This is a short segment from my 2021 Creative Writing Lectures at BYU. If you want to watch my lectures in their entirety, you can watch all of my 2020 lectures here: youtu.be/-6HOdHEeosc
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Brandon: Let’s talk about what it takes to do a first draft on a 100K-word novel.
Some of you watching might have full-time jobs and families and things, which, for you.
If you can get 100K words, a year, good, job., If, you are single and a student and maybe only working part time.
Then this is a great time to build some of those habits.
Because I did that for many years, and I know that there is some free time in there.
You may feel really scatterbrained.
You may feel like you’re doing too much.
Some of you may have, like, overachiever, 18 credit hours, stuff., I bet.
You were one of those.
But, just wait till you have kids.
Audience is like.
“Yeah, kids.”, Yeah.
They’re like, “Oh, yeah.” So.
Now is a good time to build that habit.
What I would recommend is, average writing speed for a writer is between 200 and 500 words, an hour, writing new prose in a story.
Good rule of thumb to have.
You are outside those bounds.
Everyone is different.
That’s a pretty wide range.
My experience has been that if you’re well below that that you can speed it up with good habits and good practice., Good habits and practice would be things like learning to turn off the Candy Crush and the email and the social media and learning to focus on your storytelling.
If you have real trouble with that, getting a notepad and going outside and writing longhand or things like that, to shake the need to be checking your email, every few minutes.
If, you’re well, below, if you’re at, like, 50 words, an hour, then you are spending too much time on email, or you are worrying about each word way, too much, to an extreme amount, which does happen as well.
One of the things you want to learn to do is you want to learn to write consistently.
One of the problems that you run into if you’re focusing on each word is, you aren’t good enough yet to focus on each word., You aren’t going to be—to get better at writing.
You’re going to have to get to the point where you’re writing big chunks of writing and then trying to teach yourself to do things as you’re doing that., It’s, really good as a writer to kind of keep in the back of your mind.
“I am usually a little bit too passive in my voice.
Let me, practice, not writing with as much of a passive voice.” That’s, a good thing to do.
You need to have written enough to know that that’s consistently a problem in yourself.
And I would recommend that you do the revision after, because then you’ll see what you’re doing by habit.
You’ve got a whole book.
You can look at, and you can go through that book and be like, “I’m going to cut all the passive voice from this book,” that will teach you more about not using the passive voice than thinking about every sentence while you write it, if I’m using the passive voice.
And in fact, after doing that whole book, revision, the next book you write, you will have internalized already some of those things, and you will just stop doing it by custom.
Just by writing.
So, you need to turn off the internal editor.
And you need to turn off Candy.
Do kids play.
These days? They don’t play Candy Crush., That’s like 50 years, ago., STUDENT:, Among, Us., BRANDON:, Yeah, play Among, Us., Oh, Among Us would be even worse because you’re interacting with people.
Like, Candy, Crush.
You could, like, flip a few things and then go back., But, Among, Us.
You do that.
You’re like a little half person with a bone sticking out., So, yeah, whatever it is.
You need to learn to be able to turn it off and shoot for that.
200 to 500 words, an hour.
The, fast, writers, I, know--., Hey, Rachel.
What do you do in about an hour? RACHEL:? A, thousand., BRANDON:, A thousand words, an hour? The, fast, writers, I know, go at about a thousand words, an hour.
That is not a ridiculous.
Actually a lot of pros I know, do between 750 and 1,000 rough draft words in an hour.
You’re doing that, even if you’re—let’s say, you’re at 250 words, an hour, which is really kind of slow., You really should be able to get to 400 to 500 pretty easily.
You’re doing 250 words, an hour.
To do 100,000 words, then.
You need to find eight hours a week.
You’re not willing to find eight hours a week.
Then that’s when you have to say, “Maybe being pro in the next 10 years is just not something I can do.
Maybe I’m going to go pro in the next 20 years.” But.
Most people with four hours on a Saturday, where you go--.
I would recommend getting your loved ones involved in this and saying, “I really want to try doing this writing thing.
Sanderson says, I should be shooting for 500 words, an hour.
Then in four hours on a Saturday I can do 2,000 words.
And that is my writing for the week.
You guys protect my writing time? Guard, the door.
Make sure during these four hours, will you take the child, the toddler, and entertain them so that I can have four hours.
If I have those four hours, then I don’t have to stress for the rest of the week.” If.
You can do that.
Then you can write a book every year.
100,000 words, 2,000 words, a week, gets you a rough draft every year.
And, you will find that you will pick up speed as you do this.
My first book.
It took me, like, three or four years.
Two of those years were on a mission, and I was not getting a lot of writing done on my P days during the one hour, I had, or two hours while my companions were playing basketball.
It was ping pong because I was in Korea.
People find it odd that missionaries play ping pong.
