An older cowboy sits on horseback beside a young buck and quickly estimates the number of cows passing by. Impressed, the younger cowboy asks how the older man calculated the number so quickly.
“Easy. Just count the hooves and divide by four.”
That’s how easy it is to write a novel. You just write four times the material you need. You take down research, character sketches and backstory, write the first draft and by the time you finish, you have a better idea what the story is about, what the theme might be and what should be included in the character’s story arc.
Then you just have to divide by four and cut out all the writing that doesn’t support what you’ve discovered. Oh, and then you have to add what is missing based on the knowledge you gleaned from writing the first draft.
Like the older cowboy said, “Easy.”