Monday, December 27, 2010

Hope you are all well, and a light post today since I know a lot of you are still gone

Thanks again to everyone for entering my giveaway during the Week of Awesomeness! Don't forget that Matt and Marie still have contests closing this week, on the 29th, too!

Happy-middle-of-the-Holidays, everyone! One down, one to go. I hope you are all well and safe and warm and cozy.

I've discovered that I seem to have an opposite problem from most writers. I hear a lot-- A LOT-- of writers lament about writing first drafts that are too long, and having to cut scenes and chapters that they love in order to squeeze into word count guidelines for their genre. Whereas I, alas, I, can't ever seem to write enough. My first drafts are short, yo. I usually allow for adding 10-20K in re-writes/ editing, but most of my drafts fall way under fiction guidelines at about 60K when I'm done.

Except for the last manuscript I completed, which clocked in at a resounding 43K, which was so depressing I decided instead of editing it and adding 30K words, I would just write a whole other book instead.

That MS is looking up, and appears to be right on track for around 70K to finish the first draft, plus another 10 or so with edits, so maybe I'm making up for the 43K one?

This has been puzzling me for a while. I feel like I'm a relatively thorough writer, but I just don't need that much space to tell my stories, I guess? Or maybe there are just avenues of the story I haven't explored? I'm not sure what the cause is, but I will say that while most of you are struggling to cut things, I'm often struggling to add them. I envy the writer that can draft their genre's average the first time and neither need to add nor cut several thousand words in edits.

Which "problem" do you have? Or are you that perfect word count achiever? Don't be afraid to speak up if you are, I will only envy you. :)


dolorah said...

a little of both, depending on the genre. I can't seem to write a flash fiction in less than 1500 words the first time through, but struggle for that three thousand mark in short stories. And with my women's fiction trilogy, the first was way over and had to be cut down A Lot, the second novel is still struggling to get past 50k.

I never hit it quite right either. But I don't mind the editing process, so I guess it doesn't matter. Getting the original idea down is the most important step.


Matthew Delman said...

I always try to write the most depth into my scenes that I can. Whether that's emotion, action, description, or what have you -- and then I ask myself whether it adds anything to the story.

As to word count, I've fluctuated a lot. The short that was published in Fissure came in above the word count gap a few times, and I took the red pen to it in order to cut a few things that I thought added depth. With my two novels, I tend to write as much as I feel tells the story effectively. For SoM, that was 21 chapters and I think about 80,000 words; for the one finished draft of CaN, that was 30 chapters and about 100,000 words (I think, but I could be misremembering).

I tend to ignore word count guidelines with the first draft anyway; I figure I can always add/delete things later anyway.