Monday's Motivation

Obtaining Your Goals (Part 1): Word Count


Besides a cup of coffee and lots of caffeine, obtaining our writing goals requires work. However, there are practical tips to help you reach your target. Over the next 3 weeks, let’s dive deep into some of this advice.

Many writers struggle with word count regardless of writing style. For the reader, long prose can drag out a novel, disengage them from the text, or look far too daunting from the bookshelf. But shorter novels, may cause the reader to not pay for a book, disregard the characters, or find disappointment in the plot.

How can we meet the expectations of our genre?


First, know your word count goal. If you’re a pantser, pace your writing as you go. This will keep your imagination on track.

Second, add or subtract sub-plots. Sometimes sub-plots are wonderful gifts for your novel. Up the intrigue, throw your reader a curve-ball. If you write longer prose, subtract one or two of these sub-plots. Figure out which ones don’t enhance the story.

Third, hone your descriptions. Work on language precision. Detailed descriptions that paint the reader pictures are excellent, but overdone descriptions can take away from the imagination. There is a balance. If I pick up a book at the story and scan the first page, I will either:

a.) Find the descriptions enticing and continue to the check-out.

b.) Discover the author is far too wordy, and I’m not interested.

We want our readers to feel and see the story, but we don’t want to lull them to sleep either. Use your words to drive them forward.

Every novelist has a unique writing style. If you’re struggling with word count, read some of your favorite authors. Study the descriptions and plot line. This might shine a light on areas of growth for you. Remember your writing style will never look just like “______” (you fill in the blank).

You’re a writer, an artist that crafts stories. Adhere to the industry standards, but within these, stay true to your voice.

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