So Central PA got its first blanket of the white stuff. What’s the big deal? I hear a lot of complaining about the weather this time of year – usually from the same people that say it’s too hot in July. I hope you’re not one of them. Life is too short to grumble.
I hope you get a chance to think about this week’s question and check out the updated Featurd Excerpt, but right now we have more important things to discuss.
How many words does it take to create a novel? I hear so many different numbers floating around. I don’t know if there really is a correct answer. I’ve heard everything from 50,000 to 100,000 words. Take your pick.
But how do you develop a small idea into a full-fledged novel? It’s no easy trick. These ideas are not all-inclusive, but hopefully, it will give you some things to think about.
Once you get that idea that just won’t stay out of your head, write down every possible idea you can think of that relates to it. A thought may come to you while at the mall. Or maybe while you’re out for a Sunday drive. Use some real-life situations that have impacted your life. Whatever it is, write it down. If you’re like me, you won’t remember these things ten minutes later. You’re probably not like me, but it’s still a good idea to write them down.
Some people like to have the whole story planned out complete with outline and notations. I do believe it’s good to have a plan and at least a direction and goal in mind for your protagonist, but I still like to see where my story goes. In other words, I’ve found that often a story takes an unexpected turn, even for me, the author. If I plan too much, that option is taken away.
As I mentioned before, I’ve been using Freewriter. It allows me to fully develop my thoughts into organized ideas which eventually become organized words on a page. There are character blocks where I can develop my characters as much as I choose. There are scene blocks that allow me to go deep into description of the scenes I’m writing. But the ultimate question is – will it be a novel?
Remember, I’m looking for a minimum of 50,000 words (80,000 is even better). Once I have a pretty good idea where I’m going with the story, I need to come up with a word count for each chapter. If I have 20 chapters with 2,000 words each, I’m going to fall short of novel length. I have a choice. I can either add more chapters, or make the chapters longers. If I add an extra 1,000 words to each chapter (making a total of 3,000 words per chapter), I now have 60,000 words. You can decide if you want to call that a novel.
If I need 3,000 words for a chapter, and I have three scenes in the chapter, I need to spend roughly 1,000 words on each scene. That makes for more crafting to fit the word count.
Now, after saying all of that, I just write. The story itself will determine the word count. I’d rather have a good, short story than a bland novel. Writing a novel is a challenge, though. Stay at it. Let the creative juices flow. The end is in sight.