Through my many discussions into the progression of my book writing process, a question continues to resurface. How many pages is your book? Initially this concern or idea was something that was important to me. I guess I wanted to feel like I was accomplishing something. I tried hard to remember exactly how many pages I'd written. In the end - the first draft - with double spacing was over a thousand pages.
But as a reader and a writer - what does that really mean. As I have started editing - I've realized that page count means relatively little. Changing the font size, the font type - single vs double can all change the actual page count drastically. I started reading author, agent, and publisher blogs and word count is by far more important.
I learned about the importance of daily writing, keeping a constant schedule and trying to write every day. I set myself a word count daily goal of 2,000. This seemed like a good number. Though as I continued to write I only reached this goal half the time of the days that I found time to write. Some days I surpassed this number. In future writing - I may do a weekly word count. As my life sits, I am unable to write daily - at least on any book project I may have. But I do write...in other ways.
Word count is often dependent on the type of book you are writing. You surely wouldn't want a childrens' book to be in the 100,000 word range and you wouldn't want a fantasy book in the 20,000 word range.
I was always unable to answer the word count question because I hadn't taken the time to combine the 25+ different and individual chapters, each being divide into their own document. That changed today. I finally was able to combine everything, with some power and finesse into a complete first draft, word count.
Drum roll please........I finished my first draft of my first novel at 245,000 words.
I immediately was shocked because I didn't know the actual count until I combined everything at the end. This really scared me because word count is so important. I knew immediately that my manuscript was substantially too long.
I began editing with a vengeance and the number changed dramatically. I cut out over 100,000 words - which is another person's manuscript. I have now gone through 9 rounds of editing. From a massive cut and slash - to improving conversation and scene cutting. I've cut 100,000 words but other senctences have been rearranged and scenes improved in order to tighten up the writing. It is a process that unfortunately has taken almost 8 months.
Now, I need to move to the next step - which is the query letter. I am just beginning this process. I still have page count in the back of my mind - because I am still asked about it on a daily basis. But the real key - is word count. My genre is Epic Fantasy instead of just fantasy for this same reason - Epic Fantasy allows a larger word count. This suites me just fine...I hope.