• diwalkerbooks

Project 1 Chapter 2 - Words

I have a dilemma. A word dilemma.

I like to keep track of the word count - not only the overall word count but the chapter by chapter word count. Don't ask me why, probably for the same reason I like to have the cups and glasses in their kitchen drawer in groups of four and lined up in a certain way - peace in order. Anyway, I am sure a lot of writers do that.

When I start a manuscript, I have a word count target - for Project 1 it's, 55 000 words. And I like the chapters to written in about an hour, so around 1200 words and even though they're not exactly that, most chapters should be around that number.

However, this time I'm trying something new! A new process, that requires letting go some of the past guidelines I have set for myself - like when I write, or for how long, and the word count.

But that doesn't mean I can't check though, does it?

The prologue is approximately 760 words.

Chapter 1 is 870. So, there is a good sign - different process but, hey it is working.

Chapter 2 - now things have fallen apart. 1440 words.

Chapter 3 - 1180 - better, heading in the right direction.

Chapter 4 - 1020. Hmmm...

I can live with the prologue being short - after all it's a teaser, setting up a backstory that will have the reader wondering where it fits in.

At first, I thought Chapter 1 would be fine but now I'm wondering if I should add some more to it, get it closer to the one thousand mark - however, given the scene it's depicting, being a bit shorter is appropriate - don't want to dwell for too long.

Chapter 2 - far too long, or is it?

You can see my dilemma. It's not so much the word count, but rather that I am counting the words.

Writing is not easy. I know it looks easy - after all, I'm sitting in my warm study, I have my slippers on, tapping away at my keyboard, I have a freshly made cup of tea, and a snoring dog in the chair next to me. I have all day if I want to develop this plot.

However, writing is also fraught with challenges. Some days it's character development, other days it's continuity or, in my case, sometimes I have just lost the plot. (Pun totally intended.)

Today's challenge is word count.

To put this out of my mind - because it has become a needless distraction (as has the freshly baked pudding that has just come out of the oven and should really be eaten when warm, especially on a winter's afternoon) I opened my writing notebook to look at other drafts I've worked on.

The chapter word counts in the draft of Unpacking Harper Holt varied a lot - far more than what I remembered. A chapter of 933 words is in between one of 1332 words and another of 1695. Hmmm... curious.

Everything We Keep - 1236, 900, 1651.

So maybe the whole - every chapter has around the same number of words is just something I thought I was doing - or maybe it's something that comes about as the editing stages progress. Whatever the reason, this quick look back has relieved me of the burden of checking the word count as I am writing this first draft of Project 1.

If you are reading each chapter as I add them to my website, just be aware that there is no hard and fast rule about the word count - one chapter might be a quick read and the next, well, find a cosy spot and settle in - I'm no longer caring about word count. (Remember - this is a draft.)

unpublished manuscript