S13E3 – Worrying About Word Count

Diagnosing problems in writing can be one of the most difficult tasks for any author. The creators are most often blinded to their own shortcomings. Readers may notice when something is awkward or boring while the author thinks it’s one of the more interesting excerpts. The August series is dedicated to diagnosing these problems, from continuity errors to gaps in logic the readers will inevitably question.

Word count is one of those things an author should ignore until they get to the editing phase. As we’re fond of saying, the first draft should be done selfishly, which means hitting however many words is necessary to just get the story out. Once that’s finished then authors and editors both should take time to make sure the word count falls within or close to the generally accepted word count for the genre. Many may say it doesn’t matter, but readers care whether they realize it or not. Some will turn away from a book if it is too long or too short unless they’ve come to trust that author. This episode talk about how to edit to hit those target word counts.

First aired August 10, 2020.

About the Author
I'm an editor and cover designer for AspenHouse Publishing. I am also a host for AspenHouse's poscast, Writing Roots.

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