An Evolution of Drafts: Word Count

Writing requires a lot of writing. Redundant but true. As in, you are not done after you power through one draft and make it to the end. Sometimes you don’t even know if that end is the end, or if you need to fatten up some scenes, or if you need to fix your prose or simply slash it to pieces. Unless you are an absolute word-wizard/the reincarnation of all the literary big names sent down from the word gods, then chances are, there will ALWAYS be something in need of fixing in your story. Thus, you will be writing and rewriting and revising a lot more after that first draft is complete if you’re a revision freak like me.

When I go through all of the drafts of my pirate fantasy for kicks, I find it soooo interesting to see just how different each of them is. Whether it’s from the changed first lines, the last, or even something as small as the first word your main character says, it’s cool for me to see just how my drafts evolve in so many ways after each round.

Today, I was super fascinated by the word counts since I have a problem with words (re: writing too much of them). When it came to my pirate fantasy, I was surprised I started out with such a humble beginning, one that slowly took a turn for the worst over the course of many months and many, many drafts . . . (as told by Pitch Perfect)

Draft 1: 69,590

Mood: Awww yeah, finished a masterpiece.

Draft 2: 74,887

Mood: Adding some more words like a boss ’cause I can. Holla.

Draft 3: 76,920

Mood: Enjoying boss-status. Adding even more scenes like a—

Draft 4: 88,899

Mood: WHOA—WORDS—WHERE DID YOU COME FROM

Draft 5: 93,887

Mood: Oh crap, there’s more. A LOT. Allow me to crawl up in a ball and cry.

(^^let’s be real: revisions can look a lot like this)

Draft 6: 98,257

Mood: Pleaseeeee no more! *on hands and knees* NO. MORE.

Draft 7-ish: 95,086

Mood: Awwww yeah, made it back in the sweet zone.

So that’s the story so far. A golden age period before the times got desperate. With my pirate fantasy, I’d always hoped it would turn out to be around 90-95k words (a.k.a. ANYTHING under the 100k kiss of death). Thankfully after that ginormous leap of words in the middle, I was able to wrangle them back down to the sweet spot. I definitely cried tears of joy when I got there.

Still, there’s a bit more a-polishin’ to go. Fingers-crossed that it’ll remain more or less the same amount instead of a scary word monster coming out of nowhere. But nevertheless, it’s always wonderful to see all the drafts or any bit of progress to show you’re one step closer to—in the wise words of Fat Amy—finishing it like a cheesecake.

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