You’re in Asia on your mission, you will know ping pong is the thing.
You probably can find four hours a week to work on being a professional writer.
That’s what I would recommend doing.
The caveat though.
I have a good friend, Janci.
Who is a binge writer.
I, don’t know if she still is.
I’ll have to ask her., I know, she was a few years ago.
This is an uncommon, but not unheard of type of writer.
Believe Scott Card was a binge writer at one point in his career.
I, don’t know if he still is.
Binge writers are people who prepare and prepare and prepare and think about their story.
If they’re not outlining, they’re thinking about it, for, like, nine, ten months.
And then they sit down in a month or two and they write the whole book.
You’re a schoolteacher, binge writing is a very good way to do it, because my experience with schoolteachers has been, having married one and knowing several, that writing during the school year is just really hard, because school teaching is one of those jobs that consumes your entire life.
And there are always more things to be doing for your students.
So taking the summer and saying, “My summertime is my binge writing.
I, focus on my books.” That might be the way you go.
There’s, an exception to every rule of thumb in writing, where somebody really successful has done the opposite thing.
And it has been the right thing for them.
So, keep that in mind.
Writing 100,000 words will take about 41.7 hours for the average writer typing on a keyboard and 83.3 hours for handwriting. However, if the content needs to include in-depth research, links, citations, or graphics such as for a blog article or high school essay, the length can grow to 333.3 hours.Is 100k words long for a book? ›
Most publishers consider novel length to be anywhere between 50,000 and 110,000 words. The average length of an adult novel is about 90,000 words.Can you write 100000 words in a month? ›
The idea is for you to spend nine weeks writing (every day) and then spend another nine weeks revising and editing. That means you're writing nearly three books every year. Very small, consistent time investments can mean a lot of good things. Final words: You can write 100,000 words in a month if you have a plan.How many words does Brandon Sanderson write in a day? ›
Brandon Sanderson's daily word count: 2,500 words
I do on average 2,500–and that is after twenty years of practice, not to mention being able to do this full time. If you can do 500 words a day five days a week, that's a novel every year.
A 100,000 word count will create about 200 pages with single spacing or 400 pages double-spaced when using normal 1-inch margins, 12 pt. Arial font, and a standard A4 (letter size) page size.How many writers actually finish a book? ›
Here's what I discovered. Out of 97% of people who begin writing a novel: 30 out of 1000 go on to finish it. Only 6 out of those 30 go on to see their novel published.How many words is Harry Potter? ›
The entire Harry Potter series – 1,084,170 words.Is 200k words too long for a novel? ›
For most publishers, a book is “novel-length” when it's between 50,000 and 110,000 words. At a writers conference I recently attended, publishing veteran Jane Friedman said 80,000 words is good for most fiction, below 60,000 isn't novel length territory, and above 120,000 is likely too much.How many words is a 350 page book? ›
350 pages is 175000 words single-spaced or 87500 words double-spaced. Typical documents that are 350 pages or more include full-length novels. A typical single-spaced page is 500 words long.How long does it take to edit 100k words? ›
So, a 100,000-word manuscript would likely take 90-100 hours for the first two phases of the edit and an additional 10-20 hours for the final phase, after your review.
100000 in words is One Hundred Thousand. The number name of 100000 is written using the place value of a number, such as ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, etc. For example, if you have saved 100000 in 2 months, then you can write, “I have saved one hundred thousand in two months”.Is it possible to write 10 000 words in a day? ›
Writing 10,000 words a day seems nearly impossible. However, it is entirely possible.How many words did Stephen King write in a day? ›
Stephen King: 2,000 Words
In his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, King speaks on his writing speed. He would set a daily goal of about 2,000 words. This would add up to about 180,000 words in three months of writing.
It slows you down a little bit.” Earlier on, he used to pump out 2,000 words a day, but these days, he aims to write for about four hours each day and gets down about 1,000 words. He described an example writing routine in a 2014 interview: I wake up.Who is the richest writer in the world? ›
1. J.K. Rowling. British author Joanne Rowling, also known as J.K. Rowling, is the richest author in the world with a net worth of $1 billion.How many chapters is 100 000 words? ›
Anyway, let's assume that all of the scenes/chapters in our novel are 2000 words long. So if we're writing a 100,000-word novel, we'll have about 50 scene/chapters in our novel.How many words is a 300 page novel? ›
A 300-page book will have approximately 82,500 words total. With consistency, it's possible to reach that word count by writing 500 words per day, seven days a week, for about five and a half months.How many words is a 250 page book? ›
250 pages is 125000 words single-spaced or 62500 words double-spaced. Typical documents that are 250 pages or more include full-length novels.What are the odds of writing a book? ›
Within the book publishing industry, it is agreed that the odds of an author getting their work published stands between 1% and 2%. Despite this low number, more than 95% of manuscripts received by publishers and agents are below the level the standard required.How many books can a new author expect to sell? ›
The average traditionally published non-fiction book sells about 250-300 copies in the first year, but when we manage a book launch, our target is to sell 1,000 copies in the first 3 months. Why 1,000? Because at that number of sales, a book has the momentum it needs to keep spreading by word of mouth.
