Counting words

I tried to write Book 3 as one document, simply because combining the chapters for the other two books had seemed huge tasks at the time (it really hadn’t been, maybe it had been the last straw at the end of a long process).

But around about the 20k word mark of Book 3, the document was becoming unmanageable and doing my head in so I split it into chapter documents, which was like a weight being lifted off my shoulders. But having the manuscript in separate documents forced me to stop counting words, and since then I’ve had the feeling I’ve been deleting more than I’ve been writing. But I just added up all the word counts from the ten chapters I’ve finished so far and have written 31,907 words which I’m super chuffed about. I’ve also solved a lot of plot issues that were slowing me down and have been hammering the words down for the last few days.

Another thing that had slowed me when I started the new book was that I had spent so long prior to that editing the other two, I was out of the way of writing with no thought for grammar, sentence structure or length etc. There are some writers who can ‘get it right first time’ but I’m not one of them. If I get bogged down into trying to write well, I can get stuck on one sentence for an hour and forget what the purpose of a scene was. I’m back into a ‘writing with wild abandon’ frame of mind, which is a lot more fun than the torture of editing. This is my favourite bit of the process, the part I’ve enjoyed about each book. The scene is set, the characters have sprung to life, I know roughly where the story is going, and I’m enjoying finding out what is going to happen.

Both my other books are 78k words (within a couple of hundred words of one another) so I’m aiming for 90k words of a first draft for this book, so I can slash and burn them at the end. Unless this story turns out to be a bit longer, who knows?!

This means I’m a third of the way through the first draft, and with a huge amount of effort, and since I now know where I’m going with the plot and have a strong grasp on all my characters, I think cautiously I might finish first draft by the end of January 2018.

Famous last words.

Some other word counts, just for fun:


The big guns:


Recent self-published novels (Reedsy is an online marketplace for Indie Authors to find professionals and is how I sourced my editor and cover designer (

The genius of JK Rowling: my son read all of these when he was only 8 – how can you write so well to keep the attention of an 8-year old boy for 257,045 words! Amazing. 6ed74875f2cb2e379343c7f1f1b67d5d--famous-books-write-a-book

4 thoughts on “Counting words

  1. People just don’t realise how much work goes into producing the finished article! Lol
    When I write, I basically just put down whatever comes into my head every day in ‘notes’ on my iPhone or iPad and every Monday email them so I can get onto my laptop. I copy and paste each chunk into a master word file and end up with 100k words of disparate bits in no order….. A total nightmare and huge task then to arrange it all into a current piece of work.
    Like you I am attempting to write this time in a structured fashion; start at the beginning and work forward. Problem is I am finding it too rigid and stifling my creativity (God, I’m getting carried away by my sensitive artist side😎)
    So, I have decided to go back to the freeflowing, unrestricted method- it has worked before so why change now? Really don’t want writing to feel like work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel a little ill at the thought of having 100k words of disparate bits {terrified face}, I don’t think my brain could cope! I just have a rough plan, which I slowly break down into chapters as I go, planning a few chapters ahead of where I am. Plus I have freestyle overall plot descriptions which I mostly never use, I just find writing down my train of thought somehow helps to organise my ideas. And I have a character document with all their info and back story (often forget to keep this updated which is a nightmare!)


  2. I have invested in a whiteboard to capture ideas, minor characters and how they are all connected. It is definitely a help because it saves trawling through those 100k words to remind myself who someone’s mother is called-😮

    Liked by 1 person

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