Sunday, May 16, 2010

How Fast Can You Write?

First, everybody cross your fingers! I sent my romantic fantasy adventure manuscript to DAW on Friday, right before we headed for DemiCon in Des Moines!

At one of the writing panels I attended at Demicon, one author admitted that she had completed her latest manuscript (her 7th) in about 7, or maybe 8, weeks. She had to; she had a deadline to meet. Her first manuscript had taken her a year to complete. Later comments centered on how many books one had to have published each year in order to ‘make a living’ at writing. There were a lot of variables in there to be considered, but I found myself wondering about my speed of writing.

Gay Haldeman often advises aspiring writers to write ‘a page a day’, and that way, by the end of a year, they would have 365 pages written. Good advice for those just getting started, but I am a little bit beyond that stage. Once I’ve written the first version, I will rewrite and polish, so that I wind up with about 5 drafts of the same story. And I also let the story ‘rest’ for a time between rewrites, which is why I have more than one project in the works at a time. But basically, I wondered, how quickly could I finish one book?

I decided to set my sights on 1,000 words per day, which is actually about 2 pages (single-spaced). In one year, I could write 365,000 words. Would that produce a book a year? I considered my first manuscript’s statistics:
Outline = 1,000 words = 1 day
Rough Draft = 120,000 words = 120 days
Draft A = 150,000 words = 150 days
Draft B = 130,000 words = 130 days
Draft C = 110,000 words = 110 days
Final Draft = 100,000 words = 100 days

Which comes to a grand total of 611 days. Uh, oh, that’s definitely more than one year. Now, theoretically, rewriting will go faster than composing the rough draft, because you aren’t dreaming up new stuff, you are looking for ways to say things better than you originally said it. But at first glance, I need to step up my efforts, if I ever want to reach the point where my work is frequently placed in front of potential readers.

With that in mind, I’d better get back to work. See ya next week. Trudy

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