It depends. Since my preference is to place my characters in a historical setting, research for authentic details consumes a considerable period of time. I can spend a year or more writing a novel from start to the end, and that's before any editing or rewrites.
Not Bound By Blood did not follow the usual pattern. From the time of its inception to publication was almost ten years. In fact, this story spent just as much time 'on the shelf' as being worked on.
Why was that?
A couple of reasons. I began with the concept of writing about a friendship forged in high school by two girls which continued throughtout their lives. But, I kept running into roadblocks.
What do you call a roadblock?
That's when the story-writing comes to a halt because something isn't working out according to your expectations of what the plotline should do.
What happened with Not Bound By Blood?
My first mistake was to conceive of a story that encompassed too many years when there were only two main characters involved. The ending scene was written early on. I envisioned the two friends living together in a nursing home.I found myself running into 'dry periods', stretches of time with nothing major was happening in their lives to fill the gaps. I had to scrap that ending and come up with a satisfactory closing acene happening earlier in their lives.
What did you do when the writing came to a stop?
If no immediate solution presented itself, my reaction was to set it aside and work on a different project. In the case of Not Bound By Blood, it sometimes could spend years 'on the shelf' before I picked it up again.
Can you give an example?
When my actress character, Blanche, found herself in Europe just as Hitler invaded Europe, I needed to stop and do a lot of research and imagining to find a way to get her out of there before the German army arrived.
Why was that important?
To be honest, I didn't want the story to include any warfare. Because I strive for accurate portrayal of historical settings and details, I felt it would detract from the theme of my story.
How did you make yourself finish?
The day came when I told myself I couldn't start another project until I wrote 'the end' to this story. Then as I read through what was already written, possibly three-quarters of the story by that time, I realized the story was written from the wrong character's point of view. But that's a blog for another day.