Lots of people will have recently finished NaNoWriMo in which they will have attempted to write 50,000 words during the month of November. This is no mean feat, and I applaud all those who had a go, whether they hit their target or not.
But I worry that things like NaNoWriMo can give people an unrealistic expectation about how long it actually takes to write a novel. Maybe I’m just slow, but I sit down to work five days a week and this year it has taken me 33 weeks to complete a book. Every Friday I note down my word count so that I can track progress. Here’s what the graph for this year’s output looks like:
I got off to a flying start in April, but then the word count dropped after a couple of weeks because I threw away half of what I’d written and started again. That was tough at the time, but really just a minor blip in the grand scheme of things.
By mid-July I had 56,000 words and the story was pretty much there but I always underwrite so for me, revising really means building the scenes up. It took me three months to do what NaNoWriMo participants attempt to do in one month.
I then reworked the manuscript substantially so that by mid-September I had 69,500 words. At that point I gave it to my husband to read.
A couple of weeks later I got his feedback and then spent six weeks chopping, adding and rewriting until I had 78,300 words.
I left it for a week or two and have just spent another three weeks going over the entire manuscript in red ink, typing up my changes as I go. The word count is now 79,000.
The objective now is not to increase the word count but to improve what is there. My husband will read the whole book again and I’ll get other people to proofread it. I’ll also do another full pass myself. So it’s not over yet… 😉