Writing Mandestroy

The Challenge

I am looking to launch my first novel later this year, but on a day to day basis I am just like the next person – I do a full time job, have a family, friends, and an irritatingly long to-do list!  So, how do you go about finding the time to write in this busy phenomenon called life?

Well, it’s tough, so I thought I’d share my experiences.

As-well as releasing a novel, I am also looking to release a novella early this year.  The novella will be a prequel to the novel, and I want to share it freely with people.

Now, my novel has taken me the best part of 12 years to write from initial conception (and I will blog more about this over the coming months), but that’s an awful long time.  So, what about the novella?

Well, here’s the thing: I haven’t even started it yet (as at the end of January 2016).  So, how long can it take to write a 30,000 word novella?  Well, let’s find out: I’m going to record my day by day account here.

January 2016

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
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  • Chapter 1.1
29
  • Chapters 1.2 & 8.1
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31
  • Chapters 8.1 & 8.2 - lazy day!

The Writing Process

And as-well as documenting my day to day activities, I’m also going to make every stage of the novella’s production available on the website, if only for myself.  I don’t have a defined path to output, so it will be interesting to see what I put up here!

  1. The initial planning phase: Planning 1
  2. First raw draft (unedited and unformatted): Version 1.1
  3. The first review stage: Review 1
  4. First draft (formatted & light copy-editing): Version 1.2
  5. First draft (comments): Version 1.3
  6. A re-work of the structure of the novel Plan Version 2.0
  7. Re-worked full version: Version 2.0
  8. Re-edited version: Version 2.1
  9. Modify the second ‘Moment’ to fit the story: Version 2.2
  10. More thorough review and edit: Version 3.0
  11. Another read-through edit and a heavier edit before blogging the book to the world!  Version 3.2
  12. Now it’s time to get heavy with the reviewing.  Here’s a line by line review of the entire novella!  Version 4.1 is first review, and version 4.2 incorporates some beta reader feedback!  Bricks & Mortar Review
  13. And here’s the final product including front matter and back matter: Version 4.2

So, how did it go?

Well, I did it!  I wanted to publish by the end of July, and Mandestroy is published.  Hooray!  Of course, I did get distracted along the way, and I probably could have done it quicker, but I still think that’s a good result.

And here’s the final record of where all my time went:FinalStats

 

 

 And for those who prefer some actual numbers to work with (like me), here’s the lowdown on how much effort went into a “short” novella:

  • Writing (initial and re-writes): 51 hours
  • Review and editing: 74 hours
  • Book Cover (99Designs): 14 hours
  • Book Release: 23 hours
  • Total: 162 hours

So, let’s say a working week is 40 hours.  That’s four full working weeks to get a short novella from nothing to published.  So let’s say that we are actually writing a 100,000 word novel – in that case we’re actually looking at 12 full working weeks!  Ouch…

And the reality is that this is actually a hobby, and this all has to fit around life’s priorities.  So all in all, it’s one hell of a commitment.

Conclusions?

  • Writing books is not something you can do halfheartedly;
  • But it’s definitely worth it!
  • Anyone who claims they can release a book in a month must a) have no other major commitments; and b) have one hell of a work-ethic!

All about James Hockley and his eclectic imagination