Friday, September 3, 2010
Ever since Franzen’s Freedom landed much has been made of the length of time between its release and his last novel, The Corrections. Nine years! As someone who’s cranked out a contracted book in six months I’m amazed. Not that any of my offerings can compete with Freedom but still… nine years seems excessive. On the other end of the spectrum are genre authors who sometimes write five books a year. I have no idea how they keep up the pace
So how long does it take to cook a book? My debut novel took me two years and I was a single mom and teaching fulltime. Books two and three whizzed by in six months. Then I wrote book four and it took two years. The difference ? Book two and three were parts of a series; book four was not. When you already know your characters and setting, the writing is considerably breezier.
When asked how long it takes me to write a novel, I have to say, “I dunno know. It all depends on the book.” Nowadays I like to mosey along, and I especially appreciate time away from drafts. Ideally, I’d like two years.
Publishers usually want writers to shoot out a book a year, which is somewhat reasonable when the author’s writing a series. But sometimes I think writers who pen stand-alones need more time. Lately, I’ve read several novels from authors who could have used more cooking in the oven. In terms of editing and plotting, they were way too raw. That might not matter so much to big-time writers but I’ve seen it kill the careers of some mid-listers. Also poorly written books tend to bring down the industry as Kassia Krozser at Book Square points out in this must-read article.
The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch. Leave a comment to be eligible to win. I’ll announce the winner on Monday after 6 p.m Eastern time.
Happy Labor Day!