Saturday, May 20, 2006

How Long Will it Take?

Michelle asked yesterday if I had finished the first draft of the whole book or only Chapter 25. Alas, only Chapter 25, though I've made excellent progress on Chapter 26 today. The first draft is due about July 5.

She also asked how long it took to finish a book. Well, that's partly what this blog is about. And so far, I think I might just be on schedule, even though I have rigorously refused to draw up any such thing (ie, finish chapter 25 on this day, ch 26 on this one, etc). So how am I measuring? By comparing my progress now with how it went for Shadow Over Kiriath last year. I officially started writing that book on January 19, 2004 and by January 19, 2005, a year later, I had finished up through chapter 27. That book was due Feb 28 (after some schedule revisions the previous September) and I turned it in just about on time. So from January 19 to Feb 28, a month and a half, I wrote about 14 chapters. All together the first draft took me 13 months, one shy of the 14 months I had calculated I've typically taken to write a book over the years.

Using that as a benchmark, I looked at my progress on Return of the Guardian King, which I started writing on June 7, 2005. As of May 19, I've finished up through chapter 25. Since it seems likely that I can turn out two more chapters in the next two weeks, I'm about the same place I was at this time in the journey as I was with the last book. And if I do indeed turn it in July 5, that will also work out to be just about 13 months from start to finish of the first draft.

This is the first draft, of course. All that bad writing: gaps, holes, illogicalities, running on and on as you describe this or explain that...all those asterisks where dialogue or scenes fell off cliffs, or I just didn't feel like describing anything at the moment. The ms I turned in to my editor last year I wouldn't have shown to my dog if it wasn't for that deadline. I don't know how she managed to read it and see anything good in it. But she did. Got her feedback back to me in 13 days and I started in on another two months of concentrated work to complete the second draft. I'm expecting about the same schedule with this one.

Happy Weekend!