The Grand Old Word Count

sb10067155f-001A little while ago, I saw a challenge – not sure where, could have been Goodreads or Facebook – where indie authors were challenged to take all the stories they had written and tabulate a total word count for them. Like a lot of writing exercises, it was clearly designed to put things in perspective.

All too often, writers can get hung up on sales numbers or the total number of books they’ve managed to get out there. Especially for indies, these numbers can seem underwhelming or discouraging at times. So naturally, its fun to take a look at some bigger numbers and see just how much we’ve really shared, because that is what writing is all about right?

So I did my grand total. And just for some added perspective, here’s some other big numbers for comparison. The average person has a vocabulary of between 35,000 – 75,000 words*, depending on their age, level of education, and life experience. And in the course of a day, people speak between 7,000 and 20,000 words, depending on their gender (apparently, women speak more than men)**.

ar_storybookBetween Data Miners, Whiskey Delta, Papa Zulu (yet to be published, but is complete), my Legacies short stories, Source, my Yuva shorts, and other assorted tales I’ve put up on this site, my grand total of words is:

531,944 words published so far!

And that doesn’t include the countless words that are sitting in my Stories folder that haven’t been published yet. I’m telling you, there has to be at least 250,000 words between all those unfinished stories, novellas, and shorts. So I really can’t count those… yet!

word_cloudBut I would be remiss if I didn’t include the roughly 1250 articles I’ve published on this site. God only knows how many words I’ve spewed in those! Obviously, I’m not about to add them all up, but a random sampling of five articles put the average at about 2000 words each. Multiply that by 1250 articles and you’ve got… oh my God… 2.5 million words!

Okay, let’s upgrade that then to roughly 3.000.000 words published so far. So basically, in the two and half years that I’ve been running this blog, I’ve written the equivalent of what an average man speaks in the course 428 days straight, or the average woman does in 150 days. Is it me, or is that nuts?

And now I put it to you indie writers… between your indie published stories, blog, articles, short stories, novellas, full-length novels, and flash fiction, just how many words have you generated and shared with the world?

*bbc.co.uk

**dailymail.co.uk

NaNo News

Okay, good new and bad regarding the NaNoWriMo challenge this year. Good new I got a lot of support from people who told me they wanted to participate but couldn’t. It seems that every year, we find ourselves overloaded with our current responsibilities and unable to take on the task of additional writing. As such, my friends and colleagues who are also indie writers wished me well as I attempted to take on a new novel amidst everything else.

Bad news is, I’m dropping out of the challenge! Yes, I really wanted to take this on and thought it would be just fine to add a daily writing requirement of about 2000 words to my articling, editing and existing writing responsibilities. But unfortunately, it’s not working out. It’s not that I find myself particularly overburdened or stressed out, or the fact that I’ve gotten sick in the last few days – although those were a factor in this decision. No, the real problem is far worse. It seems that I’ve lost interest in my story idea! For a writer, I happen to think that this about the worst thing that can happen.

However, there’s an upside to this, a second bit of good news. Dropping one project allows me to make time for another. And it just happens to be the one I would rather be doing. In order to make time for NaNoWriMo, I decided to put off authoring the sequel to Whiskey Delta – aka. Pappa Zulu. But with Etemenanki sidelined, I’m now able to focus on it again. And I happen to know there are some people who would prefer to be reading it. So look for new entries. If I turn it out at a good enough rate, I might even be able to enter it into NaNo instead 😉

Whiskey Delta Complete!

It’s finally finished. After 14 weeks, forty-nine chapters, and 93,741 words (give or take a few), my tale of the zombie apocalypse is finally complete! And now I begin the process of editing the manuscript, doing some promos, and publishing it indie style! And when it’s ready, it will be available on Amazon-Kindle and Createspace, both in paperback and ebook formats.

