W.I.P. Milestone

Milestones-300x259I’ve reached a writing milestone. Whoop whoop! I celebrated by dancing naked round the garden waving cheerleader pom poms. Okay, that’s a lie and a scary image. I celebrated with my hubby and my old pal Pierre Smirnoff.

imagesThe milestone was writing over 50k words in my Work in Progress (WIP). The reason it’s such a big milestone (apart from actually finishing obviously!) is that the end is in sight. The length of an average commercial novel is between 80-90k words long. So to pass the halfway mark means I can start to visualise a whole book.

wipWhen you start a new WIP, it’s easy to be carried away with the first flush of excitement as your idea begins to take shape. But then after the first few thousand words, reality chaps  your front door in the form of a fantasy Writing Guru and delivers a harsh message, “This ain’t gonna happen unless you sit your fat ass down and type for hour upon hour upon hour. So why’re you standing there staring at me? Go girl, and get writing!” (The fantasy Writing Guru has a dodgy American accent).


So the word count creeps up but in the early days there’s always the danger that you’ll hit the wall and can’t keep up the momentum. I imagine that it’s a bit like reaching the 20 miles mark on a marathon and you don’t feel you’ve got the energy to keep running ( I’ll stick with imagining thank you. The idea of running at all is as frightening as the naked garden dance).

But I’ve been using the classic concept of the Story Arc narrative, so I’ve got a clear idea of the chronological construction of the plot of my novel and this has really helped me steer the characters up and over the climax. Typically, a narrative arc looks something like a pyramid, made up of the following components: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. I’ve already reached the climax and can picture the journey to the final resolution.


I’m confident now that I can make it to the finishing line.  I’m not going to set myself a ridiculous target to complete the novel but if life doesn’t get in the way too much, I’d love to have it finished by the end of the summer year. Watch this space…

Have you ever hit the wall with your writing? Is there a point when you know you’re within sight of the end?

do it

10 thoughts on “W.I.P. Milestone

  1. Hurrah! Well done Helen! I have to agree, hitting a milestone like this is a great incentive to keep going. It means you’re over the halfway point and the finishing line is looking a lot closer than before. You also know at this point that the story is working – which can be a blessed relief. Keep up the hard work! I’ll look forward to reading it at some point.

    • Thanks Lynne! You’re right, it definitely helps to keep me motivated and know that there’s enough material left to tell a complete story. Hopefully I’ll have it finished soon…:)

  2. Well done Helen!
    Whenever I feel my word count sliding I always think of Jack Torrance in the Overlook hotel (The Shining) and remember that that sort of productivity – reaming off page after page – comes at a terrible price if you have a family. I know you do to so your achievement is all the more impressive (especially if they are all still talking to you!) Give me a shout if you are ever wanting a beta reader!


    • Thanks Tom! I read your last post about the balancing act between family commitments and the desire to spend time on other activities. I’m lucky in that my sons are teenagers and aren’t as demanding of my time as younger children. But something has to give to write a novel and often that means not watching TV etc. Thanks for the offer of reading, I might just take you up on that one day…:)

  3. Congrats Helen. It’s a fab feeling isn’t it? I tend to have finished a first draft at around 50k words, so I know I have the whole story there, it just needs a lot of fleshing out in subsequent drafts. At around 20k in a first draft I might begin to think I’m going to get a whole novel out of this!

    • Thanks Louise. It feels good to get this far but unlike you the whole story is not in the bag yet at the 50k mark. It’s interesting to hear your different writing milestones. I think I need to go beyond at least 30k to feel the story has got novel potential. Here’s hoping this WIP goes the distance…:)

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