Word Counts

Today I made a mistake. On my morning walk, I listened to a podcast about writing. And now, I’m struggling to write my three pages because my head is full of the business side of things (I’ve even paused during my pages to blog, because I need to empty out my thoughts before getting back to it).

Anyway, on the podcast a chap talked about how longer books sell better. This worries me. Not because I tend to write shorter books these days, but because it could encourage authors to write longer books for the sake of it, rather than being dictated by story

I’ve read many modern books that are bloated and rambling. I worry that trade-published books want to be bigger to appear ‘worthy’ of the higher price tag, and I worry that indie-published books want to be longer so they can charge more. (Even though length shouldn’t influence price, in my opinion.)

All of this focus on word count and page length detracts from what really matters: the story. A story is as long as it needs to be.

I estimate my current book will end up around 140 pages in the first draft, but that’s simply a guess, based on how long my recent books have been and how the story is unfolding before me. I used to write longer books, but then I got better, and became more concise. In my view, a story should be told in as few words as possible. 

So, this is my concern, and why I’ve struggled to focus this morning. Now I’ve spewed out my thoughts, I better get back to my pages. One down, two to go…