It took Victor Hugo 12 long years to finish working on 'Les Misérables', which is one of the longest novels ever written.What is the minimum page count for a novel? ›
Some argue that anything over 40,000 words can be considered a novel. The general consensus, however, is that a novel should be at least 50,000 words long, is approximately 200 pages. This means that 200 pages is a sufficient length for a novel.How long should your first chapter be? ›
There are no rules when it comes to chapter length. The important thing is to concentrate on making your chapters fit your story, not on making your story fit your chapters. Many novelists these days prefer chapters that are between 1,500 words—or six book pages— and 8,000 words, or 32 book pages.How long is a typical chapter in a book? ›
Chapter length averages
On average, chapters tend to range from 1,000-5,000 words, with most falling in the 2,000-4,000 range. But chapters can be much longer or much shorter. There are plenty of bestselling books where some chapters are only a page and some where they don't even use chapters in the traditional sense.
On average, twenty to thirty is a pretty good benchmark for most novels. If you're plotting your novel writing process using your favourite story structure, you might find setting a goal for a certain number of chapters can help you break down each section of your book more effectively.How many words is a 6x9 book page? ›
6x9”: 340 words/page.How many words is a non fiction book? ›
The average word count of a nonfiction book in traditional publishing is around 60,000 words. Target word counts are often included in contracts between the author and publisher. The average nonfiction book that's self-published tends to be a little shorter, running between 20,000-35,000 words.How many pages is 500,000 words? ›
A 500,000 word count will create about 1000 pages with single spacing or 2000 pages double-spaced when using normal 1-inch margins, 12 pt. Arial font, and a standard A4 (letter size) page size.How many pages is 1000000 words? ›
1,000,000 words is 2000 pages single-spaced or 4000 pages double-spaced. Typical documents that are 1,000,000 words or more include full-length novels. It will take approximately 3,333 minutes to read 1,000,000 words.Is 30 000 words enough for a non fiction book? ›
30,000 words are enough for a novella but would be considered too short for most fiction novels or a nonfiction book.
Your proofreader can help you ensure that your manuscript is consistent in its use of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and formatting, allowing you to submit a squeaky-clean document that is ready to rise to the top of a stack of incoming manuscripts.Is 90000 words too long? ›
In general, the Safe Zone for adult fiction is 70,000-100,000, and the Safe Zone for adult nonfiction is 60,000-90,000 words. Less than that and your book is probably too short. More than that and your book is probably too long.How much does it cost to edit 60000 words? ›
Based on marketplace data Reedsy collected in 2022, it costs between $2,400 and $3,400 to hire an editor for a 60,000-word book. Editing costs depend on a number of factors, including the editor's experience level, the type of service, and the length and genre of the project.Is $100 000 a good salary? ›
Earning more than $100,000 per year would put you well ahead of the median American household, which brings in $74,784 as of 2021. Assuming you're an individual without dependents, that salary would qualify you as upper class, according to three different definitions (Brookings, Urban Institute and Pew Research).How do you write millions in writing? ›
When writing, the guide advises, to use figures only for anything less than a million, but spell out “million,” “billion,” and 'trillion” for numbers of 1 million or greater, such as 2.4 billion. Furthermore, Associated Press recommends abbreviating millions as “M” and billions as “B” in headlines.Is writing a thousand words a lot? ›
For most content writers, 1000 words is a regular minimum limit. It is commonly achieved in a single session, with freelance writers often commissioned this word count for quick five-minute reads.How many words is a lot to write in a day? ›
Daily word counts are one of the first things students ask about on our writing course. While we don't recommend any particular number, we do think it is a good idea to have one as a daily goal. If you set a goal of 500 or 1 000 words and you keep it every day, you feel as if you have accomplished something.Is it possible to write 20,000 words in a day? ›
Repeat the habit of writing for long enough and you'll be writing for big publications, getting paid (one day), and you might even become a full-time writer and give up your day job. Anything is possible when you work your way to writing 20,000 words in a day.Can you write 40000 words in a day? ›
Writing 40,000 words will take about 16.7 hours for the average writer typing on a keyboard and 33.3 hours for handwriting. However, if the content needs to include in-depth research, links, citations, or graphics such as for a blog article or high school essay, the length can grow to 133.3 hours.How many hours do writers work a day? ›
Erica Vetsch: The true answer is—it depends. If I'm on a deadline of some kind, I can write from 4-6 hours a day. Mostly, I write from 2-4 hours on weekday afternoons. I do lots of other writing tasks like editing, marketing, blogging, etc, but for writing on the manuscript, I average about 3 hours per weekday.
