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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Pager or Wordy?

Most writers track either word count or pages as they. They often say “I’ll write three pages a day”—these people I call pagers. Or a wordy will say— “I’ll hit two thousand words this week”.

I have always been a pager, the reason being that a 12 point New Times Roman font double spaced 300 page manuscript will be within about a dozen pages of a 300 page novel. Since I write 300 page novels, I know exactly how long to make my manuscript. Now, it’s not an exact science. If your publisher chooses a smaller type for the book, or if you have blank pages in between chapters, obviously, that’s going to be different. But typically it’s a pretty good gauge of things. However, this pager has hit a snag and been thrown into the dismal abyss of having to…gulp…change!.

I got a Mac laptop a few months ago and I love it, but despite my specific instructions to the salesman that I did not want a machine with quirks, he sold it to me anyway. The quirk that is currently making my eye twitch is that it’s stopped recording pages when I’m in “Normal” view. I can go to “Page Layout” or “Print layout” and it shows me how many pages I have, but I prefer to type in “normal” view and I’m stuck at 55 pages despite the 3,000 words I wrote last week.

So I am forced against my will to be a wordy and ya know what…it’s kinda cool. Now 50 pages is a nice round number, but likely 10 of those pages aren’t full pages because I ended a chapter, hence it’s kinda cheating. With word count it is what it is and if my goal is, say 80,000 words then I know exactly how close I am to that goal. So yesterday I determined I was going to get to 20,000 words and as I’m typing I’m watching the word count grow. I liked that…and yet I still miss my pages. It might take some time to get used to all this.

So, I’m curious—what do other writers do? Are you a Wordy or a Pager?


Stephanie Black said...

Josi, if you want to be a pager again, click on page layout, wait until the page count adjusts, and then go back to normal view. You'll have an updated page count. I don't know why Mac Word is quirky that way. And I wish it would still show the word count after you pass 100,000 words.

Heather Moore said...

I'm mostly a word counter. I'll set a word count goal, say 1,000 words a day, 5x week. Then I have a deadline goal that I want to hit, say 85,000 words for the first draft. Although 2 summers ago, I did a page count goal. 50 pages per month. It was simple that way. Thinking I only had to write an average of 1 1/2 pages per day was very doable during the summer months . . . with all the kids home it's hard to do much more :)

Annette Lyon said...

I'm a wordy, definitely. Most of my scenes land at about 1500 words a piece, and somehow I end up with about 2 scenes per chapter. I also know that I can crank out 1500 words on my trusty AlphaSmart Neo while I sit in the dance class lobby during my girls' class on or the floor of my younger daughter's tumbling class (see, this is how I draft--in crazy snippets). The Neo doesn't show pages, but it does show word counts. 1500 words in a sitting or scene and I figure I've done good!

G. Parker said...

I'm a big time wordy. I love that word count. Probably because I've done so many contests that require word count. Anyway...words are in! LOL.

C.J. said...

Normally I'm into pages as well, but lately I've been slogging at such a slow pace I'd have to say I'm a paragrapher. But you know I use a Mac too and at the bottom it tells me what page I'm on and the word count too, if I want. I'll have to show you.