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Editor's Notes #72, How Long To Write A Novel
May 17, 2009
Hello,

How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.

-- Anonymous


In this issue:

1. How long does it take to write a novel?
2. Helpful Web site
3. Tickled my funnybone

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1. How long does it take to write a novel?
The idea of writing a novel -- or any other book -- intimidates most people. (I'm using the words novel or book here, but the same principle applies to any writing project.) One boogeyman relates to time. The book looms large, but its shadow looms even larger because what is in the shadow is poorly defined. Shine some light on the amount of time you need to write your book, and you will find the prospect less daunting.

I'm dealing here with the actual physical writing of a first draft. You may need to do some research first. You may need to do some research after you have finished the first draft. You will almost certainly need to rewrite your first draft. But without a first draft, you will never finish your book. So, sharpen your pencil or turn on your calculator. What follows will help you make firm plans about how long you need to write your first draft.

I'm using common numbers in the calculations below.

A first novel is usually 100,000 to 120,000 words. Let's assume you will write more than you actually need and go with the higher number.

Decide how many words you will write per day. If you type one page per day, you will probably be writing 300 words each day.

The following calculation depends on your writing steadily every day seven days per week until you are done.

Take the number of words in the final work, divide it by the number of words you will write per day, and you will have a time-frame for writing your first draft. 120,000 words at 300 words per day would be 120,000÷300=400 days or about 13 months.

Of course, you can change the figures above to suit your particular situation. When you do, the result will change as well. For example, if you write 100,000 words at a rate of 900 words per day (100,000÷900=111 days), you will be finished in 111 days or about 4 months.

Now that you know how long it will take to complete your first draft, you might want to post your writing goal and receive help staying on track. http://www.writershelper.com/writing-goals.html

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2. Helpful Web site
Whether you are having trouble recalling the source of a quote or you need a suitable quotation to enhance your writing, this site allows you access to a large database of English works.
http://www.bartleby.com/quotations/

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3. Tickled my funnybone
“Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge”

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