There are many different types of writers.

There are the ‘under-writers’ who write a lot smaller than the intended final word-count to the point where their first draft is skeletal.

Then there are the ‘over-writers’ whose first drafts turn out in numbers of 150k and then they have to cut down 50k words.

But how do you know where you fit?

This was a big issue for me, mainly because when I finished the first draft, it turned out exactly where I wanted it to – 80,000 words. So when I returned to my WIP I was stumped. Did I need to add words, or delete them? in my mind, this called for a reread where I paid attention to length over everything else.

It took a week, but I did it. I made extensive notes on every chapter for when I edited them, and I was all set… Apart from one thing. Did I need to add words or delete them? In my reread I had found that my pacing was too slow, but I had also found that many of my subplots went unfinished. For example, I had woven one in near the start, but then towards the end, I had just sort of forgotten it.

Or another example – I had a group of rebels in my story but… They served one purpose. To come and help my MC. Not to actually rebel against anything, why would they do that?  So I knew I needed to add to that, after all, they were called rebels for a reason.

So how did I solve this?

When I worked on solving my subplots, I worked crucial information into the ‘slower’ scenes so I hope the reader doesn’t feel like they’re being cheated. And then to add a greater contrast and keep the reader interested, I upped the stakes in the faster-paced scenes.

I made sure all the subplots were finished.

And now I’m back to editing.

After getting a third of the way through using this method, I have established that I am an under-writer. Just barely, but I’m still an under-writer. My ms is growing, and currently sits at 85k. With the extra chapters I’m adding to resolve plot-holes, I expect this manuscript to come in after this draft at anywhere around 90k, probably slightly more.

The problem is with writing, is that nothing is obvious.

Are you an excessive over-writer, an excessive under-writer, or is the line for you, like me, blurred?

How do you cope with this?

(I’m sorry for not posting in ages)

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AuthoredHorses

I'm Kat, a fantasy writer who is now pleased to say that she has successfully written a complete manuscript. I post when I hit certain milestones in my novel writing, but don't expect me to make you a priority. My book comes first 🙂

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5 comments

  • Totally an over-writer! I don’t like to set an estimated word count. Instead I just let the story do its thing and see where we come out. I do, however, set a minimum word count. For my current WIP that was 50,000. By the time I was done, it was 110,000! I like how you mentioned your unfinished subplots . . . I think I might have a few I have to go finish now, thanks!

  • I tend to be an over-writer, usually because I enjoy writing fun scenes that don’t make it into the book. Not to mention I delete many scenes either because they don’t function as they should, or they don’t fit the tone.

    For example, my “scrap pile” (the document where I place scenes and writing bits that didn’t work) is over 25,000 words. That’s longer than book 2 of Adams & Williams at the moment, for a comparison.

  • This was super interesting, because I’ve never thought of this!! Honestly, I’d say I’m with you. In the past I thought I was an overwriter, but recently I’ve realized I’m more of an underwriter, but that is only in terms of leaving out crucial plot points in the first draft, which I think is normal because things must always be fixed and rewritten.

    Overall I’d say that when it comes to the writing itself, I tend to overwrite, because I write scenes that are completely unnecessary and end up taking them out, the only problem is what I’m left with is now underwritten.

    So now that you mention it, I think I agree with you by saying my overwriting/underwriting is a little blurred!

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