I was first introduced to CV Hunt and her work when she asked me to read and review her first book back when I was running a review blog for indie authors many years ago. It was fantastic and I went on to read and review several of her other books and haven’t found one yet that I didn’t like. She can tell a fantastic and bizarre story with very few words on the page, so I asked her to talk about word count today and how she determines the length of her work…
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Yikes! That’s something I’ve never said. Most of my books are novella length. Whenever I start a project I usually say, “This book is going to be 40,000 words.” I haven’t hit 40,000 words—or close to it—in a long time. I like to let the story play out how it wants. When it’s finished, it’s finished. Sure . . . I could go back and fill in some things here or there to make it a little longer, but a lot of times that doesn’t feel right to me. I like to give the reader enough information to keep them going and not weight them down with small details.
When I begin writing I like to have a general story and characters in my head (I don’t do an outline). And I begin the first chapter as if it were a short story that could be read in a stand-alone fashion. I found this works best for me. I view each chapter as a short story from that point forward.
Sometimes I fall in love with a story, or character, or idea, and I know after a few chapters if I will make the 40,000 word goal or not. I’ve known on my last couple of books after a few chapters I wouldn’t make it. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the stories or characters. It was how I was writing the book. I was keeping details to a minimum and only telling the reader what they needed to move forward.
But this time I exceeded 10,000 words by the third chapter. So I guess I’m writing a novel. Which isn’t my normal style. But I’m okay with it. Because the story will tell itself. And when it’s finished, it’s finished. And whatever the word count ends up being I’ll be fine with . . . even if it doesn’t end up novel length.
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You can find all of CV’s books here! Baby Hater and Other People’s Shit are two of my favorites.