Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Question for Mr. McKissack

Last week we collected an interesting question for Fredrick McKissack, Jr.

Dear Mr. McKissack: How long does it take to write a novel? - Lettie

That's a very good question, Lettie. It's hard to say because all books are different. The short--and unhelpful--answer is that the book is done when it is done. What it comes down to is the author knowing the work is ready for an editor. One of my favorite books is Frederick Forsyth's "Day of the Jackal". The actual writing took about 35 days, but he said he spent 12 years on research. Elizabeth Kostova's bestseller "The Historian" took 10 years to write. The first draft of Shooting Star was done in two months, but there were numerous drafts and rewrites before it was good to go. It was a year-and-a-half process. I worked on a comic/graphic novel a few years ago, and the time from first draft to finished manuscript was four months.

Again, great question. Thank you Lettie.

Do you have a question for Fred McKissack, Jr.? Send it to me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! Such a range of time invested! I'm fascinated because your residency at ACPL has this defined period of time and I wondered how that plays out as a writer. I like deadlines, so maybe you do, too:)