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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Yes, It's a Baby


A while back, after I had just finished my first draft of Hatshepsut, a friend asked how long it took to get the whole thing on paper.

My answer? Roughly nine months of concerted writing. (The first year I only managed 100 pages and half of that was cut.)

Her response? "Wow. So writing a book is like having a baby."

Yes. In more ways than one.

Here are some mammal gestation periods with my written "baby" equivalents.

Opossum: 12 days (Creation of first draft of first chapter, most of which will inevitably be chopped.)

Cat: 63 days (Length of time it takes me to run out of my initial inspiration when starting a new book.)

Cow: 284 days (Roughly the amount of time for human gestation, approximate time necessary to finish the first draft.)

Whale: 360 days (Time required to complete enough edits to get a WIP ready for beta readers.)

Indian Elephant: 624 days (A smidge less than the time from writing the first word of the first draft to having Hatshepsut query-able.)


Now the next time someone asks why your book isn't on the shelf at Barnes and Noble, you can tell them the process of writing a book is like having a baby. An elephant baby.

(On a side note, I'm glad I'm not an elephant! Nine months of being pregnant just once was more than enough for me!)

So, what stage is your book at?

21 comments:

Amalia T. said...

Awesome facts! I loved this post!

Jade said...

Opussum! Except I like my first chapter so I hope it won't be chopped.

Great post.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm at cow stage - as of yesterday! Now it's off to polish and shine :)

Guinevere said...

Whale stage for Shards, cat stage for Goddess!

Great post idea, too -- I might borrow the baby elephant line!

laurel said...

I think I'm at the stage of having birthed the elephant and even weaned it. But I started very, very slowly--two years+ on the first draft, not working at all steadily. Then I did revisions that didn't go deep enough and queried too soon. About 18 months later, I began to deeply revise, which I've been plugging away at since October. I guess I'm racking up all my mistakes on this ms. :-)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Yep! I'm definitely having an elephant!

I have another award for you at my blog today, Stephanie. You know I have a hard time leaving you out on awards day! :-)

Julie Dao said...

HA! I loved this post! I believe my story is in the whale stage. Possibly it will incubate until the Indian elephant stage, who knows? It's taking forever to rewrite and revise, but someday I will push this thing out if it kills me! (Ew sorry for the imagery. But you know what I mean)

L. T. Host said...

Did you know that some pinnipeds (the seal/sea lion family) can be impregnated, and if it's not the ideal time of year or conditions, they will effectively put the embryo (and therefore pregnancy) into hibernation until it is? They can STOP the process of pregnancy until they can have a baby! Crazy!

Great other facts, though, and yes, I'd tend to agree that it's like having a very large baby. Elephant seems apt. :)

Bane of Anubis said...

Poor elephants... poor, poor elephants.

Valerie Geary said...

Random side note... or not so random... that picture you put up with this post... of the elephant?? It's GORGEOUS!!! That is all... I have to return to gestating now (Hahhaaa! Ew!).

Michelle Gregory said...

so Bane said poor elephants. what about poor writers? oh wait. we do this on purpose so it's our own fault we're feeling like pregnant elephants by the time we're close to finishing. that's about where i am - huge, pregnant elephant stage.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Obviously, I'm an elephant. This explains a great deal, although I seem to be missing the large ears and the long trunk. I don't even want to talk about the grey wrinkly skin.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Ha! Elephant babies--you got me with that one!

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, man it's so much harder! It's more like going through the pregnancy and then a full 18 years of teenage hell to get your novel out there. I mean, all the way to the shelves? Yup. 18 years of teenagers. Get ready!

Lola Sharp said...

Well, it FEELS like I'm giving birth to an elephant on this one!

I'm in revisions, and I'm telling you, some days it's as gory, bloody, and painful and squeezing out an elephant. From my...um, body.

Great post!

Happy Weekend!
Lola

Anita Saxena said...

Very insightful and true. I feel like I've had four elephant babies back to back :)

Lisa and Laura said...

LOVE this post. Birthing a novel is serious business. At least it doesn't require an epidural. Well, not normally anyways.

VR Barkowski said...

Great post. For my first novel I went the way of the Indian Elephant, for my second I'm aspiring for cow camp. Moo!

Dangerous With a Pen said...

Hmmm... I think maybe Cat... Oh, dear it's a long way from Cat to Cow. And I hear you on the human babies... Love my girls to death but glad I'll never be pregnant again! Lol...

Dominique said...

Holy Dinah! So glad I'm not an elephant.

This made me laugh out loud. I'm totally using this explanation in the future. Great post.

beth said...

LOL! Love this post...and glad I'm not an elephant, too!