There And Draft Again

A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers

Writing By Numbers November 2, 2013

Filed under: Writing — thereanddraftagain @ 6:18 pm
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In September, I wrote my first short story. Between 1,000 and 4,000 words was the requirement. For October, I wrote a short “scene”. 250 words or less.

My short story, THE DEVIL’S GAME, needed a beginning, middle, and end. It needed sensory description, voice, 3-D characters, tension. Just like a full length novel. My first draft came in at 4,096 words. Not bad for my first run, huh? My final draft ended at 3,263 words.

That’s a difference of 833 words.

Next came my “scene”, UNEARTHED. Unlike a full length novel or short story, this just needed understanding. Someone’s doing something and this happens type of thing. My first draft hit 302 words. Ouch. My final draft ended at 246 words.

A difference of 56 words.

Before I started either of these, I researched the methods used for short-story writing and read other short stories. I tried to discern what made them work, what made them good. Then I started mine. Writing with a word count limit is challenging. Editing and revising to stay below word count AND make the story decent is damn hard. Every. Single. Word. Counts.


I knew this already, but now I have a greater appreciation for it. And while my shorts are far from perfect, I learned a great deal.

Now I’m doing a complete one-eighty. It’s NaNoWriMo, A.K.A. Projectile Word Vomiting Month. To reach the 50,000 word goal, 1,667 words per day are needed. While I’m not “officially” nano-ing, I am going to finish one of my WIPs.

Once I’m done, I’ll put it away for a couple of weeks. Work on something else. When I take it back out to edit and revise, I’ll use the “Writing by Numbers” tools I garnered while writing my shorts. Tools that taught me how to be more meticulous, more creative.

Tools I hope will make my stories more magical.

Until next month, happy writing!



One Response to “Writing By Numbers”

  1. deshipley Says:

    In my personal writing life, I’ve found trimming a story down far easier than beefing it up. A lot of people seem to have come to expect books with the heft of a dictionary, when not every tale needs to stretch out that far to get its essence across.
    That said, it’s NaNoWriMo, so yeah, being concise will keep until December. X)

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