Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The Amount of Work Involved

Writing is work. The saying is obvious, but how much work is it?

I have a general idea by looking over the number of copies in my story folder.

For every story I write, I keep a computer folder named with the story's title. The story itself is a Word file, again named by the title. At the end of a day when I make substantial changes, I save and number a copy.

For Mistletoe Everywhere, my Regency Christmas novella, (blurb and excerpt here) version one is the original idea, at 3000 words. The final version I sent to the publisher, at 26, 600 words, is version seventy-four.

Now for the length of time the writing took. I generally write all day on Sunday, with some time, usually not much, during the week. I started Mistletoe Everywhere in June, and finished in mid-September. Then I let the story sit for a month to allow me to see it with fresh eyes. As I reread it in October, the story sounded good to me. I made some changes, mainly replacing words I repeat too often with better words.

Then I tackled the query letter and synopsis. They took two weeks. At the end of October, I sent the fifth version to my editor at The Wild Rose Press.

So, from when I started to when I sent in the query, the total effort was about five months, seventy-four (74) versions of the novella, and five (5) versions of the query and synopsis.

The editor has sent me her edits, and I'll work on the story again for at least another month. I don't know how typical this amount of work is, but I've worked a lot.

For the authors out there, how many versions do you write before you send your story in?

For you readers, how many version do you think a finished book goes through?

Thank you all,
Linda Banche
Regency romance--most with humor, some with fantasy, and occasionally a paranormal
Lady of the Stars, Regency time travel, available from The Wild Rose Press
Pumpkinnapper, Regency Halloween comedy, available from The Wild Rose Press


Lindsay Townsend said...

Fascinating post, Linda! 74 versions - wow!
I'm working on my knight 4 and the ending is taking several passes.

As a reader, I sometimes read novels where after about chapter 5 the whole thing seems to slip - as if the polish has gone into the early chapters. It doesn't happen too often, but I always think it's a shame. Possibly the writer ran out of time on a too-tight deadline.

Savanna Kougar said...

Linda, I'm impressed with your due diligence as an author.

I've read some great opening chapters, then the writing *isn't* as polished.
Personally, I think this has to do with the way contests are, sometimes.
The first thirty pages used to be a common entry, so those pages get most of the work, initially.

Linda Banche said...

Lindsay and Savanna, thanks.

I agree with Savanna about why the beginning is so much better in some books. If a writer spends too much time on contests, all she does is polish the beginning.

StephB said...

Linda, amazing! I believe that writing is 10% writing and 90% editing. Editing is so important as you point out. For "The Wolf's Torment," I had five verisons before I got to the one I wanted. For my upcoming release, "The Hungarian" (a paranormal romance) I had 3 verisions.

I do believe you have to edit and fine tune your project from the 1st draft. It's so important to be able to self edit your work. And that's what is so time consuming when it comes to writing.