Saturday, January 24, 2015

Survival Saturdays #5

Writing advice to help you survive the first draft. 

Starting a novel can seem like a pretty daunting task--and it is.  James Dashner, author of the best-selling Maze Runner series spent three years on the first book alone.

So let's break things down and make it seem a little less daunting, and little more manageable.

First off, let's clarify the word count:

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

Personally, I like to shoot for 50,000 for my novels.  

Now for a little math.  (thought you writers could escape the subject, didn't ya?)

Let's say you set a goal to write 1000 words a day.  To achieve a 40,000 word novel, that would take a mere 40 days.  Bring that goal up to 1500 and you'll have a draft done in a month.

But it doesn't have to be 1000. It could be 500, or even 100.  (100 words a day will take 400 days to complete a novel)

And really, a year is quite realistic/reasonable.  It usually takes me anywhere from 8-12 months to get a first draft completed.

Basically what it will always come down to is actually sitting down to WRITE.  It doesn't have to be perfect--or even pretty.  This is just a first draft.  All you need to do is just GET IT OUT THERE.  Write a little each day--or even every other day--and you'll get there.

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle


  1. Okay, this was really encouraging. It makes it seem a little less daunting. Maybe if I cut everything into words I won''t get so hung up on doing it by scene or chapter-wise and getting terribly distracted and depressed. Of course, since our hard-drive crashed I've been writing by hand and can't look at the word count...sigh. But it does make me want to start writing more and to actually get a first draft DONE! Thanks! You really inspire me. I can't imagine writing books and updating a blog everyday too, I get stuck just writing the books! Your blog is a little ray of sunshine (well, larger than little. A big ray of sunshine) in a rather dreary January. It's the highlight of my day. Thank you so much!

    1. Thank you so much! I'm SO glad you found this helpful! You can finish that first draft. I just know it. All it takes is wanting to, and the rest will unfold with time.

      And I must say, your comments never fail to make MY day. Nothing motivates me more than feeling appreciated, and that I'm actually DOING something worthwhile with my favorite passtime and hobby. (although I hope it will become much more than a mere hobby. To write as my main career would be the greatest thing to ever happen).