A word about wordcount

November 5, 2010 at 3:56 pm (Uncategorized)

For Nanowrimo participants, wordcount is everything.

Plot, character, spelling, drama, dialogue – everything else is a lesser priority than wordcount. You might think that this isn’t the ideal way to write a novel, after all, if I’m going to have this book published then it needs to be readable! But you’d be surprised what can emerge when you let your imagination run wild and free. Writing at speed is tremendously liberating, and when you don’t have time to think about character development, they often develop all by themselves.

For example, a new character has just arrived – she just marches in to the cabin of my main character’s boat. I don’t know her name – now I do. Her name’s Joanna. She’s wearing a curious mix of clothes: heavy boots, socks, a mini skirt and a big jumper with cat hair and bits of twig in it. I have no idea why she’s dressed like this, rather than simply in jeans and trainers, but this is Joanna; there she is. As if that wasn’t enough of a surprise to me, for some reason she’s sporting a bruise on her cheek. When my main character questions her, she reveals that she had a fight with her sister about (of all things) whether or not it’s a good idea to get a mortgage.  All of these details about Joanna are not planned, and heaven knows they may not survive the editing process later on. My point is that if you let characters show themselves, they become real people who can then use you to tell their stories.

I have a title for the book, a provisional title. The Revenge of the Tide. What do you think? It’s the name of the boat…

Oh!  And wordcount total: 13,877.


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