top of page

Mac’s Moments – Writer’s Math



I have always tried to make the chapter between 2,000 and 2,500 words in my previous four fantasy books. The first book in the series communicated the initial story in 25,000 words but read like instructions or a manual. After a couple of years and many more rewrites, the finished product reached around 50,000 words by adding color and depth to the plot. Some chapters came up a little short of my goal and a couple a little long after the edits.


Last week I wrote a chapter with 2830 words completing the outline. Knowing how my chapters seem to grow as I make them more palatable for the reader, I wanted to pare down a hundred words or so. The first thing I noticed is the grammar gremlins added a lot of simple mistakes, like “of” instead of “off” in one sentence.


While reading the second paragraph, I thought it was unclear so I reworked the paragraph. “Oh, that sounds much better,” I smiled. This process took me through the whole chapter correcting for the gremlins and making it flow smoothly. I looked at several parts to remove but then remembered it is important for later. When I completed the process of trimming the chapter, I noticed there were 2988 words. “How is it possible to end up with more words when trying to cut the length?” I muttered to myself.


Knowing there are many months of editing ahead of me and the rewrites usually add to the word count, it became worrisome as to length. I posted my dilemma to two Facebook author groups to gain their opinion. A shout-out to Realm Makers Consortium and Aspiring Writers United. The general consonance is not to worry about the length of a chapter in favor of the flow of the story. I found one comment particularly amusing and to the point.


They described what I experienced as “Writer’s Math.” Many of the comments sympathized with my situation and some acknowledged having the same experience of trying to shorten it only to find it longer than before. Although not mentioned, I have the feeling writers start to make their work longer, only to see it become shorted at the end.


This spring and summer looks like week after week of editing, rewrites, and adjustments to the fifth book in the Flying People series. The book currently sits at around 40,000 words and when sent to a professional editor, it will clear 50,000 words, a nice size for a novella.


At is a good place to learn more about me and my books. If you like my blogs, please subscribe for email distribution.


God bless,

Danny Mac

42 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page