Reply To: Writing Paces and Schedules

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Hi Noah, nice to see you around again!

Or at least try to write per hour, I know it can vary greatly, and writers get faster and faster the more the written, but what do you currently aim to write per hour?

On a good day and an interesting chapter, I’ll get nearly 2000 words an hour. Say, about 1800. On a slow chapter or a hard day, I’d say my average is about 1500 words an hour. Forewarning, this depends very much on your typing speed. I touch-type, and I’ve had a lot of practice with that, so I type very quickly.

Secondly, for those of you who are really staying consistent on your WIPs, what are your writing schedules? Again, I know it can vary (life has a habit of getting in the way), but what is your typical writing schedule (morning, evening, sporadically, etc…) and how many hours do you try to write on the average day?

Aahh… the dreaded question. I struggle with this. A lot. Especially the last couple of months, I’ve been struggling with motivation and just plain getting the energy to write.

It’s been better this last while (I had a record-breaking week, as far as word-count is concerned) but it’s still hard.

The only thing I can tell you is that sprinting works very well for me. I have mentioned it before, but I’m bringing it up again. Basically, sprinting is setting a timer for yourself and seeing how much you can write within that time. (I usually work for 20 minutes, that’s enough to get in the zone but not enough to get tired out.)

After you finish the sprint, you take a short break and repeat. The pressure of a ticking clock really helps me, as does the thought that “I only have to write five more minutes, then I can take a break.”

It also makes it easier to see my progress. So, give that a try if you haven’t already.

Lastly, how long in words does a book need to be for you to consider it long or epic (I’m just curious)? And how long do you usually prefer books to be (I’m thinking along the lines of fantasy or medieval fiction particularly)?

Okay, this is actually a thing in publishing! You can find more specific charts on the internet, but a general guideline is between 75k and 100k for a YA book. Adult is longer, Middle Grade is shorter. Fantasy and historical fiction are longer, romance is shorter.

Your manuscript needs to be at least 60k long, anything under that is considered a novella. Anything over 120k is too hard to sell, especially for a debut novel. (Unless you’re Brandon Sanderson XD)

Now, for personal preference, I like longer books, anything under 300 pages (about 75k) is a bit doubtful since I don’t know if the author will work out the plot they’ve set up or if they’ll rush through it. Personally, I don’t hesitate when I see a 500-page book. I love that stuff, it means that the author fleshed out their characters and has proper buildup. Or they’re going to meander all over eternity before falling on their face. Yaknow. Always an option.

I know a lot of people who are intimidated by long books (Why though? The book won’t bite) and don’t read anything over 300 pages. It depends on your readership, but historical fiction and fantasy readers tend to expect longer books.

Also, I want to add a disclaimer. I worried a lot about word count during my first novel. Like, a LOT. My first novel (YA fantasy) only turned out to be 72k. I was even afraid I wouldn’t get it past 60k.

But honestly… it doesn’t matter that much. Your first draft will probably be way too long or way too short (like mine XD) That’s cool, you’ll fix it later. Don’t worry about it. I used to struggle with writing a chapter over 1500 words, now I often have to split up 5000-word chapters because I couldn’t stop writing.

As you get more practice, you’ll figure out how to show more, how to expand your character’s thoughts, how to show more clearly. Or, if you write too much, you’ll learn what you can cut and what you should keep. You’ll add subplots or subtract them in later drafts.

Wait, what was my point? I had a point. Oh, yes.

It’s just a first draft. Follow your story and let it be whatever length it wants the first draft. You can fix it later.

Hope this helps!


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