06 August 2005

Writing my first Blockbuster Novel

I've decided that I'm going to write a novel.

Since this may be my only novel I'll need to make it of Best Seller quality. I've decided I could write a decent "intelligent thriller" after reading all of Dan Brown's books and Temple, a Matthew Reilly thriller (all Best Sellers). All that I lack before beginning my work is time, a plot and skill.

Time is probably the biggest obstacle, because with a sufficient amount I could overcome the other two deficiencies. I figure Brown and Reilly write on average one book every 1.5 to 2 years. As best selling writers, I would hope they could support themselves solely on their writing. This being the case and supposing they worked 40hr weeks for 1.5 years researching/writing/admin/etc, that would be 3000hr per book.

If my determination holds out I may average 8 hours per week writing. At such a rate it would take me 5x longer to finish or 7.5 years. That assuming I am as efficient and skillful as these popular writers (a quite unsubstantiated claim). Perhaps utilizing some other time saving techniques I could produce my thriller even quicker.

  • Novels average around 80,000 words. By writing a brisk 45,000 words (the minimum to advance beyond novella), I could cut down the writing time in half. So maybe now I'm at 4yrs.
  • The plot of these thrillers are built upon an underlying set of "realistic" but little known facts and weaved with several clever, quick twists. Mine would largely revolve around my experience here in Brazil. So hopefully I'll have built up a nice reserve of little known facts. I'm at 3.5yrs.
  • Read, Writing the Blockbuster Novel. I could learn a few tricks that will save me time down the line. (Technically, I should already know this stuff if I am Brown/Reilly material). So without this I'd be at 6 yrs again. With it... how about 3.49yrs.
  • Hire a co-author. Outsource character development or if I get stuck in a tricky plot knot. 3yrs
  • Plagerism. A very efficient way of producing words. 1-2 yrs.
These strategies will get me down to my "under 3 years" goal. Unfortunately, I already cut out a lot of what would probably make my book worth reading, profitable, fun to write, and legal. But hey I'd have "my" first novel!

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