Monday, December 8, 2014

Post NaNoWriMo

It's been more than a week since National Novel Writing Month ended. So what have I been doing in the meantime? 


I've been at the keyboard everyday since completing NaNoWriMo. While not writing at the same pace (1,674 words a day), I'm still making progress on my work-in-progress. I'm at the 55k mark -- producing about 750 words a day. 

I was recently asked by a friend how many more words until the manuscript is finished. I told her I didn't have a clue. I won't know until the story reaches the end. My characters will tell me. 

I've previously mentioned in this blog that it will probably be in the 80k range.  My previous adult novels have been as few as 75k words (The Touch) to as many as 101k (Foolish Is The Heart).

My subjective and totally unscientific view is that most readers prefer novels to be about 85k, give or take 10k. I base most of that on my preferences. Time is important to me and I'd rather invest time reading two or more books rather than one long one (I'm referring to the 150k-plus opuses).

Of course there are exceptions to this (for me, it's biographies) but I generally find that longer works are somewhat inflated and don't hold my attention, for the most part, from beginning to end. 

Some publishers and self-published authors suggest breaking up long works into serials. That's a great marketing ploy if you can satisfy readers and keep them coming back for more.

One of novelist Elmore Leonard's rules of writing was to leave out the parts that people skip. He was a master at pace and keeping the story moving along and holding the reader's interest. James Patterson is another author who doesn't waste words. 

I try to keep that in mind when I'm writing, and especially during the rewrite and edit phase. And that's also something I do when reading. If it's not pertinent to the story, then I speed through it. I sometimes believe writers are trying to satisfy themselves rather than readers when their works become wordy. 

I'll let you know once I reach the end of the manuscript. It may take days, weeks, perhaps even months (I certainly hope not) to finish. I'll continue pounding away at the computer each day -- one word at a time until the story is finished.

Until the next time...


  1. haha I love your articles sir. Greetings from Kenya!

    1. Thanks, Owen. I enjoy your blog as well. Have a wonderful day, and greetings from Kentucky!