Sunday, August 22, 2010

Counting Your Words

Some of the advice a new writer gets is that you have to write, preferably every day. Gay Haldeman says, "If you write a page a day, at the end of the year, you have a 365 page book." Others give the same advice as a certain number of words per day, but the point is, you should write every day.

Okay. That gets you a rough draft. It's easy to count how many words you've added to the end of what you had yesterday. I've been wondering, "How do you count your productivity when you're re-writing?"

Re-writing doesn't involve blank sheets of paper where you place new words. It involves considering the words you've already got on the paper. Is there a better word than this one? Would this scene be better if it came earlier? You are, in short, rearranging what you've got. You move things around, add words, delete words… How do you count that?

I have a method of how to designate how much rewriting I've done in any given day. I start each day with a new shade of that draft's color. Is this my red draft? Then today, I use pink, or brick. When I'm done, I highlight the pink/brick section, and that tells me how many words I've 'gone through' that day. But the inaccuracy bothers me. My second draft might be twice as long as the rough draft, so obviously I've been adding quite a few words. But third draft tends to be considerably shorter. Following drafts might be shorter yet, as I manage to tighten it up even more. So, if I work on a section of 2000 words, and I wind up with 1700 words, do I count 2000 or 1700?

Most the time, I just go with the number of words I wind up with. I'm not sure it's fair, but it's a simple process, and lets me be consistent in how I'm tracking things. I just keep wondering how other authors count their words when they're doing re-write. I suppose I ought to ask. Maybe they've got a better way.

See ya next week.    Trudy

No comments:

Post a Comment