Writer + Photographer

Word Count Is a B: An Update

When it comes to writing, I’ve been able to get over most hurtles. Sure, it may take years, but at some point, I figure it out.

Everything but one particular thing: word count. Dear GOD, word count.

When I wrote the first drafts of my stories in high school, it was the furthest thing from my mind. As I’ve said before, I was a serial pantser. I just wrote. That’s probably why I’ve spent the last almost decade re-writing… but that’s not the point.

The point is, I can’t seem to write anything longer than 40-50k. I think I can tell a cohesive story inside that range, and anything more feels forced for some reason. I realize I’m probably the minority here, as I get the feeling most people have trouble staying under the target word counts… So, want to know the typical numbers for what I write?

Yeah. See my problem?

Here’s the thing: I wrote hundreds upon hundreds of pages of fan fiction when I was a teenager. But um, each chapter had a different crazy, ridiculous turn. I’m talking a tsunami destroying their house and a gang member killing their friend and at least four different instances of cheating (each time I became obsessed with a new celebrity). It was definitely not cohesive in any sense of the word. And if I had to turn it into a publishable story, it surely wouldn’t reach the proper word count either.

Currently, I’m still trying to finish re-writing my second story. Yes, the one that started out as fan fiction… but I promise it was only based on a character (a.k.a., celebrity) from those hundreds of pages, not at all the tragedy of the “story” within.

I’m about done with adding things I wanted to add and changing the chaos I needed to change, but I’m still only at around 40,000 words.

Don’t really have anything else to say, just wanted to share my struggles and beg for tips.

Ps. Here’s a great video on word counts by the coolest literary agents out there.

Word Count Image Above From:

2 responses to “Word Count Is a B: An Update”

  1. Stuart Danker Avatar

    I so totally get you! How do people complain about overshooting word counts? I can never ever meet word counts. If it’s a 3,000-word short story competition, I’ll finish at 2,000, pre-edits. If it’s for an 80,000-word novel, I’ll end up at 60,000.

    I guess it’s because I like to get straight to the action, and hate dallying around describing rooms and such. I have no idea. Here’s to wishing you a good output from today onwards!


    1. Brenna Elmore Avatar

      Exactly, haha! Thanks so much. 🙂


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