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  • Writer's pictureCheyanne Lepka

Word Count Woes

So, this post is gonna serve two functions. First, an update on Camp NaNoWriMo. For those of you who remember my goal was to finish this rewrite by the end of the month (I tentatively set the goal at 50,000 words). And well, yeah. That went to shit.

In July I wrote somewhere around 55,000 words. So I guess I nailed that part of the goal (which I’m actually quite proud of, considering the wreck that is my personal life right now.)

But I’m still several thousand words off from the end. And I’m way over my planned word count of 130,000. If I’m being honest with myself, I could see the final product coming in somewhere around 145k-150k.

To say I’m stressed about this is massively understating how I feel.

But I’m trying not to focus on that, for a few reasons:

  1. I’m still rewriting and I don’t want to rush my end.

  2. I’m still rewriting. And by that I mean that the primary goal of this rewrite was never to cut words. It was sort of a secondary goal, but mostly I was focused on tightening up and deleting unnecessary scenes (you know, same but different).

  3. I’m actually not at the stage where I intended to do most of the cutting in terms of word count. There’s still about 3/4 of the book that I’m going to have to really go through again.

  4. My book is still a long way off from done.

You may see a theme emerging here:

The book is not done yet.

And this is where I get mildly salty. Because every time I post about my word counts, I get some well-meaning person commenting and telling me my book is too long. I usually ignore it, but the closer I get to querying the more panicked I get. It’s like I have a bruise there and someone keeps poking it.

I'm getting close to screaming “I KNOW!” and telling them to mind their own book. I understand why it needs to be shorter. I don’t like it. But I understand why. And truth be told, I want my book to be as trim as it can be. But there’s this little voice in my head that’s starting to say what if it gets as trim as it can be and it’s still over 120k? What if it’s just too long?

And I know rationally that 120k isn’t that much (I prefer reading books that are 150k plus), but I also know that finding an agent and getting a published as an unknown author is gonna be tough, and my word count is not going to make it any easier.

But moving back to my original point. The book isn’t done yet. And I will cross the bridge of whether or not it’s too long when I get there. For now, I’m just going to accept that I write long books. I love long books, I love putting in complicated plots and subplots and world-building. And I know that there are readers who love reading that as well cause I’m one of them.

So, yeah. That’s where I’m at. And here's a handy list of where I'm heading next:

  • finish this rewrite (cause, you know, I gotta do that still!)

  • read from start to finish and rework as necessary

  • send to CPs

  • rework based on CPs' feedback

  • betas!

  • rework after beta feedback

  • final edit

  • query

And any of these steps may be repeated as necessary.

To all my writing friends! Where are you at with your WIP? Are you having a similar problem? Let me know! :)

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