How Long Should a Novel Take to Write?

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It’s another chapter in the “How long should…” series of blog posts. I saw this question on a writing forum and immediately thought, “Should, could, would…” It’s the kind of question that someone who has never written a novel tends to ask and makes me think they want to get in and get out as quickly as possible. Boy, are they going to be shocked when they realise that’s almost impossible.

In almost every one of the “How long should…” series, I bring up the piece of string and then go into guidelines that might help somehow. But that’s unlikely when we’re talking about how long it should take to write a novel. Because it’s not like roasting a chicken or completing a school year or watching a movie, all of which will come to an end within a reasonably predictable time frame.

But here are a few things to consider about the sort of commitment it takes. Continue reading

How Long Should Chapters Be?

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“How long should chapters be?” is the proverbial “piece of string” question but I’ve seen writers asking it on writing forums so I thought I’d have a go at answering it. The definitive answer, of course, is that there is no fixed length any chapter should be. It needs to be determined by each individual author and depends on their preference, the type of book being written and how the chapter reads when it’s eventually written.

But there are some identifiable methods that it might be useful to list if you are struggling with this question. Continue reading