cauterized word count (blog post)

February 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm 4 comments

Maybe writing isn’t for me, I almost titled this “catheterized word count.” That is an image that I wasn’t intending to give you.
I am still working on my novel, and I thought it was going fairly well. Although, I am having issues with the main character, she seems to be lacking a true personality. My biggest problem though? The word count.
I have been writing the story long hand. Yes, weird in this age of technology, but for me it helps the ideas flow. Possibly because it moves slower, therefore I am able to create the scenes and characters as I move across the page, instead of getting to the end of typing a sentence and have no idea what’s to happen next. Obviously I am not an outliner.

image courtesy of

I felt that I was far along in my so-called novel, so I began typing it out. Boy was I shocked when I came to 18,000 words when I thought I was at least 3/4 of the way to the end. The novel I am working on needs to contain 90,000 words. Yes, 90,000 words!!! Yikes!
I really am in a sort of freak-out stage. I only have a few more scenes and I feel that my WIP (work in progress) will have run its course. I am sorely disappointed. saddened. Grieving. Angry. Wishing it were different. I WANT to write a novel. I thought I could do it. Now I am left wondering, contemplating this piece as a whole, ruminating over what holes I haven’t filled.
Is there hope? How do I do it? I am constantly reading about the craft of writing. Probably a ratio of 10:1 (reading about it: actual time spent writing). Sure, I have seen mentions of outlines, character profiles, ideas to get the creativity flowing. But what about creating a sheer behemoth of a book? So many writers accomplish the task. But how? I thought my idea was big, but now I’m finding it’s infinitesimally small.
In addition, how can a woman not accomplish the feat of coming up with 90,000 words when she uses thousands of them each day?
If you wrote, or are writing a novel, was it easy for you to come up with the 90,000+ words it takes to create your work?


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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jennifer L. Oliver  |  February 27, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    I am in the progress of writing a novel. The word goal is 85K – 90K. I’m a little over 27K and was just thinking that I hoped I had enough to make it to the goal. I decided that I would just write what I have in my head and see where I ended up. If I’m not quite at the mark, then I’ll have to find areas that I can expand on and things to add.

    I do is write an overall summary of what my book is going to be about. Then I break that down to parts – Beginning, Middle, End – and write a little summary of each and then break that down into what I want to happen in the chapters. Its more of a plotting map I think. Just some basic guideline of my notes and ideas on how to get from point A to point Z but its never set in stone. Mostly ideas of how I think things will go. Its helped me a lot in writing the scenes and finding more ways to challenge my main character.

    As for characterization, make sure your scenes are “showing not telling.” Put yourself in your main characters shoes and think – how would you react to the situation? What is your body language? Your thoughts? Your feelings? Then write all that down. Not only will it help you make your character more believable and personable – it will add words to your scenes. 🙂

    • 2. WordsfromTracy  |  February 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm

      Thank you for sharing Jennifer. I will definitely keep your tips in mind. 🙂

  • 3. Brenda Evers  |  February 27, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    You are going through the same struggles as I am. WHen I write, I write in spurts of many pages. Then I don’t write for a while.
    I just came across a great quote that might help us both:
    “you don’t have to be great,
    You don’t have to be bad,
    You just have to be consistent,
    and stable, reliable and just a tad bit
    of unforgettable.”
    Don’t know who said it, or where. It was just in my handwriting on an index card in my writing portfolio (nice word for slush file of notes).
    Keep writing.

    • 4. WordsfromTracy  |  February 27, 2012 at 4:41 pm

      Well Brenda, maybe this is something we should talk about in our writing group… I appreciate the quote, and it’s always nice to know I am not the only one struggling. A friend did send me in a new direction that might help my WIP, she asked if there were any sub plots I could go after. There are some possibilities now. I do feel that the fear of doing it badly, as it says in your quote, is what keeps me from exploring more options.


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