I’m terrible with names, but I remember clever comments, even if not always verbatim. I had to look this one up: author Jonathan Carroll likened a short story to a sprint and a novel to a marathon.
Although it can take a long time to write some short stories, it’s possible to complete one in a day, or even in an hour if it’s “flash fiction.” Novels are a very different matter. Planning and writing a work of that length and complexity chews up a great deal of time. I need eight to twelve months to finish the first draft of a novel.
Minimum. Sometimes it takes much longer. Life can get in the way. Other projects can get in the way. The dreaded writer’s block can get in the way. So you can imagine the thrill of crossing the finish line by typing the words, “The End.”
I did so a couple of days ago with my SF/humor novel, Space Operatic. This marathon was longer than usual; it took about three years. I had a lot of fun writing it, but time and again I had to shove it onto the back burner, while at other times it simply stalled. But now it’s done!
Done being, of course, a relative term. After a brief hiatus to gain some distance from it, I’ll launch into the revision work, and after a two or four passes through it will land in the hands of my editor-wife. More revisions will follow. Eventually it will be ready to send out into the world.
This one we probably won’t publish under our own imprint (Serpent Cliff). I don’t think it fits with our publishing program. Instead, I’ll probably look for an agent to represent it.
That could be a whole ‘nother marathon . . .