ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Write a Novel in Six Months: Week 10 Drafting Update

Updated on September 22, 2008

I'm happy to report this week went very well. As is to be expected, there were new adjustments to the process this week, but overall I'm sticking to the plan. I finished up page 50 last night so that puts me right on track to complete 400 pages by Christmas! What a gift. The main idea I wanted to stress this week is word count, or page count, because it caused me quite a lot of anxiety. I think I've finally got it figured out!

Photo: nuanc,Flickr
Photo: nuanc,Flickr

Word Count vs. Page Count

I've written before that I know from researching the type of book I wanted to write that the standard length for these is 100,000 words or 400 pages. The average manuscript page, they said, contained 250 words. Based on that I made my plan. However, once I started writing, no matter how I messed with the font, the margins, the spacing, I couldn't get my pages to yield 250 words. I started to panic. I became obsessed with getting the right number of words on the page. What if I got to the end of my draft of 400 pages and it was only 80,000 words? I was freaking out. I searched for an answer.

What I learned was that first of all, the page count is more important than the word count. It is the number of pages after all that determine the printing costs, the number of books that fit in a crate and on the book store shelf. (It's a business, remember?) So why the quote of 100,000 words. Well, it turns out that's just an approximation derived from the old formula of 250 words per page that was common with typewritten fonts. This benchmark was created long before the word count feature in my word processing program.

Why don't they just make life easier and quote the number of pages? I don't know. What I do know is that it's perfectly okay to vary a great deal in the number of words as long as your page count is on target. In fact, if you're using a computer generated word count, you're supposed to disclose this. Making my living by writing online where precise word counts are often very important, this was a hard point to get through my thick head. But I'm happy to announce I've managed to get past it.

Other News This Week

I received positive feedback on my synopsis from my writing critique group. They were able to point out a few weaknesses I hadn't seen. They also reassured me that the humor was coming through. I have a pretty dry style sometimes so I'm working on counteracting that with broad, physical situations.

Many will tell you never to do what I decided to do this week. So maybe you ought to stop reading right now. I've decided to go back over the week's work at the end of the week and fill in (I like the image of layering) information and action I left out on the initial pass through. The big caution is that you go back and think your work is either horrible or brilliant. If you think it's awful of course you lose all will to live and immediately quit working on it. And if you think it's great, according to Stephen King, that's even worse. However, so far - it works for me. I've been able to add things tht belong while the scenes are very fresh in my mind.

How to Write a Novel in Six Months, One Writer's Journey

Week 1, Mapping Out the Six Month Plan

Week 2, Resources on Structure

Week 3, Index Cards Are My Friends

Week 4, Sketching Characters

Week 5, Researching Agents

Week 6, Outlining

Week 7, Detail Scene Beats

Week 8, Writing the Synopsis

Week 9, Drafting Update

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • entertaininstyle profile image

    entertaininstyle 

    9 years ago from Southern California

    This looks like a great hub, I just joined your fan club but it makes me want to go back now and start from the beginning! :)

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)