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  • Beth Daniels, aka Beth Henderson, J.B. Dane

50,000 Words Proves You Can Do It!


When you come down to it, 50,000 words is not a complete story in a number of genres. Quite a lot of the “contestants” doing National Novel Writing Month will still have a long way to go (if when all told the story will need to be 100,000 or more, as some fantasy and action-adventure tales are) or be within sight of the finish line, a true goal of 65,000 or 85,000 words for possibly a mystery or longer romance novel.

I’ve done NANO more than once where, while hitting the 50,000 word mark, or more likely going over it, I was still barely half way through the storyline.

Sad to say, a couple of those stories then languished where I left them. There is something about the holiday season that makes sticking to a writing schedule next to impossible for me, so I don’t even try to do anything but edit that month. No new stuff dealt with at all.

There are also stories that never made the 50,000 word mark within 30 days. Those have had one thing in common – they were historicals and things fell apart when I realized I needed to know a few more historical facts to proceed. Taking time out to do the research meant I didn’t move ahead as need be. I now don’t attempt anything with historical elements in it for NANO.

But I’ve also finished books that already HAD over 50,000 words written and were in need of 50,000 more – something that NANO set up for me to accomplish easily.

Personally, I don’t see why two novellas that add up to 50,000 words or more couldn’t be written for the competition if you’re super power is consolidating a story into a shorter form. Suffice to say, “short” isn’t my super power. It doesn’t mean it can’t be yours.

Whether it is a complete novel, part of one, or a collection of shorter works that will add up to 50,000 words a month that you write this month, the best thing about NANO is that it shows you CAN write fiction to a schedule.

That’s the true win!


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