Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Other WIP

By that I mean “Writer in Progress.” See, becoming an interesting, readable writer doesn’t just happen when you sit in front of the keyboard. If that were true, then all those doofuses who say “Oh, sure, I can write a novel no problem” would actually be doing it.

When I first sat down and wrote a novel, I had no idea what I was doing. No…frigging…clue. My final word count was something like 140K—ridiculous, right? I think so now, but back then, I thought it was the normal length for a book. Seriously, I did (pity the younger me). Editing it was a cinch, another warning sign.

Now, editing takes longer than writing the actual book. For my last book, the total word count of the stuff I cut out was longer than the novel. And that doesn’t count minor word replacements. And I’m still not done editing it, even while I write another book!

I’ve come a long way. As have you, I’m sure.

What have you learned as a writer over the years? Any amusing “then and now” stories?


  1. One of the more humorous lessons is this:

    There needs to be a reason for everything that happens in my novel

    Why and what do I mean by that? If I say something or have a character do something for convenience to plot--someone is going to call me on it.

    Everything needs to flow logically from one thing to another even when trying to avoid cliches!

    Yeah, I was queen of convenient plot twists.

  2. Um, yeah...a lot of my novels are still 140k. Have yet to edit.. LOL. I actually cut 40k+ off one of them in the last 6 months or so. Phew.

  3. OK, first off, I'm jealous of all those people who come out of the first draft with 140k words!!! I was hoping to hit 60K and came 3,000 words under. Pft...

    I think the biggest thing I've learned as a writer is that I need to focus on my own process and find what works for me. Part of the reason I "gave up" so many times is because I was comparing my process to others' and saying: "How come I can't work like that???" Also, I had to learn to forgive myself. If I miss a day of writing, well, tomorrow's another day and the important thing is that I do get back at it.

  4. I'm with first drafts are lucky to hit 70K words.

    As for what I've learned, well, I'm still learning. I still have no idea what I'm doing. But I'm still plugging away at it.

  5. I've yet to do a word count, but I'm coming up to a likely total of 28 chapters.


Please validate me.