Friday, May 10, 2013

A Million Little Words

So the saying often goes around that it takes a million practice words to really become a good novelist. A couple weeks ago I realized I have more than hit that mark. So just so ya'all know, I'm a good novelists now.

No, I'm so kidding.:D

But it is an interesting thought. Now, I assume that those words are meant to include things like all of the poems and short stories that I wrote in college. But I don't have any stats for those and ultimately, I think you learn to write novels by writing novels. So I thought I would list my novels and word counts.

Note: I extensively re-wrote every novel here except for the Basque Romance. So I will list "Words" and "Applicable Words" since I think all those words I re-wrote still count.

The Chain and the Sword: Words= 150,000 Applicable Words= 300,000 (minimum! I edited this baby until the pages were filled with blood. Blood, people!! Also, I generally count this as two book because it was two 100,000 words books that I combined and cut the crap out of. Just FYI.;))

Basque Romance: Words= 100,000 Applicable Words= Still 100,000

Wings: Words= 69,000 Applicable Words= 138,000 (Again, minimum. Rewrote no less than half this book just in first round edits.)

Spells: Words= 85,000 Applicable Words= 170,000 (I rewrote this sucker almost from scratch BEFORE I turned it into my editor. *Whine* Sequels are haaaaaard!!!)

Illusions/Wild: Words=88,000 Applicable Words= 132,000 (I'm giving this one 1.5x instead of double because edits were easier on this one. I think . . .)

Destined: Words= 73,000 Applicable Words= 146,000 (DEF doubled the word count in edits for this book. DEF.)

Life After Theft: Words= 80,000 Applicable Words= 160,000 (Though having worked on it for over five years, I think I deserve TRIPLE!!:D)

Earthbound: Words= 86,000 Applicable Words= 172,000 (Again, at least!! This is also a pushing triple book.)

Don't Close Your Eyes: Words= 90,000 Applicable Words= 135,000 (I've done first round edits, so I am giving myself 1.5, but not a full double.)

Earthbound 2: Words= 75,000 Applicable Words= 75,000 (No edits, no increase. *wink*)

So those are my ten (and arguably eleven) books for a grand word total of Words= 896,000 and Applicable Words= 1,528,000.

That's a lot of words.

I'm not really making a statement of any kind with these stats. I just find them interesting. Am I a better writer after 1.5 million words? I hope so. Have I picked up any bad habits in those 1.5 million words? I'm afraid so. But I have put about 1.5 million words into my career in the last eight years. And I'm proud of that.


Saturday, May 04, 2013

Anatomy of a Revision

So, aspiring authors often want to hear about revisions. Generally the question is, How brutal are they? So since I actually paid attention to some of my . . . stats, I guess . . . I thought I would talk about what happened during the revision of Don't Close Your Eyes, my upcoming YA Paranormal Thriller . . . Horror . . . something like that. (Okay, I haven't perfected my elevator pitch yet!:D)

When I turned in DCYE, it was 74,000 words. When I turned it in after edits it was 90,000 words. So, for starters, I added 16,000 words. However, I also changed about the same number of words. So I would say that a full 30,000 of the final 90,000 words were written or re-written. So yeah, I re-wrote about a third of the book in revisions this time. (I suspect that percentage was a full half for Wings, but about a third seems pretty normal for me.)

So what did I change? Here were the main things:

1.) I wrote this book fast so the details of my world were sketchy. Half of my revisions involved clarifying world/mythos/etc. it's also where about 10,000 of the extra words came from.:)

2.) Blended two characters into one. Which, oddly, required more words.:D

3.) Smoothed out my romance line and added several scenes to do this.

4.) Slowed my pacing down. And this was a shocker to me. I ended up rushing headlong into the plot so quickly I confused my editor. I added a prologue and a new first chapter at their request.

5.) Gave a personal story to every victim. (Did I mention the serial killer?) This was short. Probably 1,000 words total. But it made a huge difference.

So yeah, that was essentially my revision. You'll notice there was very, very little cutting. That is NOT always the case. In fact it's pretty unique to this book.:) I'm a little sad that it doesn't look like I'm going to have a deleted scene for this book.

Of course, there is one more round of edits. . . .