Worried about word count

As I’m passing the halfway point on my new novel, I’m beginning to worry about page numbers and word count. I have so many placeholders that I’m going to be cutting and filling all over this thing, so I’m trying to flesh out parts that I don’t feel like writing at the moment and would normally use a placeholder in, just so I can get an idea of how long the scene is actually going to be.

Make sense? No? ‘K.

So, right now, I have the Prince’s arrival (which we’ve all been waiting for), but I don’t really feel like writing a reunion scene. So normally, I’d use:

Prince: Hey, Dad. S’up?
King: Just chillin’, you know. You?
Prince: A’ight.
Queen: Let’s barbeque.

See? Just a, um, rather ridiculous placeholder that will be filled in later, but it gives me no real idea of how long the reunion is actually going to take. Note: I don’t want it to take too long, so I can’t fill it in with:

King: O Son, mine eyes behold your visage with great joy! Fruit of my loins, the one in whom all my hopes and dreams for the future rest, I say to you, welcome. A thousand times welcome on this glorious day.
Prince: Pater! Thy words warm my heart and set my mind at ease. For, as much as you are glad to see me, I am a thousand-fold happier to behold your divine countenance!
Queen: I said, let’s barbeque.

Equally ridiculous, but taking up more space, and probably more indicative of how much actual space the scene will take with gestures and much more back and forth, not to mention less barbeques.

It’s all part of the wondrous fun that is first drafts. And it’s much less stressful than when I’ve just written something, and I’ve barely reached the end before I think, oh yeah, all this is getting cut. ^_^


5 thoughts on “Worried about word count

  1. Why not just do the normal placeholder and then add some fill text that is just like,

    Word word word word word word. Word word word word word. Word word word word word word. Word word word word word. Word word word word word word. Word word word word word. Word word word word word word. Word word word word word. Word word word word word word. Word word word word word. Word word word word word word. Word word word word word. Word word word word word word. Word word word word word.

    Cut and paste until it looks like about the size you expect the section to be. What do ya think?

    • Well, since it’s not hard for me to come up with filler, it’s not that much of a big deal. And making stuff helps me keep the thrust of a conversation. Also, I think it word hurt my soul to insert lots of “words”. ^_^

  2. FAR too often I find myself stressing over word count. Is this chapter as long as the last; if I stopped the story here it wouldn’t be novel length; am I rushing through this scene, or dragging it like a deer carcass?

    My stress knows no limits.

  3. Urgh. Nothing’s more soul destroying than looking over a day’s worth of work, and knowing with absolute certainty that it has to be cut. Sometimes I can’t bear to, and it gets left there for days or weeks, until I finally admit defeat and redo the whole thing.

    I tend to do one of two things with placeholders. If all it needs is an extra sentence / paragraph etc to help with the flow, I just put […], and come back to it later. If there’s a whole scene that I’m finding difficult or can’t be bothered with, I’ll leave a blank line, and then write a long paragraph in italics about exactly what I want to achieve in the scene, how people are going to feel / react / move, little phrases or snatches of conversation, etc. I find it’s much easier than trying to half construct something, and it leaves me with more info for later use.

    As for word counts, I have yet to get to a point where large word counts are an issue :p. As long as it reads well, I am generally happy. I can always cut things that are too long, or put a […] for things that need expanding :p.

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