I’ve worked it out.
To meet deadline, I have to write 3,500 words per week. If I only work three days a week (also known as the days Liam is at daycare or with his grandma), that’s a quota of 1,200 words on each work day.
(Anyone familiar with my average output laughing yet?)
Breaking down the estimated word count, it works out to around twenty pages or 5,000 words per chapter, although that’s always flexible. After all, this is just me taking the estimated length and dividing by the number of chapters I’ve sketched out. There’s about three thousand unassigned words left over that I’m leaving free, since I have a bad habit of creating monster chapters that must commit mitosis in order to maintain thematic unity and to allow the poor reader to (a) take a break, and (b) think straight. I always worry about making the target MS length, and I shouldn’t because every time I create an overabundance of material and end up having to trim it down. And when I get the CEM back for rewrites I’m always asked to expand certain ideas, which also produces more word count. It looks like this time, I may have to worry about keeping the MS below target length from the very beginning! For example, there are lots and lots of rituals in this book. And spell-type things, and meditations. And some lists. These always take up more room than I expect them to. I’ve given myself plenty of time in which to do it all, as well.
Focus, focus, focus. That’s still the key.
My table of contents is finished. I think I’m going to open a new file, name it by the book title, and start throwing ideas down because they’re coming thick and fast. And at some point I’m going to call for questions and ideas from all of you as well. (Well, those of you associated with the topic, anyhow.)