In a few days, I will OFFICIALLY finish draft 1 of my MG WIP that I have been working on for months now. I’m pretty excited, mainly because it feels like the first large thing I have written that is re-draftable and isn’t just a huge pile of meaningless words. This Friends GIF pretty much says everything about me right now.
At the moment, my word document is around 29,000 words. When I finish it will probably be around 32,000 words. For a MG fantasy, this is pretty short, and I know in my head that my finished story will be around 45,000 words long.
Now, if I had got to this place a year ago, I would’ve freaked out about not reaching my word count target on my first draft. I was OBSESSED with word counts, as I think most new writers are. I knew that the first Harry Potter was 76,944 words, I knew that Coraline was 30,000 words and I had googled every one of my favourite MG books to find out exactly how long they were to compare them to my woefully short manuscript.
I think this is mainly because when you first start writing, you know nothing of your writing style and habits. You don’t know whether your project is going to go well or just end up in a dusty draw somewhere in your house. And so, to compensate for this lack of knowledge I read everything on the internet about novel writing, and the thing that came up again and again was word count. How long your book should be for the genre you are writing for.
And yes, I totally agree that word count is important, but only when you are at the stage where you want to try and get published. I am not at that stage. I am no where near that stage. So to be honest, word count doesn’t really matter. A year ago me was wrong to freak out.
You see everybody writes differently. I am most definitely one that writes short, and then expands on re-writing. I almost find that in first drafts I outline the scene rather then actually write it. And that is fine – it’s just the way I write. It’s the same for writers who write long and the cut everything down in editing – if it works for them, then that is okay.
So, what I was trying to get across in this blog post is that
A) it is OKAY if your draft 1 or 2 or 3 has a completely different word count to what everybody says is the right word count for your book;
B) Take your time to find YOUR writing style – find what works for you! Everybody is different AND;
C) What matters most is writing the best story you can possibly write, irregardless of word count.
So, I wonder: Are you like me, a writer who writes short then expands? Or do you cut in editing?