need the polishing step at all.

Of course every metaphor has its limits. IMHO, beginning writers might be better off to write fast to gain the skills at composing before they can really benefit from either rewriting or simply composing more slowly and surely in the first place. A machine is set to do what it does. An artist develops skills. Once you have the skills, though, I suspect you can find the right pace to write surely early on so there is less to rewrite.

Camille
 
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