Failing Word Count

I write sparse.

To date, my longest draft has been about 58k. I then edited it down to 52k. On revision, my longest work is 55k. To me, these numbers will not get me published.

So while I have works at different stages of revision/beta/editing/querying, I am working on drafting some new stories. Why stop with just one or a few?

One of the stories I am drafting is actually one I started in 2012 with an online class by Brandon Sanderson called Write About Dragons. I had never written past chapter 4 in any version because that is when I realized I needed better outlining techniques. Now, I have drug out the revised outline and started writing on it.

That was when I found out I have a failing word count. Back before I knew how to create story structure, my early chapters on this story were 2-3k words. Now I struggle to get 1.5k words per scene/chapter. This means a story I originally hoped to make 65k words with 33 chapters, is now likely to be around 49k.

I’m a little lost about what I need to do to get my word counts up. Some of the suggestions I have gathered from conferences and craft books:

–more sub plots (I always like this idea, but it never seems to get me the word count I want and I hesitate about giving every novel a romance arc. While I love a good romance, I don’t need a romance in a thriller.)

–fleshing out settings/descriptions (I figure this is good for a few thousand words, but I wouldn’t want description to add 20% of my novel. Ouch)

–adding a scene/character

My beta readers tell me I need to spend more words on creating a solid ending. So that is my current goal in many of my revisions. I am trying to also make it a larger focus in my outlining so maybe I don’t have to create new ends during revision.

Anyway, what’s on my mind today: word counts


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