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Tip Tuesday #97

If you didn't see the news yesterday, WriteOnCon has teamed up with The Reading Room for an awesome contest. Enter the first 500 words of a MG or YA manuscript for a chance to win $1000 and an author page on TRR site. Details here.

For Tip Tuesday this week, Phil Siegel sent in a neat tip related to word count goals. Phil blogs at A Time to Phil. This is the first time I've featured him so definitely drop by his blog for a visit when you're done here. He has some great posts on writing and publishing. Enjoy!

Tip Tuesday – Writing by the Numbers

This is primarily for plotters and people who like math and measurable goals. Writing a book is a daunting task, so I like to break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Let’s say you’re writing a young adult novel, and your goal is 60,000 words.

-There are on average 250 words on a double-spaced Microsoft Word page with standard margins and 12-point font.

-Figure out how many chapters your book will have. I’ll use 30 in this scenario.

-Total words/chapters = Words per chapter. In this case, 60,000/30 = 2000 words per chapter.

-Words per chapter/words per page = Pages per chapter. 2000/250 = 8 pages per chapter.

When I sit down to write, I don’t look at my novel as one 60,000 word behemoth, but rather a string of 2,000 word, 8-paged segments.

-Phil

Tip Tuesday is a recurring feature where blog readers send in tips for fellow writers. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

14 comments:

  1. That's such a great tip Phil to make a manuscript not feel too overwhelming. And I'm going to use your idea the next time to keep a little better handle on my word count in general. I don't want to write 30,000 words or more that I know I'll have to cut. Thanks so much for sharing this.

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  2. Hmm. I'm not organized enough for this. But it probably would have helped if I hadn't had several 10,000 word long chapters in my first few drafts.

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  3. This is a great tip. Breaking it down this way makes a manuscript less daunting and emphasizes pouring in the power on a chapter by chapter basis. I had an online crit bud give me a similar insight recently and it's helped in dealing with my sidewinder-version of a rewrite.

    Angela
    http://publishness.blogspot.com/

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  4. Ha! That's one way to look at it! I tend to break up my books in a similar fashion, but more to give myself a goal to write each day. I attempt to write at least one chapter a day, however many pages it takes. I think for me it's just a matter of having a sense of completeness when I got to bed.

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  5. Cool tip. And it also helps keep your chapters short - nothing bogs down a book for me more than a chapter that just will not end.

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  6. Sometimes I wish I were a number person, but I just don't operate with that side of my brain. Thanks though...^-^...

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  7. Ah! That is amazing advice. I will definitely keep this in mind for WIP3.

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  8. Great tip! Thanks! and I love that contest. Wow.

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  9. Thanks for having me on your site! My first guest post. I should have it framed :)

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  10. Great advice, Phil. I'm like Matt. Not that organized. And I have to laugh at Matt's word count for his early chapters/drafts. I don't think I can make mine that long if I try.

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  11. Interesting idea. I've never thought of breaking it down by word count.
    Good advice, Phil!

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  12. I'm a panster, but if I do become a plotter, that would give me some idea of novel length. I wonder if that's how people use those meters to show how far they are to their WIP goals on their sidebar.

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  13. Nice article, thanks for the information.

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  14. Oooh, segmenting. Nice. I do this a lot in my regular life, so it makes sense to do it in writing too. Great tip, Phil!

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