Monday, January 25, 2010

The Amount of Work Involved

Writing is work. The saying is obvious, but how much work is it?

I have a general idea by looking over the number of copies in my story folder.

For every story I write, I keep a computer folder named with the story's title. The story itself is a Word file, again named by the title. At the end of a day when I make substantial changes, I save and number a copy.

For Mistletoe Everywhere, my Regency Christmas novella, (blurb and excerpt here)version one is the original idea, at 3000 words. The final version I sent to the publisher, at 26, 600 words, is version seventy-four.

Now for the length of time the writing took. I generally write all day on Sunday, with some time, usually not much, during the week. I started Mistletoe Everywhere in June, and finished in mid-September. Then I let the story sit for a month to allow me to see it with fresh eyes. As I reread it in October, the story sounded good to me. I made some changes, mainly replacing words I repeat too often with better words.

Then I tackled the query letter and synopsis. They took two weeks. At the end of October, I sent the fifth version to my editor at The Wild Rose Press.

So, from when I started to when I sent in the query, the total effort was about five months, seventy-four (74) versions of the novella, and five (5) versions of the query and synopsis.

The editor has sent me her edits, and I'll work on the story again for at least another month. I don't know how typical this amount of work is, but I've worked a lot.

For the authors out there, how many versions do you write before you send your story in?

Thank you all,

Linda Banche

Regency romance--most with humor, some with fantasy, and occasionally a paranormal
Lady of the Stars--4 stars from Romantic Times, 2010 EPIC EBook competition finalist, Regency time travel available from The Wild Rose Press
--Regency Halloween comedy available from The Wild Rose Press
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Savanna Kougar said...

Linda, fascinating. I'm not quite that organized. I wouldn't know how many versions I actually ended up with. Though, it would probably range from about four to about nine.
I have a basic version, but it's been edited and revised as I go along.
Then, when I reach the end, I begin editing, revising sections and polishing... as I'm doing currently with Branded.
It's about 110,000 words currently. And I'm just on Chapter Twelve... but, so far, I think what I'm doing is working... hope, hope.
A couple of things I do, is put the story in a different font, which lets me see errors more easily... plus, I format it similar to how it will be when published.

As far as edits, the longest was Murder by Hair Spray and it took me two solid weeks. But, I added narrative to the story since it was dialogue heavy.

However, I think you're doing better than me, since you mostly write on Sundays.

Linda Banche said...

Hi Savanna,we all do what works for us. I keep all those versions, and on three different disks for backup, because I'm terrified of losing the work.

My edits are now done. I've mainly replaced words I used too often, which did involve some rewrite, and I have 8 versions.

And my way is not necessarily "better" than yours. Looks like what you're doing works for you, and that's what matters.

Sarah Simas said...

Oh my goodness! Linda, that was such a cool way to break it all down. Sounds very organized, too.

I think your method is definitely worth a look. Writing all day Sunday sounds awesome. Maybe one day I'll get to do that. But for now, every Sunday my hubby wants to be over at his parents' house to work with the cattle.*sigh* No writing for me! So, naptime during the week is my hot spot. (well, as long as my daughter stays in her room lol)

Thanks for such an inspiring post! I really, really enjoyed it! :) Good luck and happy writing!

And to you, too, Savanna!

Bekki Lynn said...

Oh, Linda - it's good to know I'm not the only one who does that.

It's about the only thing I can be anal about. Even files of cuts and critiques - I keep everything.

I used to print everything out, too. I have those large printer boxes full of different versions of stories stored in my shed. Those were the days when reams of printer paper had the holes on the side and were guided by wheel sprockets thingies.

Now, paper and toner cartridges are too expensive, so I stopped doing that.

Linda Banche said...

Thanks Sarah, but whether or not I'm organized is debatable. You have to do what works for you.

As for when you write, you do it whenever you can. During the week I'm too tired after work to do much of anything. I've recovered somewhat by Sunday, so that's my writing day.

Bekki, I understand. I didn't print out my writing, but I first started, I bookmarked all the research I found online, AND I printed it out. All that research is sitting in slash folders and I use the links. Now I just keep the links. I must have a gazillion links by now.

Savanna Kougar said...

Linda, I know what you mean about backup... I've got everything on disc and also on two jumpdrives...

I used to print out... but it's just too much paper and ink for everything I've got.

Heck, if I had time I'd use Lulu or some POD format, then simply buy the book. It's probably less expensive in the long run.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Wow, Linda, I'm impressed with how professional you are!
I find it depends - some scenes need more re-writes than others, some come fairly 'clean' to me.
I'd love to 'borrow' your versions to show to my writing classes! I keep meaning to save my early versions but somehow I never do.

I'm reworking the end of my latest knight novel at the moment.

Linda Banche said...

Savanna, I know what you mean about paper. I've given up trying to enter some contests because they want paper. Going to Staples and having them print up a bunch of copies seems like an awful waste to me. That's why I entered the EPIC contest. They're all e-books, so I could email them a copy of "Lady of the Stars", exactly the way the reader gets it.

Thanks, Lindsay. If nothing else, I work very hard.
Not too long ago, I reread the original outline for "Lady of the Stars", 9 single-spaced pages. Yup, the story is all there, with a few additions.
Some scenes come easier to me than others, too. But I find I still have to rewrite everything. Or maybe I'm too picky. Good luck on your latest knight book.

Gem Sivad said...

Linda, my desk top is also filled with wip files filled with version 1,2,3etc.

Good to know that my technique isn't as bizarre as I thought.

Thanks for the great topic.

gem sivad

Linda Banche said...

Thanks, Gem. And like I said, whatever works for you, works.

But it's nice to know that great minds think alike. *g*