Hey, nerds! The last time I posted an article four of you saw it immediately before even I had looked at the finished product. After a month off, I think that's incredible. The four of you that clicked me...you're amazing. You're the reason this blog is going up on time.
I just wanted to talk about word count and how to make it less of a crazy experience.
So, a novel is 60,000 words. According to NaNoWriMo, it's 50,000. But most publishers benchmark 60k, and so do most genres so that's what we're going to go with here. When you really start building steam, 50k is nothing, I promise.
Anyway, I want to take a moment to talk about the best way to break 60k words down into writable chunks.
Break it into Chunks
Break it into pieces!
A lot of people I know have read Stephen King's "On Writing" and try to shoot for 2k a day. That's great. It's admirable. Do that if you can.
Not everyone can. I know a girl that's having a good day when she gets 100 words in a day, and you know what? If you're writing 100 words a day, you'll have a novel in under two years. That's okay. Consistency is important. The real important thing is that you have a nightly goal.
Focus on that chunk goal instead of on the big picture. The big picture looks impossible. The pieces are totally doable.
Don't Look Back
Keep writing. Even if you think what you're writing is garbage, keep writing. You are going to make that word count your bitch, everything else is fine. That's what editing is for. Yes, your first draft is going to be absolute shit. Accept it, embrace it. Write anyway.
Backtracking is going to cost you words, and sometimes it's going to cost you a lot of them, so especially if this is your first time around? Move forward.
Know Your Scene Goals
Okay. Listen. If you're writing you are probably writing a scene. If you don't know how to break your work into scenes, allow me to suggest you check out Make a Scene by Jordan E. Rosenfeld. This book actually changed the way I look at literature and honestly I might do a blog entry about this at some point but this is about word count so tonight is not that night!
Basically, every scene should have a goal and a conflict. If you know where you're going, you get more done. This can come from outlining, sure, but even if you're pantsing, when you sit down to write a new scene stop and consider where you're going and how you plan to stop your protagonist from managing.
What do they want? What does their opposition want? How does the scene end?
When you know that, the words just flow. Don't dam yourself off with indecisiveness.
So there you have it. Three simple tricks to more bang for your buck. More content for your time. More lit for your...I can't think of a good word for that one, but you get what I mean. Go forth and kick your book's butt, my dears.
Megan R. Miller
PS. Torchlighers. Demons. The general feel of the 1920's. Family and fire. Sounds cool, right? Keep an eye out it'll be coming out in 2019 and when it does you will be the very first to hear about it.