1. Cerrus
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    Cerrus Senior Member

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    How many words?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Cerrus, Mar 28, 2011.

    Hello all. I would like to thank all of you who replied to my thread 'Getting through a chapter' because you all helped me a lot. I've actually started writing now. Hooray! But I was wondering how many words you guys usually write in one day? Because I've just started and I've done about 594 words in an hour and a half. Is this good, bad? How many do you do?
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Just about the same as you. Usually around 500-600 words :p
     
  3. bumblebot
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    bumblebot Senior Member

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    Bad days, I do a couple sentences. Good days, a couple thousand words. When I'm on fire, 5k to 10k.

    Try not to put too much stock in how you compare to other people as far as word count. You are writing, and most people don't even get that far.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is a good amount I know published writers that do less in an hour- mine varies on brain power, kids noise levels, stage of book etc.

    When i am working with internet on and distractions I write about 1200 - without 2850 words is possible in an hour when I am in the middle of a first draft. When i am just starting out it is less, and I find I struggle at about 25-30K words that tends to go slower than the rest of the novel. 2-3 hours writing gives me about 5-7K words.
     
  5. zaffy
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    zaffy Contributing Member

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    Quality not quantity, surely.
     
  6. bumblebot
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    bumblebot Senior Member

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    In a first draft, don't you think it's better to get everything out, without censorship, then later decide what can stay and what should go? This is a common strategy, it seems.
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends on how you approach your drafts surely ? Some people put thought into each word, sentence and punctuation mark on the way through - naturally they place quality before quantity.

    For me on a first draft quanity trumps quality - once I have that draft then quality becomes more important but then later drafts go quicker because I have already written the story.

    Ultimately it is the quality of the completed manuscript that trumps all else. Every writer gets there at their own speed in their own manner.
     
  8. Louis Farizee
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    Louis Farizee Member

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    How many words are in a paragraph? How many words are in a sentence? Keep writing until the chapter is done, and then move on to a new chapter.

    Tip: try to make each chapter a single thought, topic, or scene.

    Alternately, you can go the Dan Brown route and have every other page be a new chapter :confused:
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    my best advice is to not even count at all!

    just concentrate on quality, not quantity... writing fast isn't a good thing unless you can write both fast and brilliantly... and very few writers can do that...

    writing isn't a contest to see who can write fastest... speed only comes into play if you're on a deadline for a contracted piece of work...
     
  10. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can usually write about 2000 words in an hour if I'm on a roll. I've noticed the first 15 minutes are the hardest, then it goes faster when you're into it. I agree that quantity beats quality for a first draft. I just recently discovered write or die online, which forces you to write fast. I decided what scene to write, and wrote it as fast as I could in the span of an hour. Then spent 30 min cleaning it up in open office, and it turned out surprisingly good. I think I'll be doing that from now on.
     
  11. alexwebb
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    alexwebb Member

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    Interesting thread. For me, quality is all powerful. I've spent too long editing things that got away from me in the past. But I am a copywriter by trade, and I can sometimes spend hours crafting a paragraph. Maybe I've let that effect my novel attempts. I hardly ever do more than 500 words in an hour. It never needs much editing though!
     
  12. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I can't understand those who say quantity trumps quality. Sure, you can charge through your first draft, but why? You wind up with a pile of crap. You then have to rewrite crap, and that's depressing.

    On the other hand, if you write well in your first draft, doing a good job with every sentence, then revision is exciting. You see how good you were the first time around. You fix errors and enhance things that inspire you.
     
  13. Bay K.
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    Bay K. Contributing Member

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    Bin...
     
  14. Bay K.
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    Bay K. Contributing Member

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    ...go!
     
  15. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whatever works for you, the final product is the most important thing, everyone has their own way of getting there - if you are completing great works you are pleased with, and ready to send to publishers and agents or doing whatever else you want to do with them then that is great. If you are not achieving what you want from your writing then maybe it is time to look at your way of working. For me a quick first draft works well.

    When it only takes 60 days to write, rewrite and edit a novel it isn't depressing it is fun and exciting. I hardly ever look at the first draft. In space of a year I have ended up with three novels completed to various drafts stages and a novella (plus some short stories) - also have two new ones one to about 10K and the other to around 25K they are ready for when I get the others finished. They are not really a pile of crap and I was slower this year wasted a lot of time getting into my own pattern of working.

    I'd need to rewrite it anyway so what is the point ? I never have the story the right way round the first time - I may want to put Merlin in chapter two instead of chapter four, maybe decide my character needs a dog so he isn't lonely much easier to type it in a new story, I usually take out loads of characters, add new ones.

    Personally I think caring too much impacts on the quality of the finished product, it is much easier to tweak on something that took me ten minutes than something that took me an hour. Could you really delete 30K when you had lovingly thought about every word? Or would your patch the story instead ? or maybe just not include the brilliant new idea ? Or would you just make the falcon white instead of fitting it into its enviroment? For me the story quality is as vital as that of the writing and for me a barreled through first draft makes for a better quality final story - there will in the first draft be moments of absolute perfection because of the lack of thought that cannot be redone and will just be copy pasted and edited. As my writing becomes more practised I can now go whole pages without needing to change much.

    If I cared about my first draft I would not be able to produce a completed novel in sixty days and the final product would not be as seamless. Although whilst i say my first draft is rubbish that is in comparison to my final draft - my punctuation is improving, the scenes are fun, characters are not bad and story well developed. It just isn't perfect - I could probably just edit and produce an OK book. I want more from my work than that - I am a storyteller over and above a writer and the story needs to be perfect before I care about the writing.

    While I don't overly care about being published - I have discovered a passion and I am ambitious. Like with my archaeology getting paid was a bonus but it was not why I did the job. I never see the point in choosing something you are not wiling to work to make happen. Fact is writing this way I can produce around four completed novels a year (75K-95K in length)- I have a fantasy series (with the potential for four series of books within it - two young adult and two more grown up), a parnormal chilled out easy going detective thing and a more edgy detective thing, all can give me more than one book. This gives me a better chance of making some level of money out of the books if I get all three published, I can produce one book from each a year plus a general story.

    So remind me what for me is the downside of this way of working? I can think of plenty of downsides for me of writing more carefully - my final product would be lousy in comparison.
     
  16. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd like to second what Elgaisma said, but also add that most people's biggest problem is that they never get around to finishing something at all. I finish novels often, and I'm more encouraged to go through them and edit as I'm already done. And, not to sound cocky or anything, but I think I write pretty well even when I speed write (I knew something good would come out of postponing all of my assignments until the last minute in school). It's more that I don't add stuff that's not important right at that time, such as descriptions.
     
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  17. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't edit as I go along, but I still try to make my first draft as good as I can.

    I think it saves so much time. I don't see a point in writing something that's not looked at afterwards.

    Of course there is a hell of a lot of re-writing later, that's normal.
     
  18. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree - I think there is a difference between not caring about it and not putting an effort in. The effort I put into my first draft will make the next draft easier - I will have good interactions, fun story, some description, idea of dialogue etc to build upon. Except for my first, first draft they are mostly readable.
     

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