I just picked three of my favorite books and did a simple count equation, added them all together and divided the sum by three. The average I came up with was 83421. This means to me that my stories are falling short of novel status. I need to learn more about my characters below their surfaces. It is time to start digging deeper.
I need to find out what their secrets are, what they fear and what they dream about. All these things make them tick and keeps them going. A bunch of dominoes waiting to fall. If the right one falls, everything can fall apart for the hero or the heroine. How much should they lose before they take action?
Life is full of conflicts, even in historical stories. Back then it was constant war. Most people never lived beyond forty. With the biggest cause of death being killed in battle. The second cause of death was a disease. Then came starvation.
Getting inside a character’s head can be a bit scary. You’re about to experience the same thing the character is going through. Loss of family and homes, being alone in a world filled with constant battles to stay alive. Where is the safe haven?
These things are some of what I have avoided in the past when writing. Now, I’m about to embark on this new character encounter. Learning to see through their eyes all the stumbling blocks they will need to face. This must be one of the reasons some writers will write the end of the story first. That way they can remember that the story does have a potential to have a happy ending.
What does word counts mean to your writing?
Do you ever feel like you fall short of your goals when you write THE END?
Everyone has an excuse not to write. I think we are afraid of ourselves, of what we might write. It’s not so much about the writing being bad, it’s more. When you write, it is like peeling an onion. Somewhere in our writings there are bits and pieces of us layered within. A small memory, making our writing be like that pensive Dumbledore had in his chamber.
Yes, we fear constructive criticism, but our worst critic is ourselves. If no one tells you what is wrong with a story, then you can’t fix it. You only need let go of your ego. Yes, that little chip on your shoulder that says you are greater than all. We all have a small piece of that chip that needs to be brushed off once in a while. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to believe in yourself, but it’s not good to not be able to look at yourself.
I love watching myself grow as a writer. Yes, some of my early works suck. They’re not written in stone, though. I can go back at any given time and rewrite them. I won’t until I feel I have gained enough skill to take another shot at them. I’ve learned to forgive myself for anything poorly written.
A beginning artist draws stick figures as a child. The more they draw, the more their figures take shape until they have that piece of artwork that draws the attention of all at the local art show. Writing is the same. It is a skill that isn’t a given. The more you do it, the better you get.
Don’t be afraid to let the words flow. Stop your excuses. Find a time slot in your day and write, something, anything, and write as fast as you can. The more you do this, the easier it gets to write. You’d be amazed at what you can write in just ten minutes. With practice, even your typing skills improve, making your word count increase.