Word-count Expectations

What do you owe your massive word counts to?

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There are those legendary days when the words gush out of you like a healthy river. Ever wondered how the current gains it’s velocity?

I don’t know how it is for you, but I’ve pinpointed the glaciers that feed my river.


Planning

I used to be one of those on spec writers. Planning was something I absolutely abhorred. They took away from the fun of unraveling the story as I went. I’d be tied down to sticking to a set of rules and fixed incidents. No plot twists to surprise me around the corner. No this, no that… Basically, it just felt like being caged. Especially because I was writing things that were less than 1000 words, and I didn’t need to note down what I wanted to write before I got to writing it. Those were allowed to have first draft mistakes, and all first drafts are shitty, and I wasn’t used to getting time to fix it up anyway.

But now that I’ve committed to writing bigger stories with more than just one emotion/scene to portray, I’ve realized and jotting down the plot points helps me picture the scene faster, thereby get the words out faster and with more clarity. I don’t have to waste time wondering whether it would be in character or our of character for my MC to say a particular thing, or if it was terribly unimportant to include her cell-phone beeping.

Of course, I still write what I feel like, but it’s a lot more organized, and doesn’t have to look first-draft shitty when it goes out into the world.

Lots of exposure to opinions

I used to be under the impression that if I talked to somewhat about the plot of a story I wanted to write I would no longer want to write it.

Whew, that was a long one.

Anyway, I was afraid to talk about it. Maybe they’d think I was too presumptuous, or come on, that’s something to write about? I’ve had the chance to re-evaluate since. Hearing what people think of a certain situation can help a lot, because sometimes I get so lost in thinking in my writer’s hat that I forget what it’s like to be a reader. Even when I don’t have plans to show a story to people, at least I know not to assume everyone knows what’s going on.

Character sketch

Before, I’d build a character’s past as I went along. Okay, maybe not completely. But I usually just had a minor portion of the character figured out, and try to get in their boots as I wrote along. I’d build their characters and backstories as the draft progressed, with no idea of where anything was headed. This ties in with the first point a lot.

I’m not saying writing in those days was any less fun, but now that I’ve given it a try, having all the characters and their back stories figured out before I start on the big task, it definitely get’s more words out.

Reading

I put this in last, but it’s definitely not the least. It’s the most important part of being a writer.

My brother looked at me incredulously one day when I told him I wanted to write a horror novel. Everyone knows I’m a douche. I cannot watch a horror movie and not get paranoid, so I never made an effort to explore the genre beyond the few Hollywood movies the watched when I was a kid. This is what he said:

You can’t output something you don’t input the ingredients for.

Granted I’ve read some stuff on r/nosleep since. Pretty creepy stuff too. Can’t say I can write horror now, but what he said really stuck with me.

As a writer, the only way to make quality content is to see how others make it. Much like a baby learns to talk by listening to people talk, a writer learns to write by reading others’ writing. Eventually, it helps us achieve that constant flow, and if we have a flow, we have bliss.


Of course, there are still days when I can barely get any words written at all. Those are the bad days, when I have to sit and ponder what I want to write, and sometimes it feels like there’s fog in front of my imagination, and I can’t see anything.

But those days eventually pass, and I have my fair share of good days as well.

What helps you get words on paper? Do any of the above resonate with you?

Author: anankhan98

When I close my eyes, I see myself as a writer. I see a pale blank page in front of me and feel a solid pen in my hand. I feel inspiration flowing through me, hear the words being whispered in my ears, ready to be written. And I see myself writing them. So, I write. And that is why I am here right now. To let the world know that I want to become better at this. That there is this unbelievably naive living in this corner of the world, who wants to have people help her become the best she can become. My focus is actually on fiction. I dream up stories in my sleep, literally. And I can't help but want to write them. Knowing English only as a second language is a drawback, though. I still try.

5 thoughts on “Word-count Expectations”

  1. My posts are not amazing stories like yours, but I plan them out using a spider diagram, adding points and deciding an order before writing. I cross off points as I have made them and make sure I write links in the plan so that elements that fit together end up in the same paragraph. I agree with needing to read in order to write, in the same way that as a teacher I needed a life outside of school to feed my lessons.

    Liked by 1 person

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