e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,

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One Woman's Writing: HOW Many Words in Print???

While doing online r/e/s/e/a/r/c/h/ goofing off today, I ran across something (now do not remember the train of hoofprints) that led me to Scalzi's blog post on George R.R. Martin's productivity  He compared his own in the same period of years to Martin's, as one way of showing that the delay in presentation of A Dance with Dragons wasn't due to lying around doing nothing...it's a perfectly respectable word count for the years involved.    But naturally, (or it seemed natural today, rather than, say, clean a room...)  that made me wonder what my productivity had been for those years. 

So I dug into the novel files to check the word lengths on the relevant novels, and added them up.

HOW many?   REALLY?  (run the numbers on the calculator again)

To my amazement, in the same period (actually a little less)  I had written & published more words than either Scalzi or Martin, and that's not counting the short fiction.  Just the novels, five of them: the last three Vatta's War books and the first two of the new Paksworld books.   And not just a few words more, but several hundred thousand more. 

So if Scalzi's 440,000 (counting the book coming out in 2012) and Martin's 416,000 are both respectable amounts of work for that period, what about 721,000 words for the same period, not counting my 2012 book or 885,000 counting it?   Double Scalzi's output.  More than double Martin's.

That made me curious about how many published words I have out there, just in novels.  I don't have all those novels in the same computer format (sigh!)  but I do remember what editors said about the lengths of some of them.  Twenty-three novels (or twenty-four counting next year's.)   None is under 100,000 words.  The science fiction ones are mostly in the 120-130,000 range; the fantasy ones are all over 150,000, most between 160 and 170.   Again not counting next year's book, the estimated total comes to over 3.1 million words--published and in print--in the novels alone, about 3.3 million if I include next year's book.  That's way more words than I thought (the knuckles of my right hand have tried to tell me) and more than my husband guessed.

Wordage alone is no guarantee of quality, of course.  In fact, words in print just means words in print.   Some people write more than I do; many write less, blah-blah-blah. 

But...damn.   I not only wrote three million words (lots more than didn't make the final cut, but that's beside the point) I got over three million words published.   And twenty-three books are all still in print.   My first book came out in 1988--23 years ago.   So...23 books in 23 years totaling over 3 million words...plus the short fiction (enough for another 100,000 word book.)

I have not been goofing off after all.  Those years include parenting a child with autism who is now a fine young man struggling (determined) to get through college.   Coping with many a life challenge, in addition to that: parent's final illness and death, husband's parent's final illness and death, various other things.  I think it explains the state of the house and maybe the state of my waistline. 


Tags: writing life
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