Monday, April 5, 2010

Counting words and synopses

I've just added a couple of word count meter things to my blog - over there -->

Book 2's word count is rather pathetic - but that does include deleting a lot of Book 2 last week (but, let's be honest, I'm talking 1000s, not tens of thousands of words... I have been a bit slack).

The good news is that I do now have a synopsis for Book 2! I entered my first ever US contest, and a synopsis was needed. It's a rubbish synopsis in as far as how it is written (it's unjudged in this competition) but I'm pretty happy with the story. And amazed I managed to wrestle it down from nearly 3000 words to 1200 to meet the contest requirements :)

I still need to work with it a LOT more, and I'm sure it will evolve as the story is written, but it's so exciting to have a road map. For years I thought I was a pantser, but I failed dismally at that. Sadly while I can pants cute scenes, I certainly can't pants compelling, emotional, believable motivations and conflicts. Damn!

So plotting it is for me. For Book 1, it wasn't until I wrote the synopsis (after it had taken me nearly two years to write the first 5 chapters) that I was able to actually finish the book - and then it only took a couple of months. Knowing exactly what is coming next seems to help strangle my ever present doubt demons.

So - what are you - plotter or pantser? And is there anyone else out there who - like me - finds the dreaded synopsis actually (gasp!) helpful?


  1. LOL on the dreaded synopsis being helpful! Think you're sadly right. After a few failed mss, I think I'm in between. I definitely need to plan the characters motivations, conflicts etc and I like to know what the key scenes for turning points in the story will be... but I like a bit of winging it as I go as well :)

  2. I'm a def plotter. I need to where I'm going and have direction before I write and (unfortunately) *sigh* find having the synopsis really useful.

    Any way good on you for submitting to the US contest - fingers crossed.

    Cheers, Joanne

  3. Rach - I live in hope that one day I'll "get" conflict a bit better and be able to spend more time winging it than I currently get too. I love just letting the story evolve :)

    Joanne - Hello! Not sure how good the submission to the contest was (very very rushed!) but on the very off chance I final, I fortunately get the chance to revise before final judging with the HMB editor. Phew :)

  4. Hmm a bit of both - I plot, pants, then plot, then pants again. In other words - I can't make up my mind WTF I'm doing...

    Good luck with the comps!

  5. Hahaha! Janette, there are many many WTF moments in my writing process :) Very glad to know I'm not alone!