Writing process

How long did it take to write Linesman?

Confluence, Linesman book three, has been with the with the copy editor a while now, and we’ve had time to sit back and reflect on some of the changes over the three books.  One of the biggest changes was the time it took to write each book.

We kept a daily word count, so we know roughly how long it was from start to finish.

The diagram, below, shows the count for part of book two, Alliance.

We use OneNote to store information about each book as we write it. Note the not-so-fanciful names. Usually named after someone or something in the story.
We use OneNote to store information about each book as we write it. Note the not-so-fanciful names. Usually named after someone or something in the story.

Book one: Linesman

We had plenty of time to write Linesman, because we didn’t have a contract for it.

  • We started on 18 July, 2010
  • Finished the draft we sent to Caitlin, our agent, on 18 December, 2012WordCount_1
  • Rewrote again, and again, and our last count was on 7 September 2014
  • Grand total: Four years, one month and 21 days (1513 days)


Book two: Alliance

Alliance was the first book we wrote under contract. We had firm deadlines. But we also had another book to complete first, and in between writing it we went back and did edits on the earlier book.

  • We started on 16 February 2014WordCount_2
  • Finished the first draft on 7 December 2014
  • The last date counted in our calendar was 10 August 2015.
  • We’re getting faster, but the grand total is still one year, five months and 26 days (541 days)


Book three: Confluence

Book one, Linesman, was published while we were writing book three. And we were doing edits for book two. We also did more rewriting in the first draft of this story, rather than leaving it for later drafts.

  • We started on 1 February 2015WordCount_3
  • Finished the first draft on 26 January 2016
  • Final date counted was 21 May, 2016.
  • Grand total: One year, three months and 21 days (476 days)


This has been an interesting exercise, because if you’d asked me before I wrote this, I would have said it took us twelve months to write a book.

It used to. What’s changed has been the editing. Twelve months to write a book and get it halfway to decent. But more time to edit it into something that’s publishable.

2 replies on “How long did it take to write Linesman?”

Fascinating, also all the bits down the side where you make notes on the different elements. I find all that really interesting. In stories where there is lots of detail behind an idea – such as your lines I find myself making notes so I can refer back so when you say line 1 I can look up what line 1 does to remember. Eventually of course I’ve read the books so many times I don’t need my crib sheet. ;o)

Which reminds me must remember to have books 1 and 2 downloaded on my Kindle for my September hol so I can re-read before book 3!!

We’d be lost without the notes on the side. We have plans to combine all this into a reference and put it onto the website one day. But progress is slow. Writing gets in the way.

Also, while the book is going through final edits, the copy editor creates a style guide which lists names of people, names of places, and any special spellings. This is invaluable for the following books.

Enjoy your holiday reading. 🙂

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