Writing Speed

26 Sep

One of my book club friends sent me this link to a great Infographic about how long it took writers to write certain novels. To say I’m jealous of John Boyne for penning his novel is an understatement. There are some obvious patterns in this graphic where longer novels take loner to write. That seems pretty simple. Though, there are notable exceptions. Fifty Shades of Grey seems long for the time it took to write and Catcher In the Rye a bit short for its 10 years time.

I’m guessing that these numbers show the time needed for a raw first draft, the time it takes to get the story from the writers head to the page. This doesn’t include editing, finding an agent, signing with a publisher, etc. Boyle didn’t sit down to write and end up with a novel 2.5 days later. Likewise, Martin probably took more than 5 years to get the first of his books written and it seems like it will take him longer to finish the series.

Does writing speed matter? I think it’s the book that really matters, so why do we put any importance on speed? We’re after a good story after all. Though, I’m not a series writer. When you’re writing a series and people are waiting for your next installment, if a TV writer is waiting to make an adaptation, does your speed matter then? Most would say yes.

How do you feel about writing speed? I think I write slow, but I do a lot of other things that distract me from writing. Are you a fast writer?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!


9 Responses to “Writing Speed”

  1. beckylindroos September 26, 2016 at 11:27 AM #

    Thanks for the link – interesting piece. That’s pretty quick for Boyle – The Boy in Striped Pajamas in 2.5 days – that’s a 225 page book – he must have been up and working all those 60 hours.

    I’ve read that some authors say they have had a story just come to them ready to go and all they have to do is write it down (sounds like The Boy in Striped Pajamas). And then they took the time to do it by locking themselves in a hotel room and typing it out. That whole scenario is a rarity I would think.

    I don’t really care if a book took 2 days or 16 years – it takes what it takes – stuff interferes, etc.

    I write pretty quickly but I can edit forever. (LOL!)


    • Sam September 26, 2016 at 5:58 PM #

      Editing is what takes me ages! I wrote a book for NaNoWriMo, but it’s taken two years to edit haha.
      I heard the ‘It just came to him’ story about A Christmas Carol as well so I’m not surprised it’s on the short side. Thanks for commenting and happy editing!


  2. Emily Witt September 26, 2016 at 6:34 PM #

    I wonder if in the case of someone like Tolkien that sixteen years includes are the enormous amount of world-building and language development and all of that. I’m a god-awfully slow writer, but I feel like I could probably dash out a first draft of a fairly realistic piece set in a fairly recent historical period faster than I could dash out a huge epic fantasy. Relatively speaking. They would both still take me forever.


    • Sam September 26, 2016 at 6:36 PM #

      Very true! I know Tolkien was notoriously slow but he’s also incredibly detailed. He creates the elvish language among all the other world building he had to do. Not a lot of people could do that quickly. I wrote historical and contemporary and I know historical takes much longer, great point! Happy writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. jrose88 October 13, 2016 at 3:45 AM #

    I’m either a very slow writer or a very fast writer. If I don’t get it down pretty quick I loose the thread and it takes me a while to catch it again, though more often than not I catch a slightly different thread and start retconning and rewriting bits of it in order to get to the new ending. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to write a novel in one sitting… Well, at least for me. Idk if it would be possible for anyone or not.


    • Sam October 13, 2016 at 6:42 AM #

      I’ve heard there are people who do National Novel Writing Day on November 1st, getting 50K words in during 24 hours. How crazy is that?! Happy writing!

      Liked by 1 person

      • jrose88 October 13, 2016 at 10:34 PM #

        There must be a impressive amount of caffeine involved in that sort of undertaking. That’s mildly a terrifying word dump!

        Liked by 1 person

      • beckylindroos October 13, 2016 at 10:54 PM #

        I believe they get the month of November to write those 50K words – http://nanowrimo.org/how-it-works/


      • Sam October 14, 2016 at 8:07 AM #

        Yep, it traditionally takes the month, I’m talking about a few crazies that are the things of legend.

        Liked by 1 person

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