1. RWK

    RWK Member

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    Pacing and word count

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by RWK, Jun 20, 2017.

    So my current project is sitting at 60k words; I try to keep my novels around the 100k mark, but it isn't hard and fast; I won't go below 80k though.

    The current problem is the words are building up faster than the plot is running out. I had initially thought of a trilogy covering three story arcs, and now I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to keep the word count in the park.

    How do you balance demands of the plot against the word count? Do you even care? Thoughts?
     
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I don't think I care - I write the length the plot needs, without worrying too much about how long the story ends up. I've written everything from short stories to 150K novels that are part of a series... the plot dictates how long the story should be.
     
  3. Dracon

    Dracon Contributor Contributor

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    Advice from someone writing their first novel(so calling it "advice" may be questionable!): just write it out first, and then consider, rather than fretting about it now. It could be 100k. Could be 120k. 150k. Who knows? Nobody, until you've written it. Write it all out in its full form, and then read through the novel again. You can cherry-pick what is working and what isn't.

    Less effective would be to get to the end, realise that some part isn't working, and then your 100k novel is now 80k, and you have to add more anyway. What is more hazardous is to scale back, which could lead to a well-paced novel having an abrupt and unsatisfying ending/final act because the writer was coming up to the word count. That would be ruinous. To keep the pacing, it'd be best to prune the word count from many different places.
     
  4. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I don't usually worry much about word count when writing, especially not about the book or story being too long. There's so much that has to get excised during the editing process for me, I can be reasonably sure up front that I'll be able to pare the MS down to publisher requirements.
     
  5. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    Yeah, screw word count for the first draft and deal with later. Like they say in Hollywood, "We'll fix it in post."
     
  6. RWK

    RWK Member

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    Interesting responses.

    I stick with the 100k target because that seems to sell best for me. I don't fret about it, but I do keep an eye on word count; 1500 a day is my target.

    It is always good to hear how others look at it. Thanks!
     
  7. JPClyde

    JPClyde Senior Member

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    I don't generally have good advice for a word limit because I write ensemble cast. And keep my word count close to what I feel other books like Game of Thrones or other books with ensemble cast keep to.

    But I generally have the same mentality of simply writing until I feel the plot is all finished up with a bow.
     

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