The High King Lives

Hear the Writer Roar! Tuesday: How Long Does it Take to Write a Book? July 31, 2012

In this post: My rude awakening, a list of how long it took famous authors to write their books, and please leave me a comment with any surprising revelations you found out on your writing  journey.

Well friends, I’m a dunder head. I seriously thought I could spit out a book in 6 months because I had such a great outline. Well, I spent several hours last night working on my timeline and fixing my outline. I’ve realized my character can’t move from one place to the next in one short chapter. It has taken ten chapters to get my character a third of a way to his goal (for the first book). They’re not really long chapters compared to most but it takes me a looooong time to write them.

It’s been a bit frustrating because I actually started this project about two years ago. The first year I only got about seven chapters and then I threw it all out because the plot was flawed. Thankfully the characters and world building stayed. So my first year basically just yielded the world, characters, and creatures.

It was back in January that I really started hunkering down and making myself write on a regular basis. I finally have a plot that makes sense and I’ve fixed many loop holes. I’m not sure why I thought I could whip up a good book in such short time…especially an inspirational fantasy. Maybe because I read a lot of YA fiction and many of them have a book out every six months. Yeah, well they also have traditional publishers and fans pushing them to write fast. Plus many of the genre hang on the present day fads. They need to write before the fad dies. Also I’ve noticed that certain popular YA authors start out strong but by the third book the plot has become so cheezy I can’t stand it. Also the editing becomes sloppier and sloppier.

I don’t want my books to be like that and I’m not trying to catch a fad. I just want my story told and I hope it’s timeless. Overall, I pray my books will inspire people to seek the TRUE High King. I hope they will want to know someone as wonderful as the High King in my stories and that my Forward will point them to Christ. Hopefully they will realize He is greater than the High King of my stories and beyond what anyone could imagine.

In a way, it’s like Aslan. C.S. Lewis didn’t write an allegory. He said so himself. Aslan is an inspiration but he is indeed fiction. No one should base their theology on Narnia or say Aslan IS Christ. Because he IS NOT. But Aslan reminds me of Christ and then I think of the way Christ is far superior. What a joy to realize that there is a true kingdom similar to those found in stories but oh SO much better……there is a true Lord & King similar to the stories but OH SO much greater!

Moving on… I have the timeline for all three books and I have a detailed outline for book one….less detailed outlines for books 2 and 3. I have names for all three books….simple names…but hey, I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. I’m finding this writing thing takes a lot of work and time…doh lol.

It takes research to come up with a good map and to figure out how long  journeys take. The first book will only cover 6 months but most likely four years will have passed by the end of the trilogy. I wish I could get this story to people quicker. I love the characters and I love the world. I think it’s neat and I know God inspires me. My greatest inspiration comes from church. As I understand more about the concepts of sin and grace the book comes together better.

I can’t wait to share with you the ruins and secret tunnels of Davar, the mighty Leviathan of Aletheia and it’s sea faring city, the blistering desert of Ebaer, and the icy halls of Keshet. I could go on about the other lands in Emeth but I don’t want to give too much away. That’s a small taste of where the first book will take you. 😉

So I’m not sure when I’ll finish this book but I’m in it for the long haul. Writing is hard work and those of you in the same boat understand that. This didn’t click until I was watching “The Making of The Lord of the Rings”. I saw how long it took Tolkien to write and I thought “How arrogant of me to think I could produce a book worthy of it’s predecessors in such a short time!”

Here is a list of famous authors and how long it took them to write their books 🙂 Enjoy!

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How long did it take C.S. Lewis to write his books?

“Although Lewis originally conceived what would become The Chronicles of Narnia in 1939,[1] he did not finish writing the first book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe until 1949.” -wiki

All seven books finished by 1956, around seven years since the first book was finished. So the first book took a good bit of time and after that a new book was published each year.

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There are mixed answers on how long it took J.R.R. Tolkien to write The Lord of the Rings. Here is an opinion I found.

“Ask anyone how long it took J.R.R. Tolkien to write The Lord of the Rings and they will probably say something like 11 or 12 years. But is that really the correct answer?

Tolkien began working on the story in late 1937. He completed a semi-final draft of the main narrative in 1948 but by 1950 J.R.R. Tolkien had begun working on the Appendices. He paused his work to make changes to the background material that would be compatible with the published 2nd edition of The Hobbit. When The Lord of the Rings was finally accepted for publication Tolkien made numerous changes on the galley proofs, even rewriting many paragraphs. The final galley proofs were sent to the publisher in 1954 or 1955.

It would thus be more accurate to suggest that it took about 17 years (allowing for some breaks) from start to finish for J.R.R. Tolkien to write The Lord of the Rings.” ~

Xenite.Org (

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How long did it take J.K. Rowling to write the first Harry Potter book? six to seven years. All seven of her books were finished in 17 years. She said the shortest writing time was a year. That’s a long time for fans to wait….wow.
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John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress- a classic favorite of mine. It took Mr. Bunyan a year or two to finish the first part. He was also in prison where I presume he had a lot of time to write. He was imprisoned twice for preaching. Some of the best writings have been written in prison……for example parts of the New Testament ;).
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My favorite author, Francine Rivers, has a book every year it seems. She is a special literary genius. I don’t have the vocabulary to write as well as she. Seriously lol.  She has some great tips.
Honestly, I think it all depends on genre. Writing an epic fantasy is a lot different than writing a supernatural romance…..or picture books. Some genres take longer than others. So as I look at my predecessors I don’t feel so guilty that I’m not published. Also I realize this book is like a marriage…it takes commitment. Also it has to come after the most important three in my life: God, my marriage, and parenting. Four if you include family…or I could just say: God, family, writing. but when I say parenting I’m talking about a lot of time parenting…..because of homeschool. Sometimes writing just has to take a back seat.
God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover
PS: Please leave me some comment love. What have you learned since writing? Any surprises? Did you expect it to be as much work as it is?

4 Responses to “Hear the Writer Roar! Tuesday: How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?”

  1. Ann Says:


  2. Poppy Says:

    Love this post! It’s so interesting to see how long it took for some of my favorite books and series to get written. Now if I could just finish my book!

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