at 20,000 words in

THE book broke the 20,000 word summit yesterday.

(I am that anal. I confess: I keep track of wordcount. I have a spreadsheet. And a graph.)

After many years of working on my books, I have learned that this is a critical point for me in a novel.

On book one (OR NOT TO BE), almost seven years ago, that was the point where I knew I should finish.

On book two (SCHOOL DAYS), that was the point when I knew I should stop.

On book three (possibly called SLUDGE), that was the point that the characters took over and I just had to follow along.

And now, on book four (which I am thinking of as ‘book three’ since ‘book two’ got canned–and it’s yet UNTITLED), I am at the point of exquisite anticipation because I know so much more now. I know what will happen and I am certain the characters can take me there. I know how I want it to sound–I have found the voice, where in the other books the voice was developing. I know who my audience will be and I know why I am writing this one.

I’ve read posts by authors who published their third or fourth book first, and then went back to edit their earlier ones, and now I understand why. That’s about when a novelist truly hits her stride. I am striding, I’ll tell you. I can write this book in the morning without coffee. I can develop a chapter in the middle of the night. I can develop the characters on a five mile walk. I can write and polish late at night, tired after working all day. It is just coming out of me.

That’s why I write: because I simply cannot NOT write.


6 thoughts on “at 20,000 words in

  1. Don’t be bashful about the spreadsheet and the graphs. You are not alone in wanting to keep your word count under close scrutiny. I do the same thing, don’t always do graphs, but daily word counts and stats help push me on to write more.

    Congrats on busting the 20k mark. Happy writing 🙂

    1. Hi Pete, thanks for reading. Nice to know other writers use the old wordcount ruler to measure the day’s effort.
      I took a hop over to your blog and enjoyed last year’s pic of snow in the U.K. It looks the same on the street in the U.S. so I’d say you are not missing anything by staying home and writing the day away.

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