Word count or story completion

Words, words, words. That’s what National Novel Writing Month is about. Words. Get the words out and down on paper (or notebook, or laptop, or tablet). During November do NOT edit. Just get the words out. If you don’t like a scene don’t delete it (just block it out for later removal).

I have gotten caught up in the words, words, words, emphasis of Nano. Some years all that mattered was getting words down. (Oh what work that caused when I did get around to editing!) I pushed myself in the years I strove to write 150,000 words in a November. This emphasis on words is understandable.

First, a word count is measurable. I like seeing the graph on my Nano webpage grow each day as I progress through the month. I like comparing myself with my writing buddies to see how they are doing—alright to see how far ahead (or behind) I am.

Second, for me at least, my biggest challenge in writing is to write and a word count goal adds to my personal motivation to write. I never would have written my first novel in 2007 had I not had a word count goal for which to strive. Once I start writing it is far easier to continue than it was sitting the first time at the blank screen.

Still I have sensed a personal tension in every Nano, this year is not exception, so far. I have never finished my story in fifty thousand words. My first Nano I wrote 75k words in November but added an additional 20k in December to finish my story. Ultimately a sterile word count is not sufficient motivation for my writing. I want to tell my story.

That is the essential reason I have exceeded the basic word count goal each time. I have a story to tell. For me that is an epic story. My hope in my science fiction writing is to present a consistent view of my world in all my books. As such my big story cannot be told in fifty, a hundred, or even five hundred thousand words. Each year I hope to tell a complete segment of my story.

And so I plug along this year; in spite of a long daily commute, all my weekend activities, and now another blasted cold, I want to tell my story. I have finished my 50k words but my story remains incomplete. I’m just getting to know this set of characters and so I trudge on, slogging each day to get my story out.

Wish me success.

1 Comment

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One response to “Word count or story completion

  1. Rebekah

    I wish you success… and I also hope to continue to read your story… Yes, that is a hint!

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