About the writing of my current book

I was looking at my word count spreadsheet today and realized that my “Worked On” column in my “Daily Log” sheet gives me the perfect opportunity to know things about my writing that I might not know otherwise.

Here are some things I found interesting about the writing of my current book (book 19).


I wrote a few words.


I wrote a few more words.


I tried to get started on this book in earnest. Didn’t work.


I wrote 100 words but I’m not certain they were all on this book.


I started the real work on this book. I’ve had 23 zero word days since 5/25, but since I’m actively working on the book, I’m counting them in the total number of days I’ve been working on this book. :-)

What does that all add up to?

I’ve spent exactly 100 days working on this book (so far).

It’s been 537 days since I first started this book. And that means I’ve had this book in my head for 537 days.

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: I get bored when writing a book takes too long. I need to stop stalling when it’s time to start the next book—or just not allow myself to start writing until I’m ready to commit.  Even starting the book sets things in motion in my head that make me feel like I’m losing interest when I don’t continue to make progress.

Finally, ouch. It’s been at least 537 days since I put out the last book in this series (make that 685 to be exact). Sigh. This book is going to flop so hard.

And to tie this all up, I’ve finally found a title format I like for my accountability posts: Book 19, day 100. It ties in with both this post and the last. I can also imagine this being a nice way to keep up with just how long I’ve spent on any one book (or story) and how many books I’ve written. I like it. :-)

Book: Book 19, day 100.

Short story: Short story 13, day 2.

I only foresee one difficulty with this, if I don’t want to be doing multiple accountability posts when I work on more than one story on any particular day. I’ll just line them all up in the title or I’ll summarize at the top of the post for any I don’t want to do that with. :D

Book 19, day 100; Short story 13, day 2; Book 20, day—Oh no. That’s not going to work. I really don’t always know where some of these books are going to fall in line when I’m writing on them like this. Now I’m sad, because I really liked this idea.

Then again, I am trying not to overdo the multiple story trick. Until I can start regularly writing 2,000 plus words a day, working on more than one story at a time is just another way to take too long finishing any of them.

I’ll have to think about this some more.

Or maybe I won’t have to. I could just stick to only counting the current book as the one with a number, and list any extra work I’m doing on other books in the post sans number. Because truly, it’s only been once or twice out of all 30 titles I’ve written that I haven’t known which book I’m actively trying to finish first so I can publish it.

Whew. Crisis averted.

Now, on to finishing today’s minimum word count. I’ve really not been focused where I need to be today. Today has been a study in procrastination.

What to call a book?

All my published titles are books. They’re published individually and that means they’re books.

But when I talk about my books it’s awkward to explain them.

Do I call them books? By that I mean, do I say I have 32 books written and published? Because that really misleads people into thinking I’m talking about novels, when I’m most definitely not.

So do I say titles? I have 32 titles published.

Or do I break it down? I have 18 novels, 2 novellas, 10 novelettes, and 2 short stories published.

But that gets awkward fast. It’s not easy to say, or remember, or explain to those who don’t know what those terms mean. And you’d be surprised how many people outside of publishing just understand books as books and not novels, novellas, novelettes, and short stories.

To them, there’s long and short, and that’s it.

I’ve seen even experienced authors not get it right when the conversation turns to story length.

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has a length standard for their awards.

  • Novel: 40,000 words or more
    • Weirdly, novella-length works can be in this category if they’re published as individual works and the author requests it. So is a novella really just a shorter novel as far as SFWA is concerned?
  • Novella: at least 17,500 words but less than 40,000 words
  • Novelette: at least 7,500 words but less than 17,500 words
  • Short Story: less than 7,500 words

The Romance Writers of America has a shorter list of length requirements for their awards.

  • Novel = 40,000 words or more (by computer word count)
  • Novella = 20,000–40,000 words (by computer word count)

I have my own personal standard for lengths.

  • Novels > 40,000 words
  • Short novels / novellas > 15,000 to 40,000 words
  • Novelettes > 7,000 to 15,000 words
  • Short Story < 7,000 words

What made me decide on these lengths? My own writing habits. I have several 7,500 word stories and they just didn’t feel the same as the 6,000 word stories. More depth, more going on in the stories. So I adjusted.

Most people just really don’t care about those intermediate lengths. The nomenclature is irrelevant to them. 10,000 words is still “short” to them, and a 25,000 word story is longish. That’s certainly how it feels to me when I’m downloading and reading fan fiction. :D

I think to cover all my bases I’ll just say I’ve written and published 20 books and 12 short stories.

That’ll create the fewest questions, with the largest number of people.

I’m glad that’s decided. Now I can get back to work on my 21st book. :-)

(I’ll note that these numbers count only the books I’ve written to publish since 2012. I’ll just claim everything else as practice and leave it at that.)

Correction: I made a mistake! The numbers in this post are wrong. I have 18 books and 12 short stories. But 31 titles published. Explanation here. :)