F**k Word Count

waiting gif 1The draft I’m revising right now, a work of fiction I call TWINK, is too damn short. By ‘short’, I’m talking south of 53,000 words, which is shy of viable by a good 20,000 words, I’m thinking. I vowed not to pad the thing because story is paramount, screw word count.

For the last week or so, I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to come up with plot points I can add here and there to enhance the thing; give it the depth and breadth it needs, and most assuredly deserves; and perhaps, is somehow lacking.

Not padding the manuscript. Developing the story.

I bit the bullet and added one scene; read what I added, and cut what I wrote. I revised two others scenes, but word count remained static, and now I’m thinking, Maybe this story is as long as it should be. Who am I to. . .

I’m the author, that’s who I am, and this author needs to change how she’s viewing her novel. It’s short, that’s true, but the story takes place within a relatively short span of time: not counting prologue and epilogue, I’m talking ten hours now; eleven hours, tops. Only so much can happen in eleven hours and right now, every hour is pretty well accounted for.

What I need isn’t 20,000 more words. What I need is a new perspective, and what I need to do is examine each scene carefully to see if it’s pulling its weight, doing what it needs to do. Ratchet the tension when prudent, add and subtract scenes to develop my characters. Tighten the narrative to drive the story and move it forward; which may well result in a further loss of words, but the words that remain will make sense for these characters, this story.

In other words, fuck word count. My new motto?

Make. Words. Count.

All 53,000 of ’em, dammit.

5 thoughts on “F**k Word Count

  1. I love your attitude.
    I once heard…writing is about EMOTIONAL IMPACT
    It seems you hit that idea here.
    Also…11 hours is little time for events to happen???
    What about 24 (the tv show)?
    Around 42 minutes are used to tell just an hour of massive plot and action.
    Maybe you could get inspired fron there?

    Also…please…would you mind checking out my new blog
    I’m super new and would appreciate a little feedback


    • Thank you for the feedback and suggestions, Creative Dave. I know what you’re saying and you’re right, one can pack a lot ‘story’ into a short time span. There are a few places I’m looking at right now, going over the thing with a fine-toothed comb.

      Appreciate you bopping over. You are welcome anytime and btw, thanks for the invite. 🙂


      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, length, one of the terribly consistent MS woes. Too long? Too short? Goldilocks? I think I’ve referred to enriching scenes and character like that as embroidery? Which makes it seem frivolous, but really I meant that I was improving what was already existant.

    If I remember aright (it’s hard not to anxiously check), both my novels are a bit short-ish, THE LAST SONG clocking in at 63k or so, and perhaps the werewolf one broke 70 something by the time I thought I was done with edits, etc. Of course, now a new wrinkle has occurred to me which would require a not quite full rewrite, and would get rid of the “is this YA? Should this be YA?” question. Sigh.


    • That’s good though, right? One less thing to worry about.

      I’m like you, Jen. I tend to write shorter novels. My longest is CHERRY at 78K, but the others are shorter: 72K, 56K, then this one at about 52K as we speak. I feel really comfortable at 72K, but I always seem to fret, worrying that I won’t get there.

      Ahhh, the trials and tribulations of a writer. 🙂

      Thanks for your comments as always, Jen, and good luck with that wrinkle.

      xo kk


      • It’s just one more thing for us to fret over, really. Very short novels sell, and people read them. Very long novels sell and people read them. There’s no magic number, in my experience. But I will say, at the library counter, people are far more likely to put a book back if it’s a cinder block rather than a pamphlet 😉


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