And just to be a nice guy, I will be making it available for a limited time for free! So stay tuned, I will be making the link and coupon code available for all those who want a free promotional copy. Tell your friends! And while you’re here, maybe you can help me with the cover design and writeup. How’s this look:

“No one can confidently say that he will still be living tomorrow.”
-Euripides

“Ambulans mortuus: noun. Lit. “moving dead” (lat.). A viral strain that appeared in the Western Hemisphere in the early 21st century. Origin unknown. Characterized by high fever and death in infected subjects, followed by reanimation and extremely violent behavior. No known cure.”

New Mexico, the domain of the Rattlesnake, and the Whiskey Delta. For years, the undead have been roaming the countryside, feeding on the living and spreading their disease. But within a small compound outside of Espanola, the men and women of the 200th Infantry are fighting to take back the country. Under the command of Major General Thur, aka. “The Mage”,  they hold the line against the armies of the undead. However, things soon escalate as the Mage discovers an opportunity to end the war sooner than expected. All that’s needed is a desperate mission into the ruins if Los Angeles, ground zero in the war against the Whiskeys, and a land heavily contested by human foes… What could go wrong?

Whiskey Delta Now a Double Novel!

Hmm, I think that title might be a bit misleading. What I mean to say is that my serial novel – Whiskey Delta – which I’ve been posting for the last few months, is now officially twice the prescribed length of a novel. Yes, according to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Novel Writers of America, a novel is any work that is 40,000 words or higher in length. And, as of my last count, Whiskey Delta weighed in at a hefty 82,675 words.

I was really kinda hoping this novel might be the exception that proved the rule. Instead, it’s just reinforced the rule! The rule being that I love to go on and on and can always find a reason to say more, write more, and keep going until they turn the lights off. But some people seem to like what I’m doing with it – you know who you are! – so I plan to finish it forthwith, and word counts be damned!

Speaking of which, it is only a few chapters short of completion. And once it is finished, I will be placing all chapters into a single compendium, tidying it up a bit, and of course, adding more chapters! Yes, after reviewing much of what I wrote I felt some pacing chapters and background might be needed for the sake of turning it into a true novel, and not the sort of thing people read in installments. Brevity, thy name is not Matthew, Williams, or any combination thereof!

I hope people will look for it once it’s complete, and will stay tuned for more on the Whiskey Delta front. Once the first novel is finished, I plan to begin work on the sequel: Pappa Zulu! Yep, I figure whereas the first book was all about the war on the zombies and the mission to find Patient Zero, book two will deal with the race to find a cure, and answer some mysteries that were laid out in the first. For one, it will become clear that the “Mage” is not all that he appears, and that he may have an agenda which goes far beyond fighting the dreaded undead. And of course, the main characters will be back for more action, once they heal from all the wounds I gave them.

Onto more writing and more zombie fiction! Stay tuned, and thanks to all those who have made a point of following my first serial novel on this site. Can’t imagine I could have done it without your support, encouragement and constructive criticism, and I don’t care to either 😉

Word Counts and Serial Novels

Good news everybody! Well, it’s kind of a moot point, but I was pleased to see it happen. After a few months of writing and posting Whiskey Delta on this site, I am pleased to note that it has officially reached the requisite length where it can safely be considered a novel!

As of my most recent publication, Chapter 26, Whiskey Delta has reached a whopping 51,181 words! And based on the guidelines provided by Wikepedia, which were in turn provided from novelist Jane Smiley, anything over 40,000 words is considered a novel-length work. Check it out:

  Classification          Word Count

Novel                 over 40,000 words
Novella              17,500 to 40,000 words
Novellette          7,500 to 17,500
Short Story        under 7,500

Yes, as of the latest posted chapter, Whiskey Delta has reached 51,181 words. And it’s still several chapters away from completion. Don’t know why, but that feels kinda cool. Perhaps it’s something left over from my school days, a time when meeting the mandated word count was important. Not that that’s every been a problem for me. If anything, I’ve been known to go way too long. I really gotta learn to be more concise!

Stay tuned for more Whiskey Delta and a slew of other writing projects!