A Life Of Fiction XIII

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work before purchasing it on the Kindle store; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.

Counting Words: Occasionally, one or two of mes amis have wondered why I seem to be so obsessed with how many words I write each day.

To explain: I try to write an average of three thousand words per day (not necessarily all on the same project). That is twenty one thousand words per week; and over a million words per year.

I have not always written so much. When I first began monitoring my output, I only wrote one and a half thousand words per day. But I discovered that I still had a lot of spare time, and I did not like to waste any of the free time which I had. So, eventually, I increased my word count to two thousand words per day (which I understand is how much Stephen King writes). Then, much later, I upped it to three thousand.

Why is this important to me? Well, it is important to put the work in. Novels don’t write themselves, alas. And it is the only real way which I have of making sure that I am actually working. I don’t want to look back on my life, in years to come, and wish that I had written more, when I had the time.

There is also the related matter of the length of novels. it is my opinion that each story has a natural length. Most of my novels tend to be between fifty thousand and eighty thousand words in length. Back when I still used to submit my work to publishers I was accused of having work which was a little bit anaemic. But better that, I think, than to pad out stories with unnecessary filler. I have got bored of bloated novels, where around a third of the book is inconsequential to the story, and should have been excised by a decent editor.

Now, with sites like Amazon Kindle, books can be their natural length, without them having to look like chunky doorstops. In the past publishers would rarely bother to look at a forty thousand word novella – short stories don’t sell (in the UK) and a book of that length is too short for the shelves of what few bookshops we have left.

But, with the advent of electronic media, we no longer have that problem. If some author has written ‘The End’ on what he thinks to be the best think since the invention of the wheel but it is only a twenty five thousand word tale he can market it as such; maybe offering it for a few shekels fewer than something of traditional novel length.

This is something which should liberate us authors… As long as we can actually get our 30 thousand word masterpieces to sell, of course…

In other news, the free story The Meticulous Examination of Pre-Ordained Destinies should now be on the site, unless something has gone badly wrong. I may begin to write short stories specifically for this site, in the future.


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