Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How to Achieve High and Publishable Word Counts

Guest post by Rate Your Story judge Kelly Hashway.

For anyone who knows me, it’s no secret that I’m a fan of fast drafting. (For those who don't, just check out Kelly's compilation of published and upcoming books!) When an idea hits me, I sit down and type every chance I get until the book is drafted. And there’s actually a secret to fast drafting. Want to know it? Fast drafting is addictive.

The more I write, the more I want to write. The ideas just keep coming, sometimes faster than I can type, and I’m a fast typer. People say you have to enforce the “butt in chair” method to write, but I want to add to that. You need to get your butt in that chair as often as possible. You know how new ideas get you all excited and eager to draft? Well, when ideas spur from other ideas and the words start pouring onto the screen, it’s even better. I keep notebooks all over (by my bed, by my computer, in the living room) because whenever I have a snippet of dialogue or an idea come to me, I write it down. It makes me eager to get back to my laptop and keep drafting because I have material ready to type.

But drafting isn’t the answer to having a publishable book. It’s only the start. And as much as we covet that beautiful word count we worked so hard to achieve, we have to be willing to hit the delete key and rewrite. Time will allow you to do this. Put that draft away and come back to it after you work on something else. Yes, write another book in the meantime! The more you write, the more you’ll have to get published in the future. Then when you go back to your previous draft, you’ll be able to look at it objectively and see what needs to be done to make it the best manuscript possible.

So here are those steps again:
  •        Commit to getting those words down on paper (or screen)
  •          Keep writing until the book is drafted
  •          Put the draft away for a while
  •          Draft a new book
  •          Go back and revise book one with an objective eye
  •          REPEAT

Now go see how many publishable words you can write today.

Kelly Hashway grew up reading R.L. Stein's Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyin Drake. When she isn't writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as her own list of clients. 

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