I have just typed the 100,000th word of The Hunted Angel. For what it is worth, the word was think. It won’t remain that way, of course, because the manuscript must be edited, and that will change everything. This leaves somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 words to go, I estimate.
A more reliable guide from the reader’s point of view, is the page count. As I have mentioned before, the manuscripts of my books are laid out to make creating and editing text as easy as possible. This means double-spaced 12-point Arial, left-alignment and Widows and Orphans Prevention disabled. For those who don’t know, a Widow is the first line of a paragraph isolated at the bottom of a page, and an Orphan is the last line of a paragraph isolated at the top of a page. Widows and Orphans Prevention adjusts the page breaks to keep at least two lines of the paragraph together. This is a good thing for the formal letters and brief reports that are the usual bread and butter of the word processor, which is why most of them enable it as standard. It is, however, a bad thing for novels because it mucks about with lengthy texts. Much better to put up with the occasional isolated line instead. At this stage, the only person who reads it is me, so it doesn’t matter that there are Widows and Orphans. When it comes to publishing, that is a different matter, but I will deal with that in a subsequent post.
Anyway, page count. By a lucky coincidence, my preferred formatting results in an average of roughly 300 words to the page, which is the same as what the published novel will contain, even though its actual formatting will be quite different. I cannot give a more precise figure because the work is paragraphed, and a paragraph can easily be half a page long or as short as a single word, like when somebody says, “Yes,” or “No.” Therefore, the actual word count, from page to page, varies. That 300 word figure is an average. The published version will be shorter overall, but not by much. So, the current page count of 337 gives a fairly good indication of the novel’s ultimate length. By the time it is finished, I expect a total length of somewhere between 400 and 450 pages, which is a typical count for a modern novel.
Now, back to writing.