Redundant redundancies and a better direction lead to a BIG negative word-count

Yesterday I finished with 22,297 words.

Today I started in a bit before 8 AM, full of coffee and certainty that I knew where I’d be going.

Ohio 3 2021 04 13 at 8 52 15 AM
First cut in word count

I picked up exactly where I left off, and adding to yesterday’s scene — and then, hitting a chunk of older material that was wrong — I pulled out 673 words.

Fine. It happens.

I was still working through the problem scene… and I thought I was near the end of it…

And then I hit a big chunk of text that was older, set off as a separate scene from a different POV, that I’d forgotten I put in there.

It had to have been some of the words I got last week, before I discovered the current path and why it’s better. That POV and its entire contents were wrong for the direction I’ve decided to take.

Ohio 3 2021 04 13 a 9 36 49 AM
Second cut in word count

So I cut all 1581 words of that. Big sigh here, but this is a novel, and it’s the middle book of the series, and a lot of pieces I’m pulling in from the first and second books at this point have to mesh.

So I removed what was more than a day’s planned words… and I kept writing.

I made great progress. I love what I got today, but no sooner had I finished the scene and started reading the stuff that followed than I discovered a third chunk of text that does not at ALL fit the new, better, much more compelling conflict that I found yesterday.

And this one really hurt. I cut out 2,249 words.

Ohio 3 2021 04 13 at 9 38 52 AM
Third cut in word count

I still wrote more, but after three hours and change, I’m still buried deep in negative numbers, and at this point I have to walk away to do the other stuff I have to deal with on Tuesdays.

So I end with a count of -1319, and I know that I got a lot of words, and I know I like what I finally ended up with… But DAMN.

I’m sort of dreading tomorrow.

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4 responses to “Redundant redundancies and a better direction lead to a BIG negative word-count”

  1. Phoenix Avatar

    I just watched a YouTube video wherein the host (who was explaining the back-and-forth between editor and writer in traditional publishing, having recently gone through the experience with his most recent book) uttered the immortal phrase, “First, you write a book… I have no idea how that happens.”

    It seems rather appropriate for days like these.

    1. Holly Avatar

      I like that. I have a different process, and I know how it works. And acknowledge that there are days when it doesn’t work well.

      But over time, the process gets me through.

  2. Mike Lucas Avatar

    Makes you wonder if words are even the right way to track progress on a novel! It’s like, you made all this progress in figuring out a better path etc. yet have negative words to show for it! (But I doubt there is any better way to track progress; not tracking words would be giving up on tracking progress at all.)

    1. Holly Avatar

      They work for me. Not always easily, not always gently. But I can look every day at what I have accomplished, and by progress over time remains clear.

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