King replied: “Here's the thing: There are books and there are books.” He explained that he writes for three or four hours each day and tries to produce a half dozen “fairly clean” pages in that time. “So if the manuscript is, say, 360 pages long, that's basically two months' work — but that's assuming it goes well. “What is JK Rowling's writing process? ›
Another interesting thing about J.K. Rowling's writing habit is that she prefers to write in longhand first and then types up her story afterward. This sounds so romantic, but I've found it's not for me. I like the fact that I can edit as I write. To move words around, copy, paste or delete.How long does JK Rowling write a day? ›
Finish Writing at 3 pm
If you work full time, you'll have exprienced that afternoon lull afternoon — your eyes start dropping, you start yawning, and your interests start waning. We're human, not machines. We can only work for so long. Pretty much, Rowling writes for six hours a day.
1) Graham Greene – 500 Words
An early riser and an obsessive word counter, Greene secured his spot in literary history as one of the most beloved British authors. Over the decades he devoted to the craft, he was able to release twenty five novels by writing for only 1.5-2 hours per day.
Rowling also revealed that to ensure that she writes everyday even when she secured a job, she would write during lunch hours and at the end of the day after marking assignments.What is most sold book in the world? ›
The best-selling book of all time is the Christian Bible.What type of authors make the most money? ›
|James Patterson||Thriller novelist||$86 million (2018)|
|JK Rowling||Young Adult author||$54 million|
|Stephen King||Horror author||$27 million|
|John Grisham||Legal Drama author||$21 million (2018)|
The pen name J.K. Rowling belongs to the first billionaire author, Joanne Kathleen Rowling, a British novelist, who created the award-winning Harry Potter series that has sold over 400 million copies around the world.How long does it take to write 90000 words? ›
Writing 90,000 words will take about 37.5 hours for the average writer typing on a keyboard and 75 hours for handwriting.How long to write 120000 words? ›
Writing 120,000 words will take about 50 hours for the average writer typing on a keyboard and 100 hours for handwriting.
Can You Write 1000 Words in an Hour? The answer is yes. However, anyone who's heard the phrase "quality over quantity," knows it's possible at an expense.How many pages can an editor edit in a day? ›
There are general guidelines set out by the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) which suggest that for developmental editing an editor can do 1–5 standard pages an hour (where a standard page is always 250 words), heavy copy-editing can be done in 2–5 standard pages per hour, basic copy-editing in 5–10 standard ...How long did it take JK Rowling to write the first Harry Potter? ›
J.K Rowling took six years to write Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the first book in the Harry Potter series. It was published on 26 June, 1997 and the bestselling fantasy novel series is marking its 20th anniversary in 2017.How long did it take JK Rowling to write Harry Potter? ›
On 11 January 2007 the author stepped out of Edinburgh's Balmoral hotel having completed the last novel in the Harry Potter series — the culmination of 17 years of writing. But that wasn't all J.K. Rowling wrote while she was there…How hard is it to get a book published? ›
Within the book publishing industry, it is agreed that the odds of an author getting their work published stands between 1% and 2%. Despite this low number, more than 95% of manuscripts received by publishers and agents are below the level the standard required.Is 120000 words too much for a novel? ›
If you're writing your first novel, the general rule of thumb for novel writing is a word count in the 80,000 to 100,000 range. While anything over 40,000 words can fall into the novel category, 50,000 is considered the minimum novel length. Anything over 110,000 words is considered too long for a fiction novel.Is 120000 words too long for a novel? ›
For most publishers, a book is “novel-length” when it's between 50,000 and 110,000 words. At a writers conference I recently attended, publishing veteran Jane Friedman said 80,000 words is good for most fiction, below 60,000 isn't novel length territory, and above 120,000 is likely too much.Is 70000 words enough for a novel? ›
Average Word Count For A Novel
The average word count for adult fiction is between 70,000 to 120,000 words. For children's fiction, the general rule is the younger the audience the shorter the book, and for YA novels the average is 50,000-70,000 words. Non-fiction word counts sit between 70,000-120,000 words.
Stephen King: 2,000 Words
In his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, King speaks on his writing speed. He would set a daily goal of about 2,000 words. This would add up to about 180,000 words in three months of writing.
Use a comfortable keyboard
With fast typing speeds, use of shortcuts and a comfortable keyboard, it is theoretically possible to write 2,000 words in under an hour. This is based on a typing speed of 50 words per minute and allowing for several pauses to think.
If you're a complete beginner, a 1000 word article should take 3 hours to 4 hours to complete. In general, the rule to follow is: Take the time needed to get everything in order.