Ways in which word counts are a pain in the ass

17 Oct

I just thought I’d get all my NaNo bitching done *before* NaNo starts, heh.

Question 1: How do you do a word count if the text of your story is scattered around in a million little files on your hard drive, *and* intermixed with your outline in any particular file, which doesn’t itself contribute to the actual word count? I mean, I guess you could just count the outline as well, but if you then erase or move the outline, your word count goes down because it was artificially inflated in the first place.

Question 2: How do you do a word count if you’re like me, and you have five versions of the same sentence all in a row because you haven’t decided which version you like best yet?

Do I really have such a different writing process than the rest of the human race, or is any of this making sense?

13 Responses to “Ways in which word counts are a pain in the ass”

  1. scrollgirl October 17, 2006 at 9:55 pm #

    Question 2: How do you do a word count if you’re like me, and you have five versions of the same sentence all in a row because you haven’t decided which version you like best yet?
    I totally do that. And have different versions of the same scene all in a row, because I haven’t decided which way to go yet. Darn, I never even thought of all these things!
    Usually I don’t do word counts until I’m done an entire story, but that’s not going to work with NaNo. Not sure what to do except pick one version of a sentence/scene when doing the word count, even if that may not be the one I ultimately go with. Also, I suppose this will force me to *choose* and keep writing, instead of obsessively editing while I write the way I always do.
    I don’t write outlines, though. I’ve got kind of a timeline in my head and an idea of the order of scenes but nothing on paper.
    I need to make some NaNo icons.

  2. scrollgirl October 17, 2006 at 9:56 pm #

    Wow, that was so not the icon I meant to use!

  3. neshaffer October 17, 2006 at 9:59 pm #

    I *never* do word counts until I’m done the first draft, and only then to see how *far over* the target word count I’ve gone and how much needs to be cut out!
    I’m going through all my ep notes now highlighting the portion that is actual text in red.
    Yeah, I don’t do outlines, either, as a rule, but I do have oodles of notes.

  4. neshaffer October 17, 2006 at 10:00 pm #

    Hee!

  5. ann1962 October 17, 2006 at 10:35 pm #

    In addition to several possibilities typed out, I use the comments feature on Word for reminders and other inserts.

  6. neshaffer October 17, 2006 at 10:42 pm #

    I’m a low-tech minimalist. Every time I’ve tried to use all those fancy features included in Word, I mess stuff up, or can’t get *rid* of it if I don’t want it, or it just confuses me.

  7. a2zmom October 18, 2006 at 12:05 am #

    lie. or guess.

  8. atpo_onm October 18, 2006 at 1:04 am #

    Suggestion from another low-tech minimalist: Start your comments or alternate thoughts with some really simple two-character code, and end them with another, like so:
    x1This is a sentence that I might want to delete later on.x2
    Open the Word replace function, and then type in the first field (“find”): x1*x2
    (The asterisk behaves as a wild card and matches anything between the x1 and x2.)
    Fill in the 2nd field (“replace”) with whatever you want, including blank space.
    Be sure to check the wildcard search option, then hit the replace button and all the text will go away.

  9. neshaffer October 18, 2006 at 5:23 am #

    That’s no fun, either!
    ; )

  10. ramblecrazed October 18, 2006 at 6:33 am #

    *
    From what I’ve read of your writing, you are very well organized right up front. I’d imagine you’d leave all 5 versions in up until the nth hour. Then edit + count only if you cannot guestimate accurately.
    I don’t know the ‘rules’ of nano tho, so maybe that’s not an option?
    Your writing skills seem so very well structured, I have great faith you’ll work out these minor details by deadline.
    =) Hope this helps..
    *

  11. ann1962 October 18, 2006 at 12:17 pm #

    I highlight with different colours also!

  12. neshaffer October 18, 2006 at 1:09 pm #

    Thanks for the vote of confidence!

  13. neshaffer October 18, 2006 at 4:22 pm #

    I have my own methods of being low-tech, but thanks.

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