How Long Does It Take To Write a Book?

My current work in progress, The Xanthic Xena, has been on my desk since January 1, 2020.

I started  off the year making fairly good progress on the novel, at least for the first couple of months. Not spectacular progress, but good progress. But I had two previous works at my editor’s office, and I wanted to focus my attention on those works. A story simply doesn’t sell if it’s sitting on your editor’s desk.

The problem was, my editor had run into a road block of her own.

It was the shutting down of the school system and the need for her to start home-schooling her three school-age boys.

Now, it would be fun to blame my lack of progress on The Xanthic Xena on my editor, but I’m afraid I can’t do that. She did give me frequent and appropriate nags to keep writing, praised my limited progress, and harassed me for failing to get a scene completed on schedule. But I found myself getting caught up in the daily drama of increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases, the spread of the disease around the world, and eventually the spread of the disease across the country.

The novels in the Hot Dog Detective series average about 75,000 each. Writing at a rate of 1,000 words per day, it should take me a little more than two months to complete a draft novel. The rest of the month is spend editing and rewriting, getting Beta-reader reactions, and just mulling over the story. Then it goes to my editor for final edits and formatting. And finally it gets published.

But with my current WIP, I am falling way behind, barely averaging more an a hundred words per day. Now I am paying the price of that, since each time I sit down to work on the novel, I have to spend a lot more time reviewing the plot, making sure the characters are consistently presented, and ensuring that any research I have done is still fresh in my mind.

Taking longer to write my novel doesn’t make it better. But putting in the extra work, I hope that The Xanthic Xena will maintain the reader’s interest and continue the adventures of Mark MacFarland.


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