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I am a writer - late developer since I wasn't published until I was 50. I have now written 23 novels, numerous short stories and articles.


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Monday 26 April 2010
Worry seems to be the order of the day. Worry, worry, worry! And so unnecessarily. I’ve already blogged about the importance of preparation of the typescript – that it should be neat and tidy, with no spelling mistakes and with grammar as correct as you can make it. Today’s blog is not contradicting this. But back to the worriers those as yet unpublished friends of mine. Their obsession with word count bothers me. Word count is fine if it shows your progress, or if you set yourself a daily target. But my dear friends are obsessed with the length required. If it is a first novel and they worry where it will fit – is it too long for one publisher or too short for another (and don’t forget they haven’t, as yet, finished it.) Until it is complete there seems little point to me in bothering about length. GET IT DOWN! That first draft it will, invariably, be too long – but remember it is always easier to cut rather than add. Once the novel is finished you will be much more assured where it fits. Worry then, not earlier. Headers. Should I have a header? Should I put my name there? If you want, I answer. Some writers do, some don’t. Would it be better to have a footer? Either, I reply. Believe it or not, you would be astonished at the number of typescripts I see with no pagination. Then it’s my turn to worry in case I drop it and it would take me hours to put back in order. Header or footer – just get the numbering right. Inverted commas. Should they be single ‘ or double “ they ask. Complying to house style is eventually inevitable but at this stage you don’t even know who your publisher will be. What about a prologue, I’ve heard publishers don’t like prologues and I’ve written one, one friend wailed. So, you feel your book needs a prologue then write it. It is your book, it is your creation. Type face, size, anguish! Use of hooks. When should my hero appear? When you feel it’s time for him to be written. Trends, I’ve been told to watch out for trends. Trends come and go, by the time you’ve written your novel maybe that trend is no longer in! Inverted commas, word count, headers and footers, hooks, trends, type faces etc etc. Try to forget them. If your book is a good book these things will not matter. The agent and editor will see above such minor details. My advice is always the same, GET THE BOOK DOWN! And no book ever succeeded if it is the product of worry fear and angst. Relax and enjoy, writing should be fun.


  1. Well said, Annie!

    Get it written. Get it polished. Then make sure it is readable.

  2. I've done 853 words today, and I'd very much wanted to do 1,000 words.

    I've come to what is a natural break, and I'm thinking of your words, Annie. Instead of charging ahead to get to the magic number, I'm going to stop for today and start the new chapter tomorrow.

    Liz X

  3. Wise words. I spent far too much time at the beginning agonising over these things, but they're really not important at that stage!

  4. You've mentioned many of my worries in your post and your words have made me feel much better. I can relax and enjoy the writing. Thanks.

  5. That is so, so true.
    Great advice

    warm wishes