When I wrote my first book, I had never written anything that long before, not by a long shot. For young adult novels I have a general guideline of around 80 000 words. It helps keep me on track and make sure my pacing is good. Are the right kinds of things happening in roughly the right places?
My first couple of books usually had me getting close, and wondering what scenes or details to add to flesh out the story and really let the characters grow. Well, book 4 of the Forest Guardians is my fifth book between two pen names, and now I've reached a new stage in my writing.
I'm nearing the end of the first draft. My first drafts should be around 70 000 words if I don't want to go too far over 80 000 words in the finished book, because I don't include descriptors and scene details in the first draft to any richness. Here I sit, with about 8 000 words to go, and I know I'm going to be a little over my goal. I've reached that "how am I supposed to tie all that together in that little space" stage of writing.
This time, even the side scenes directly tie into the main plot, so I'm not planning on cutting anything yet. As long as I stay under 90 000 words, I'm happy. As some of my readers could be on the younger end of Young Adult, I keep them in mind. Still, it's a bit of a change, going from adding scenes to set up the series and characters verses having just enough space to let her adventure unfold.
We grow as writers and get better at writing, at least if we work at it we do. I look forward to seeing what other stages of growth I go through as a writer. it was only last March when I decided to become a published author, so my journey so far has been one year long. I've gone from trying my first book and feeling uncertain to sitting down nearly every morning and letting my characters tell me what they want to experience. Now it tends to flow, more often than not. I let my stories come to me and am usually pleasantly surprised at what they bring.
How has your journey as a writer progressed? What changes have you noticed?
I’ve been writing stories for myself for years. Now, I’m a published author. No genre is off limits, though I have some favorites.