How Long Does it Take to Write a Novel?

This is a good question.  It’s a solid, straight to the point question about writing.   It’s a question I’ve been asked quite a bit lately. 

 How long does it take to write a novel? 

I’ve heard answers from it takes a lifetime to however long it takes you to read a book times a five hundred.  These responses make me laugh and are honest, but sometimes the length of writing a novel basically depends on what the writer really wants to do and the type of story. 

Does the writer really want to write and finish a novel or not?

For me, I like to think about the story I’m going to write for a while and make just some general notes to get those creative juices flowing.  It helps me to see if there’s a story worth developing or not.  I make notes on the basic storyline, characters, suspense, and research needed.  In fact, I have several stories simmering in this process right now.  Sometimes I pick up articles, magazines, books, and miscellaneous pieces of information off the Internet to add to my research files. 

I write a fairly extensive outline for all my novels.  This is a process that works well for me and I’ve fine-tuned it with my last two books.  When I decide which story I’m going to write, I begin the outline process.  This becomes my choppy first draft of my book.  After this process, I begin the actual chapter writing.  This part of my writing process is fun and it’s a breeze for me because I’ve already run my story backwards and forwards with my outline to make sure that the story progresses, as it should.  Sometimes there is some tweaking of the story or a particular character, but everything goes along smoothly for me by this time.         

For example with my novel Dead Game, the writing process went basically like the list below writing 6 days a week approximately 8 hours a day, sometimes more or less.  Keep in mind, I did take some breaks in between some of the writing process and allowed the manuscript to sit and my mind to clear.

Extensive Outline – 4 to 6 weeks

Additional Research and/or Interviews – 1-2 weeks

Actual Chapter Writing – 2 months

Revisions – 1 month

Sent out manuscript to an editor – 3 weeks

Changes to manuscript (updated to changes) – 1 to 2 weeks

Final proof edit to an editor – 1 week

Final read through – 1 to 2 weeks

The rest is history!  That’s how I was able to write and complete Dead Game.  Every writing project is a little bit different and it will take more or less time based on how well I prepared the outline and how much research is needed.

A writer needs to find what works for them and then organize the time to fit their lifestyle and schedule.  First and foremost, you need to write something everyday and you’ll be well on your way to complete that novel.     

Crime Watch Blog:
Book & Crime Talk:
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting

About jchasenovelist

Published thriller author, criminologist, and blogger.
This entry was posted in Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s