Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Word Count

I'm probably going to regret this, but I don't know how it will end.

There are a bunch of different quotes and variants on sayings about how writers need to write a million words before they're any good.  I don't think this is any sort of absolute; there are some writers who seem to have picked it up easily and have good work even from their early days, and some whom I think might need a few million more under their belts.  But for all that I talk about how much I've written and now long I've been at this, I've never actually figured out what my total novel word count is.

Hence the "I'm probably going to regret this."  But I'm short on blog ideas for this week, so why not see where this goes?

So.  Here are the final word counts on the last versions of these books, as well as the last date I worked on them.  Let's see. . . .

1: The Blessed.  June 29, 2001.  301,998 words.  (holy shit)
2: Of Rune and Shadow.  May 5, 2004.  149,163 words.
3: The Captured Gods.  October 18, 2006.  177,621 words.
4. Shattering the Firmament.  January 8, 2010.  201,958 words.
5: The Winds of Limbo, v1.  May 31, 2010.  183,249 words.
6: The Winds of Limbo, v2.  October 10, 2010.  187,550 words.
7: Skyborne.  April 19, 2012.  133,219 words.
8: AMU.  August 21, 2012.  103,761 words.
9: The Winds of Limbo, v3.  January 31, 2013.  100,227 words.
10: Untitled interplanar book .  May 11, 2014.  70,990 words.  (Vague precursor to Starwind, hated upon completion.)
11: The Accidental Warlock.  August 16, 2014.  95,693 words.  (Written in 2013, tried to get published for about a year, trunked.)
12: TGM Untitled.  November 2, 2014.  94,312 words.
13: The crazy dream book.  June 24, 2015.  68,631 words.  (Written after BOLR, but dismissed after first draft for not being weird enough.)
14: The Book of Lost Runes.  November 17, 2015.  83,981 words.
15: Starwind.  April 12, 2017 (most recent draft).  109,975 words.

Word count total: 2,062,328 words.

And that's only counting what I could call finished!  Looking through my old files, I see more than a few drafts, reworkings, files full of cut text, so on and so forth.  To say nothing of books I started and dropped after who knows how long.  I've done at least another 100K in things that aren't showing up on this list.  This also shows me patterns - the time between my third and fourth books I largely spent trying to write short stories and hating every page of it.  The idea for the fourth book came to me as a sudden flash of inspiration on the drive home from work, and I knew it was time to start writing novels again.  And the second two TWOL books are also based on interplanar stuff, an idea I clearly couldn't figure out for quite some time.

Well, this has been sobering.  Now I know what I've been doing with my life for the past sixteen years, eh?  Not much else to say, except that I hope I've gotten better after all this time.

Next week: you don't always have to save the world.


  1. That's a lot of words. I don't think I've written that many. Unless you count blog posts.

    1. And yet, you have books out. :P Though you very well might have everyone beat when it comes to blog posts.

  2. Yowza, thats a lot of words. I'd have to count all my sciency stuff to even get close, and I'd still be way behind.

    1. And yet, you have books out. :P So it's clearly not a matter of quantity, eh?

  3. Wow. You have written a lot of words. I can't get near that.

    1. And yet, you have books out. :P Or at least books forthcoming, if I'm reading right what I've seen on your blog site.

  4. Dude. That's a lot of words. Go you!

    You and my critique partner seem to be on the same wavelength. She just posted that she was at 1,012,537 keepable words, with another 660K she's likely going to rewrite or cut.

    Both of you are way ahead of me. If I count just my words that are publicly available, I'm at 213K. If I add in all my WIPs and serviceable side stories, I'm at 480K. My discarded word count is wince worthy (including 100K in Thanmir War alone). At the rate I'm going, I doubt I'll catch up with you in a decade.

    1. And yet, you have books out. :P And thus no need to worry about catching up.

  5. From what I've read of your work, you are totally there.

    1. I'm not entirely sure what you mean, as I don't feel like I'm much of anywhere, but thanks, I think. ^_^