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How Long Does it Take to Write a Novel?

The very best answer to this question comes from one of the greatest American authors ever, naturalist and iconoclast Edward Abbey:

“All of the years that you’ve lived.”

But this wouldn’t be much of a blog post if all I did was quote Edward Abbey.  It would just be a page from one of my high school journals. 😉

So let me tell you about the writing process for The Wolf’s Lover, my urban fantasy romance coming out later this month.

As a side note, if you haven’t read anything by Edward Abbey, I strongly suggest Desert Solitaire, which is nothing like any of the books I’ve written or reviewed.

I started The Wolf’s Lover in 2016.

According to the document history (thanks, Google!), I wrote the first words of Vali and Karen’s story on January 5th of 2016. I uploaded the final draft of my novel to Amazon last Tuesday, February 6th of 2018.

TheWolfsLover-eBookCover

So it took me two years, one month, and one day to write my novel.

Of course, that’s a bit misleading, because I didn’t spend two entire years obsessing solely over that one story.

For one thing, in January of 2016 I was still waist-deep in the first draft of my first novel, The Trickster’s Lover, which I started writing in November of 2015 and published in September of 2016. I started writing “the Vali novel” as a way of taking a break from Trickster’s Lover when it got to be too much work.

That’s a pattern I’ve continued. While I’ve been writing, revising, and editing Vali’s story, I’ve also published seven short stories and three novellas.

And I’ve written the third novella of the Loki series, the first three books of the Fenris series, a Loki Christmas story I had to scrap, a novella about the Fey which may or may not see the light of day, and a crap-ton of blog posts.

Which leads me to my next point…

How long it takes to write a novel depends on your process.

I can’t just do one thing at a time. Case in point, I have three day jobs and muffins in the oven.

No, that’s not a euphemism — I’m watching the timer at this very moment to make sure I don’t burn my lemon poppyseed muffins.

I freaking love writing the first draft. I’m a pantser, so I can’t wait to see how the story unfolds as the words flow out. But being a pantser also means my stories are a hot damn mess when they’re finished, and they need a lot of revising to make sure the loose ends connect.

Right now, I’m connecting loose ends for The Briar and the Rose (Book 3 of the Loki Series) and The Monster’s Lover (Book 1 of the Fenris series).

I’m also my own editor, and I’m a few weeks away from starting the line edits for The Briar and the Rose, which will come out in early May.

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For me, the perfect balance of writing seems to be working on a first draft with all the manic enthusiasm of my five-year-old self with a box of crayons and a fresh sketchpad…

 

While also taking some of that enthusiasm and using it to refine an existing work – like The Briar and the Rose – or to slog through the un-exciting but very necessary line edits.

And, when the novel gets to be too overwhelming, I shift gears to write something short (and frequently filthy).

Of course, I also have plenty of freak outs and breakdowns along the way where I fantasize about setting fire to my computer or wonder why the hell I’m doing this in the first place. I think those are mandatory steps in The Writing Process. 🙂

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got muffin in the oven.

Curious about The Wolf’s Lover? You can download the first eight chapters, for free, right here.

Like what you’ve read? Join my newsletter and I’ll send you a free copy of Tam Lin, my sexy modern take on the Scottish folktale.

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