Post: Writing a fiction novel—how long should it take?


If you read the title and are hoping to discover a concrete answer to the question in this post, you’re about to be disappointed because there isn’t one. However, what this post does contain is information that may be useful to fiction authors, especially those who are writing their first book. Writing a fiction novel typically takes from six months to a full year, or longer. 

Several factors affect an author’s timeline for completing a project. Some books take longer than others. For example, if you’re writing an historical fiction novel, you must conduct extensive research to ensure accuracy regarding things like clothing, names of cities or towns, current events occurring during the era, and more. 

A timeline for writing a fiction novel depends on these issues

Historical fiction is one of many genres in the fiction space. The genre you choose will have an impact on your writing timeline. As mentioned in the previous section, certain topics require more research than others. The following list shows additional issues (besides genre) that must be factored in when estimating how long it will take to write a fiction novel: 

  • Speed at which you process ideas and put them in writing
  • Level of experience 
  • How many revisions you make
  • Procrastination
  • Single author or writing team

All of these issues can affect your timeline when writing a fiction novel. There are several ways you can expedite the writing process. 

Keep these tips in mind to reduce the time it takes to write a book

The problem with “speeding up the writing process” is that you risk cutting corners, which can reduce the quality of your work. Consider these tips to help you stay on track and complete a book in a timely manner: 

  • Stay organized by implementing a daily writing schedule.
  • If you’re stuck on a particular part of the story, write beyond it and come back to it later.
  • Take advantage of professional review and editing services. 
  • Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. 

Practicing these tips can boost your health and help you stay energized and focused. This, in turn, will help you avoid delays in the writing process. 

Learn from your mistakes

If you plan to write several books, let your first time out be a learning experience regarding the time writing a fiction novel takes. Keep a journal, noting things that worked well and helped you stay on task, as well as things that may have caused delays. And remember that every writing project is unique. Some stories take longer than others. It’s all part of the journey.