Posted by: Kathleen Mix | April 16, 2015

Million-Word Magic

Many years ago, I read an advice-to-aspiring-novelists article that suggested a person had to write a million words before they could completely understand all the elements needed to produce a successful book. The takeaway message was that writers write and learn by doing.
At the time, I had just finished struggling for eighteen months to complete my first 50,000-word manuscript. The idea of writing a million words seemed daunting.
I now have a different perspective. I’ve finished my tenth novel, and I’m close to that magic number.
I haven’t officially tallied the words I’ve written in finished books, unfinished books, and short stories. But rough estimates put me close to the million-word mark, and I figure I’ll know the exact word that takes me across the line. Everything about writing will suddenly fall into place. I won’t have to work half as hard, because I’ll have arrived at the point where I unequivocally know what I’m doing.
Suddenly I’ll know how to begin a story in just the right place and hook every reader’s interest. I’ll be able to effortlessly make every character intriguing, lovable, and relatable. I’ll know the secret of plotting. I’ll never hit a brick wall, and my middles won’t seem to lag. Every plot will unfold in perfect order and at the perfect pace. I’ll no longer have to tug at my hair and wonder why I ever started the dang book.
At least that’s what I’m hoping. I’ve learned a lot about writing in the last fifteen years and still have this fantasy that some day I might have all the answers.
My fingers are crossed. (Which makes it very difficult to type.) I’ll let you know if sometime soon a magic word suddenly transports me into the land of full knowledge.
Meanwhile, has anyone out there reached the million-word threshold and suddenly found enlightenment?


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