Writing Excuses 8.32: Microcasting

Microcasting! It’s what we call a Q&A, because it’s like several little podcasts in one! Here are the questions (you’ll have to listen to the show for the answers):

  • How do you manage your workload?
  • Are writing contests worth it? Which ones are good?
  • How do you make it clear that the weird aspects of your world are done on purpose rather than just being bad science?
  • How do you know when to take a break from your writing?
  • What are your word count suggestions for various markets?

Some Worthy Links: Writer Beware, Writers of the Future


Keep track of your hourly word count for a day’s writing. Then set goals to beat that word count in subsequent sessions.

The Madman’s Daughter, by Megan Shepherd, narrated by Lucy Rayner

11 thoughts on “Writing Excuses 8.32: Microcasting”

  1. I want a session word count tool for Google docs!!! Using it in Scrivener makes a huge difference to me. Watching that colour change get through the baby poop green stage is very motivating.

  2. On word counts, your reasons for publishers/agents rejecting long word count novels (for first time authors) were spot on. In case anyone doesn’t realize yet it’s about money (costs) and risk. A long word count novel has to be ‘special’ for them to take on, not just good.

    My first epic fantasy novel was 240,000 words and publishers told me to cut it down to reduce publishing costs. Even at 182,000 words they said it was too long. I kept the 182k word count and persisted, and now it’s published and ranking well on Amazon.

  3. I would love you guys to do a podcast on what Mary said about having to take a break when “writing isn’t fun anymore”. I’m actually really struggling with that right now. I finished a story in January and have been seriously struggling with revisions since. At first, it was a struggle but one I could enjoy. However, lately every time I open up my Scrivener document it feels like a prison sentence. I feel like I desperately need a break from writing, but I’m scared of losing the routine I became addicted to. I write every day, I’m afraid I won’t get back to that if I take a break. More importantly, when does writing become fun again for me? I used to love to it so much and sure, there were days I could go on without writing, but this has happened to me before. Please, a podcast on this would be amazing!

  4. Yeah, it can be quite a balancing act between organically introducing the reader to weird elements of your world without them thinking you are just writing real world rules incorrectly.

    I even have a tough time every so often having the reader interpret a metaphor correctly. Sometimes, the reader will interpret it literally. Such as: “Tiny needles stabbed throughout his head.” I try to avoid “felt,” but this can cause confusion. Someone asked me, How did he get needles inside his head?
    Do you all think this is just more of a balancing act like with weird elements?

  5. @AM Gray? You know that you can select (high-light) text and then do a word count in Google Docs and it will happily tell you how many words in the selection? Or open a new document each session and just do a word count, then put those in a spreadsheet? Admittedly, I don’t know how to get a running count that automatically tracks, but the extra effort to get a word count isn’t very much.

  6. Re: Word Count tools. Lots of the “Plain Text” (WriteMonkey, q10, FocusWriter, DarkRoom…) editors out there have live word counts as you type. Many of them can track it by session, too.

    One of my favorite tools to help me with my time and/or wordcount goals is WriteOrDie.com

  7. I’ve just come across this podcast — thanks for the handy tips! I’ve just realized how a couple of my chapters could be confusing due to improper blocking.

    Mary, thanks for mentioning Bloody Jack. I don’t typically read YA, but a friend recommended this, and now I’m hooked on the series. Katherine Kellgren is an amazing narrator!

    Mitchell Hogan, congrats on sticking to your guns re: word count.

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