The Annunaki

The Annunaki
Aliens, Gods or Demons?

Monday, 18 August 2014

How Many Hours Research to Produce a Novel?

In my library and on my kindle I have stacks of books (literally and figuratively). On my computer there are endless files stuffed to the gills with maps, photos, downloaded documents and notes. I also have a file that lists all the websites and links to articles I have looked at that contains information I may need in the future. That doesn't include the pages and pages of notes I have made myself on pertinent topics and information.

I also spend time watching documentaries and have a substantial video library to complement my books. All of this time spent reading and watching these shows look like leisure but, while it's fun, it's also work.  I will sit there, reading or watching the TV, and the entire time my brain is running a monologue, comparing what is being said to what other sources claim, thinking how the information presented ties into my story script and should I disregard it or amend my story to include it, and my hands are jotting down notes.

All of this is so that before I sit down to write, I have a fairly clear idea of what historical/mythological places, people and items would be included in the book. It's not possible to include all and I also have to sift through all the legends, some of which are conflicting, in order to write a book that makes sense. And that's only possible if I have a clear idea of the personalities of the characters involved--it's how they inhabit their environment and respond to events that will determine their fate and the course of the novel.

With that in mind--before I sit down to write my 'thousand words a day' I will have spent many more hours studying. So, for every book I write I estimate one to three months research (six to seven hours a day, six days a week) so from 140 to 430 hours before writing the first paragraph. Then, as I'm writing, I also must continuously cross check facts and go back to articles and books I've read before to make sure I haven't gotten something horribly wrong.

Then, once the book is finished, it must go through the editing process over and over again, until it's as near perfect as it can get and everyone is satisfied that it is ready to be printed. What is included in the editing? Research---just to be really damn sure. The story and the characters are mine, but if I'm including an ancient monument I'd better make sure it's in the right country.

All in all, the hours spent writing take perhaps a fourth of the time spent creating a novel, with another fourth spent on editing. The remaining half is spent on research.



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