Monday, 16 April 2012

Words per day or end of theme

Good afternoon to you all
1700+ words today - great guns!  I know I have been saying I need to do 1000 words a day, but really that's a minimum. I don't get to 1000 words and go, that's me done for the day, although I am sure other authors do and it depends on everyone's lifestyle/commitments etc.  However, personally and where possible I like to have in my head at what point in the action I aim to get to that day and finish there. It's not always possible. Sometimes characters introduce matters which mean, as now, it took me 3 days to get to the end of the section I thought I could finish on Fri.  Anyway, it's satisfying when you get there and today left me right at the end of a chapter, with a perfect opening for the next one. Yay!

Still on the subject of word count, and anyone who knows me will be able to easily imagine why this is difficult for me, sticking to the number of words I aim to write in a novel is difficult. Again this comes back to being told, 'just write. It's important you write and just see where it takes you'.  Yet, I have no burning desire to cut this novel by two thirds, like the last one! So, at some point this week, I am going to have a review, as I am about a sixth of the way through  the number of words I intended, maximum!  But I do feel it is critical to review word count as you go along, otherwise you might get a shock at the end of the novel, when you then spend, ahem, 5 months drafting and re-drafting chapters, particularly if you are going down the traditional publishing route, where word counts are of paramount importance, when submitting to a publisher. Oh, if only E-readers had existed four years ago, I could have spared myself a lot of angst!

Formatting, Punctuation and Styles - I am a very pernickety person, regarding attention to detail, spelling etc (please laugh, if I make any mistakes from now on, having just said that).  I spent ages over detail in my manuscript, such as one space instead of two, contrary to what I had always been taught, after the end of a sentence.  Apparently in books, to save space, there is only one space now.  This is my understanding and may be quite wrong  So I spent ages, making revisions. Also, I used to use double quotation marks, but they too take up a lot of space and books now only appear to have single quotation marks for dialogue, so I have now learned to use only those.  Then there's paragraphing and indentations.  Until I formatted my novel for Kindle, I had no idea that pressing Return twice wasn't a good way to start a paragraph and heavens, no, don't use the Tab key to indent. Lord, I could have saved myself so much time.  For Kindle, I had to manually go through the novel, adding Styles, which I had to get help on from the Amazon user forums peeps (thanks, btw) and Google to find stuff out.  Styles, for those of you who don't know (as I didn't) are choices you make regarding a particular type of indent for a line, or font, eg Titles or Chapter Headings or change of scene, ie when in many novels, the paragraph appears not indented and is instead left aligned.  NB:  For those who are in the course of formatting for Amazon Kindle, Amazon automatically apply an indent. I had to overwrite that indent and do a negative indent. 
Anyway, I could expound on this topic for ages (and may well return to it in the coming weeks), but suffice to say, I decided that with this novel, for the draft, I have just left aligned, no extra spaces for my paragraphs, ie I haven't even made proper paragraphs. It would be too distracting for me to add a style, even once they are saved as favourites, each time I want to make a new paragraph, or use dialogue, or indent. So, I have decided to do it all at the end in the edit.  And just to make matters even more complicated, the print version will need to be different. I am currently looking into Createspace, print publishing on demand - another Amazon company to try and get my books into paperback. 

Tomorrow, among other things, I will be discussing how readers' feedback in this fast paced world, can change the way you write and the direction of your novel.
Tune in Tuesday around 3pm GMT for the next instalment


  1. This is fascinating - when I read a book/eBook I forget just how much work goes into it, not just writing the actual story but all this extra stuff too!

    Looking forward to the next instalment :)

  2. Glad you are enjoying the blog. As my editor tells me. it's cathartic for me too. I guess it will be like a diary of my novel writing process, which will be good for me to look back on next year. Yes, it is a lot of work, particularly when I didn't write it with an e-book in mind! I finished writing it before e-books were available.