I’m moving along at a measured pace — adding an average of 300 words a day to my current book. Not that the number of words matters to me, it doesn’t. The only reason I mention it is to let new writers know there are all kinds of writers. Some let the words gush out and try to type fast enough to catch them all. Some, like me, have to pull each word, kicking and screaming, into the world. Some have a compulsion to write; others make a conscious choice. How you write, how often, how many words you write per day are all unimportant, unless, of course, you are a writer under contract. But if you are a writer under contract, you would be writing, not reading this blog.

In the end, the only thing that counts is the finished story. The story doesn’t care how long it took you to write it. It doesn’t care if you bled words onto the paper or created it slowly, one puzzle piece at a time. A finished story exists complete and entire of itself, separate from the author and the author’s work habits.

Sometimes we wonder how our favorite authors write, but mostly we devour (or savor) their works, wanting only to immerse ourselves in the story. If it moves us to tears, makes us laugh or shiver, that’s all we care about for the moment. We don’t care how long it took for the author to create the effect. Being writers, of course, we might go back later and see how it was done, but at the time, all we are interested in is the story.

So, here’s the truth. You can call yourself a writer or not. You can write a thousand words a day or not. You can write every day or not. The only thing that counts is the story.

That’s what we novelists are all aiming for.


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7 Responses to “Story”

  1. okathleen Says:

    Great stuff, interesting read… Engage your reader!

  2. Wendy Hardin Says:

    Good blog, Pat. You are right about story—yet recently I learned how very short 250 words is once you have interviewed for a feature story in an article. I think there were 20 pages of legal pad notes and 4 hours of questioning involved. Then…to cut everything down to minutia…? Tough stuff. It is complete. I feel better. Word count is hard when you like to gush and give detail. Although, having said that the other side of the coin is that I was pleasantly surprised at how tight the story became when every single word counts. The focus rises to the top and the junk is thrown out. Editing is a skill, not sure I am the greatest at this skill, but it can improve with practice.

  3. Pat Bertram Says:

    Wendy, that’s why I like to write 100 word stories. They teach me to how to make every word count.

  4. okathleen Says:

    Have you tried a six word story? Book just published here in the UK. A life in six words. Tricky…

  5. Pat Bertram Says:

    Kathleen. No, but how’s this:

    Born in the saddle.
    Died there.

  6. okathleen Says:

    Sounds a bit painful!
    Hemingway’s attempt: ‘for sale: baby shoes, never worn’, that’s utter pathos.

  7. John Marion Francis Says:

    I never check word count until I’m done. I write only when I’m in the mood to write and never try to force write. Although I write short stories, just writing for the sake of writing something doesn’t work for me and would fill it with fluff.

    I write Twitter ( stories which hold you to 140 per post. I have readers and continue to get more. When I post a chapter the words have to be potent and compact to keep them reading and wanting more. It’s great challenge for me.


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