Word Count - hitting your mark

There's an interesting post up by Jodi Cleghorn about working to a word count, and how that can be used as a writing tool.

I think it helps to develop discipline. Whether you start out thinking, "I need 60K of rough draft that I can polish up to 80K" or "I need 100K of rough draft that I can cut down to 80K", knowing what you want to do is important.

All of the jokes from the agents about 700K first novels should tell us something about discipline and restraint in writing.


  1. Hmmm. I got a HTTP 500 error trying to get there...

    Does this mean I have to write at least 500 words before I can read it?

  2. That's quite funny D Paul! I certainly didn't intend for you have to hit any sort of word limit to get to the article.

    Here is the link again http://writeanything.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/counting-the-words/

    While I say it is something we think least of - if we're wanting to submit flash fiction it is pointless to write 2000 words and then wonder why we can't get it down to 500 words. We really should be mindful when we start to write.

    Holding myself to a word limit via Fourth Fiction has made the other bits I've written as part of Fiction Friday/Flash Fiction shorter for some reason.

  3. Jodi: Someone (Elmore Leonard?) said to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip. Maybe you've internalized the lesson?

  4. Perhaps Tony? And on that very topic - I should take more notice on the things I skip over in books.

    Those that spring to me are poetry (Lord of the Rings) huge swaths of descriptive narraitive (re-reading a Clive Cussler favourite and getting pissed with all the facial discriptions!!!)

    I always struggle with descriptive narrative - maybe I've just give up and leave it to the reader to decide what things look like unless I want to make an actual point and use the descriptions in a weird sort of way - of show not tell.


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