Writing Ramble #1 How not to become obsessed with word count
This is the first in a series of short whippersnapper posts where I put down my thoughts on the career I started in March 2016. To be an indie author. And they definitely will be a ramble, where I will talk about what I’ve learned, what are good ideas when it comes to writing, and my opinions on what I see as the good or bad things in other books, and the indie author world in general. So yeah, a ramble. I’m not yet a best selling author (but things are going pretty well), so don’t take these words as gospel, but hopefully you’ll pick up some handy titbits.
First up is obsession with word counts.
Something that happens when you first start out as an indie author is you obsess over word count. I did this, and I think a lot of people do, and the reason for this is because words equal pages, which equal you getting your book done, which equals money when the book sells or pages are read.
Eventually though I realized I was looking at this the wrong way around. What actually matters is scenes in your book. If you focus on words and word count, then it’s a bit like trying to build a house by counting each brick you use, when instead you should be thinking about how you want the rooms to be, or better still how do you see yourself in the house?
Words come from scenes. If you do it the other way around, scenes from words then writing is a lot more work than it needs to be. So you need to think about what are the events that will take place, and then you just write those events as your scenes. The problem I always found though, was that it was hard for me to think of what the scene should be until I wrote the scene. (classic pantser approach). But part of the solution for me was to realize that everything is a connection. So whatever your last scene was, and whatever your story was up to that point, your next scene will be related to it. You just continue the flow, but do it an interesting way.
Obviously you need interesting scenes, and they come from your characters doing or saying interesting things. And that usually comes from conflict. Writing the build up to that, and then resolving the conflict can be written over a number of scenes. And you can have smaller conflicts within larger ones.
You’ll be surprised how many words you get down on the page, once you stop thinking about word count and concentrate on scenes.