Writing Resources

Word Counting

I’ve been following Dean Wesley Smith’s blog for quite a while now and he always has loads of useful advice. One point that he discusses often is writing regularly and producing word count. This is not new advice, of course, but I’ve been enjoying how he has been presenting it, along with loads of other useful information. His advice and my daily production of wordage are both good motivation.

Unfortunate April has been my worst month so far with only around 35000 words. Several excuses (sick kids) abound. And it would be worse too except I’ve cut myself a bit of slack in regards to how I calculate word count. I used to only count ‘new words’ but I’ve learned over the last few months that I have a particular writing cycle that works well with me and that is:

1. I write a crude rough draft. This is Not Publishable Stuff. (I count full wordage here)
2. I write a second draft, this is a complete rewrite from scratch using the first draft as an outline. Generally with a little moderate revision my second draft is ready to be sent out to markets. (I count half wordage here, so if I write 5000 words, I count 2500).
3. In the rare case that I have to do a third rewrite, I will count wordage at 1/4 rate but any further drafts after that, nada
4. Any tweaking of the text does not count for any wordage — it has to be a full rewrite to count

So in April not only did I have sick kids to deal with but I was busy planning the next draft of the ‘Ice Onion’ novel (which doesn’t count as wordage), planning the next novel (doesn’t count) and rewriting several stories to send to market (doesn’t count as full wordage). So I was still plenty busy.

Next month will probably be more of the same. I want to finish up another story for an upcoming anthology with a deadlines and then it will be back to writing the second draft of the novel (which will only count as half wordage). I’m suspecting I won’t have as kickass a month as February or March for quite a while, probably not until I start writing the second novel.

Former lead designer at BioWare (Dragon Age: Origins, Neverwinter Nights). Creator of Raiders of the Serpent Sea.

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