3 Things I Discovered Writing My Novella

There are 3 things I discovered while writing my novella, and they were things I completely underestimated. One of those things is the number of words I would be able to write per day. That really surprised me. When I started writing it was more for fun. I think I was about fourteen or fifteen (OH.MY.GOD! That is TWENTY YEARS AGO!) and my BFF would read my handwritten short stories. She loved them! Then my sister read them, she also loved them. A few years later I moved this writing to the online MSN Message boards. I was soooo into B2K.

I was Mrs. Dreux Pierre Fredericks! Lil Fizz was my husband! Well, Lenny Kravitz always was and always will be the number one husband. The second husband was Ginuwine, then came Fizz. We could have had our own little show called The Brother Husbands. But I divorced Ginuwine and Fizz when social media became the new way for artists to stay relevant. I loved the mystery and not knowing who they really are as people. That just ruined the fantasy.

I still love Ginuwine his music, Fizz does not have any real music to speak of, he was just an extra. But… oooh! Social media is a disservice to a lot of celebrities. That is why I am not into celebrity life at all.

Writing the first novel on the MSN message boards, I had no idea about the importance of word count. But this time around, I learned 3 things that forever changed my idea of writing.

  1. Word count is a bitch
  2. Editing should be done in sections
  3. I am a pantser

Number One: Word Count is a BITCH! Well, not really, I just underestimated it. When I wrote the B2K fanfiction on those message boards, I had no idea about word count. Now that I am writing my novella for the competition, I realize, more and more, that word count is soooo important.

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I thought 50,000 words equaled about 100 pages, or so. But when I got to 20,000-something words, not even 25,000, and I saw I was on page 57… I was thought, ‘… So… I MIGHT have underestimated it.’

You will not believe me, but I just wrote for the fun of it. Sure, I thought about self-publishing and traditional publishing. But I never really took it seriously until last year. Before that, it was just fun. I cared more about page-count.

“YEAH! I am at page 60! WHOOOOHOOO!”

But now that I am writing a novel (planned to write one, but now realize my story will not reach the 50,000-word mark), I am more, ‘When will this ever finish?!’ My novel quickly went from novel to novella. I found myself entering Tyler Perry territory where I just write scenes to reach the word limit. I cut out so much CRAP during the editing process.

If you are new to writing, and also paid attention to the page-count, STOP THAT NOW.

There is a big difference between writing for fun and writing to get published. This is also how I discovered the difference between a novelette, a novella, and a novel. Go figure.

Number Two: Editing. Do not edit everything at once. First, read it to check for typos, then words you missed, then grammar (or a proofreader to do this), then go to developmental editing. Some people can do it all at once, but I cannot. For me, it is best done one thing at a time.

And now, for the last thing I learned writing my novella….

I am a pantser! This is nothing new to me, I pantsed my way through my very first (and most of my unfinished) novels. Those really were novels, I checked the word count. Maybe I surpassed the 50,000-word limit because I did not pay attention to the word count, I just wrote and wrote and had had fun.

But I am a pantser and I love it. I do take time to plot and think about the story (beginning, climax, end), the characters, etc. That helps me during the writing, because I already know the story and who the protag is.

But when writing, I look at my notes and see, for example, Chapter Two is about a bar fight. Then I have outlined the entire scene in my notebook, but when I sit down to actually write the scene, it will still involve a bar fight, but it will not be written according to my notes. I just wing it.

Good luck to all my fellow pre-published writers out there (I dislike ‘aspiring author/writer’. If you write regularly, published or not, you ARE a writer).


Tiara Ray

I am grateful & blessed to have the life I live. (Soon to be) Traditionally published & self-published author in her mid-thirties. I unsuccessfully tried changing this picture numerous times, so I just left it. I wish you lots of love & may you get what you need. <3

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