Day 4: Does Word Count Count for Much?
I finished one story. Three more to go. I already had it mostly finished and still have a lot of editing done, but I’m happy where it finished. The hardest part of any story is finishing. You know at the end of a long novel and you want to know what happens to the characters after the story finishes? That is doubly true for authors. In the same way that people don’t die after they finish a competition, that’s just one part of their life, so a story is with a character.
The final word count is just under 14,000. I was aiming for an even fifteen but I’m not concerned. I never know how much an edit will take out or put back into the story.
Out of curiosity I searched to see how many words an average short story had. The range was huge anywhere between one sentence (I’m not kidding) and 50,000 words. It is quite a large range, so how long should mine be? After reading a couple of websites it was obvious there were two schools of thought. An idealistic one is, “write as long as it takes to tell the story well,” and fifty words shouldn’t make the difference between a great story and a poor one, but it could. I disagree. It has always been helpful to have a goal. It is a framework. But the truth is limitations are good for writers. Twitter is good for writers.
Some time ago, my girlfriend was having a hard time writing poetry. I told her to write a Shakespearean sonnet. So, even though almost all of her poetry had been free verse she had a wonderful time writing to a specific format, word count, and everything else that goes into a sonnet.
Limits unleash creativity.
So put up some walls and then break them down later. Keep trucking.
Onto a story about Kiwis!