Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Midlist Writer blog, where he talks about writing, adventure travel, caving, and everything else he gets up to. He also reproduces all the posts from Civil War Horror, so drop on by!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Indie Life: Ramping up that wordcount

As I've said before, I've been focusing more on fiction this year with a goal of writing 200,000 words of fiction in 2013, which sounds impossible until you realize it's only 550 words a day. Check out the progress bar at the bottom of this blog to see how I've been doing.

Well, it looks like I may not only meet that goal, but exceed it. Thanks to changes at one of my regular jobs, the travel blog Gadling, I'm now writing only a fraction of what I used to for them. There are fewer posts on Gadling now and no features. Since I was mainly a feature writer, that means I have lots more time on my hands.

So besides looking for work, I'm also writing a lot more fiction. The best marketing for an indie writer is their next book. I intend to get lots more out there. Not only am I getting out the next book in the House Divided series, which will be loosely connected to my published historical novel A Fine Likeness, I'm also working on my Tangier novel, a post-apocalyptic series, and I just finished a short story I'm sending to an anthology once I've had my beta readers look at it. I have plenty more in the works too.

Dean Wesley Smith has a great post on the myths about writing quickly. Lots of great and not-so-great writers are tremendously prolific, often using pen names to keep from saturating the market. While Dean overstates the case about not editing, I do think most writers agonize far too much over every word. Get it written, get it clean, and get it out there. Most people think that More Time=Better Book. I believe that equation should be changed to More Effort=Better Book, with effort being mostly independent of time. Focus and experience are the key elements.

Agree? Disagree? Tell me what you think in the comments section, and stay tuned for more fiction by yours truly!


  1. Are you on Facebook? I have an EXCELLENT group of buddies in a group called Writing Sprints R Us who sprint regularly. We sprint write or sprint edit--for me the two best things are 1) great friends supporting each other and 2) family worthy excuse (not now, I'm sprinting for an hour)--an hour is something they seem able to grasp.

    And thank you so much for the offer to help out! Happy to take you up on that, and while I'm not POST apocalyptic, I AM apocalyptic! I'd love it if you wanted to read! (I haven't actually had any male feedback yet)--first one is only 100 pages, so shout if you might have time!

    1. Not much of a sprinter, I'm afraid, more of a hiker and caver. And the rainy windy conditions in Santander aren't conducive to sprinting. :-)
      I'd be happy to give it a read. I'm traveling right now and won't be back to my Kindle until the second week of September. Will that be too late?

  2. Hmmm...I agree with writing quickly because I think it keeps the plot tighter. Disagree about not spending a significant portion of time editing. In my case, lots of editing makes the story tighter and the language more dense and rich. Both things I don't want to sacrifice.

  3. Give me more time and I'll give you more effort!
    Actually my writing time isn't really that long, even with revisions. It's the outlining stage that takes me the longest.

  4. I could knock out a 3000 word essay for uni in about 6-8 hours with very little revision and get the same mark as one I'd spend a week over, quite what it says about me I'm not so sure but I'm not really one for much revision... know what you want to write before you start I think is the most important.

    I toyed with writing fiction and read a few 'how to' books... one recommended writing a second draft immediately after the first but with out referring to it, has to be said that comment put me off.




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