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How long does it take to write a crime novel?

It usually takes me nine months to write a crime novel, six months at a push depending on what else is going on in my life! I like to write the first draft as quickly as I can. I don't do intricate plotting beforehand, I just have a basic idea, a location and usually a body, or an incident, and work on it from there. I also have some brief sketches of new characters who will feature in the book (alongside my regulars) and then I will get cracking. I plot and research as I go along.

I usually aim to have the first draft written within three months. I don't word count but write as much, or as little, as the book, my mood and the day demands. However, I do write every day.

Once the basic storyline is on screen (about 86k words) I get down to working on it - fleshing out the characters, their idiosyncrasies, their personalities, motivations and more. I refine the plotting, put in the clues and red herrings and look for plot holes and correct them.  I usually go through eight revisions of a novel before I am happy with it.

Often it is a good idea to put some distance between revisions. Therefore once I have got to revision three/four, or maybe even five, I will set aside that novel and start researching the next one. When I have the idea for the next novel, have researched the locality, and the historical aspects it if is an Inspector Ryga 1950s set mystery, the main character (the victim) and other key characters it is time to set that aside and continue the revisions with the other novel.

There is also useful time to be spent away from the keyboard. In addition to long walks around the coastal area, where I'm always looking for a good place to put a body (fictional), I indulge in many creative pastimes. Knitting and crochet not only produce some very nice cardigans and but also helps to stimulate the little grey cells as Poirot would put it. I can merrily while away the time in my character's heads, thinking out their motivations while sewing, painting, knitting, walking and crocheting although not all at the same time! And of course reading is a great escape. 

So that's it in a nutshell. I very much enjoy writing my crime novels and I sincerely hope that my readers continue to enjoy reading them.


About Pauline

Pauline Rowson lives on the South Coast of England and is the best selling author of many crime novels, published by Joffe Books. Her popular crime novels include the DI Andy Horton Solent Murder Mystery series, the Art Marvik mystery thrillers and the 1950s set Inspector Ryga mysteries. Subscribe to her newsletter for all the latest books news.

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