Quora Questions Answered: Can I Write A Good Novel Within Two Months?


A lot of factors go in to answering this question. Factors like natural talent, level of skill, how many words a day, do you already have an outline, what about concrete characters, how clean are your first drafts, and how much time do you have to dedicate to the work.

With all those personal factors set aside, let’s take a look at the very basic mechanics of what it is we’re trying to do. Yes, it is possible to write a novel in two months. Cujo, by Stephen King, was an international bestseller that spawned a movie deal and millions of nightmares about Saint Bernard’s. This is the perfect example of a great novel being written in two months. But, yes, lets narrow down the context of Cujo. Cujo’s first draft was written in three days. It was a cocaine fueled loss of sanity that worked out in the most productive manner. Similarly, Lawrence Block, a mystery writer, has admitted to writing a novel in three days before. He didn’t give a name for the book, or say if it was ever published, he just said how long it took him to write it.

Another factor removed in this equation is the drafting process. Most novels go through three or four revisions (sometimes more) before the author is comfortable enough to begin submitting to publishers and agents. The drafting process is a time consuming procedure. It’s one that’s almost always necessary to help move a fair novel into good land, and to make good writing great. If you’re cutting yourself down to two months, it makes me want to ask if you’re only trying to get the first draft done in a hurry or do you plan on going to attempt full on publication; by skipping the drafting process your book is going to be missing something.

To speak from personal experience, I wrote a novella (about 5k short of 60k) in two weeks. This is a story I’ve never returned to as I know it’s filled with bad writing.

Is it possible to write a good novel in two months: yes, based on a lot of factors, it is technically possible to write a novel in two months.

Would I recommend you try to write a novel from plot to publication in two months? No, there’s just too much good that would be cut out of the process, a cut that would leave your novel at the gate with a gimp leg.

My final suggestion, aim for writing the first draft in two months. Set it aside for a month, then return to it. Do self-edits and the initial rewrite of the novel coming out with a more concrete 2nd draft. Then throw your novels to the wolves…err…beta-readers. Then comes the third draft. If you’re not satisfied with it at this point I would consider getting a professional editor to look over it. All in all, I would say you’re probably looking at six months to a year before the novel’s ready to go.


***Author’s Note***

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Happy National Novel Writing Month!

It’s that time of year again, where each and every little writer scurries into their corner to pull out their pen and paper and pour out their heart and soul.

Although, I don’t think I’ve ever participated in NaNo. I’ve meant to in years past, or I’ve been to far along in other projects to stop and start a brand new one. Another problem with competing has been dedication issues. Like with a blog or anything else, my attention flags after about 15 mins, then it’s time for something new. Part of living with ADD, I suppose. It really gets in the way of things. More on that later.

The real point of this post, however, is to create a point of public accountability. In essence, I’m going to participate in NaNo, not by working on a new novel, instead I’ll be working on this blog. The point of NaNo is to get butts in chairs on a daily basis, with an expectation of producing so many words a day. Using it as a habit building exercise, I will put my butt in the chair everyday. And every day I will produce a new blog post.

This is an effort to battle back the curse of ADD, and to help develop a healthy habit for myself, and maybe for my wallet later on down the road 😆.

To end today’s post I will leave a S.M.A.R.T. Goals declaration: I, Ryan S. Kinsgrove, will write and publish a blog post every day in the month of November, in an effort to build a better Ryan, and to prove that I can change for the better.

Consecutive days blogging: 1