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Word Counts on your Micro 250 Drafts

Printed From: NYC Midnight : Creative Writing & Screenwriting
Category: GENERAL DISCUSSION
Forum Name: Creative Writing Corner
Forum Description: Discuss NYC Midnight Creative Writing Competitions or Creative Writing in general.
URL: https://forums.nycmidnight.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=36910
Printed Date: 18 Jan 2021 at 2:17pm
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Topic: Word Counts on your Micro 250 Drafts
Posted By: kristina_f
Subject: Word Counts on your Micro 250 Drafts
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 2:52am
I'm curious what it was like for others dealing with the word count limit. Normally, I go way over word limits, then scramble to claw back. I think I saw at least one person comment that their first draft was 1000 words. I don't know if that was hyperbole or not, but if anyone successfully edited down from there, you are a rockstar.

I tried a different approach this time which worked out well.
  • First draft was 248.
  • Over my various edits and drafts, highest word count was 255, and lowest was 246.
  • On the last draft I spent half an hour or more searching for two words to remove so that two more could be added.
  • Finished with 250 on the dot.



Replies:
Posted By: SallyJhyphenP
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 3:02am
My first draft was nearly 300 and after edits and a change in my story telling method my final submission was 248.


Posted By: kristina_f
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 3:40am
Fifty words is a fair amount, but hopefully not so much that you had to remove anything too important.

Between drafts I replaced several sentences entirely as well as a handful of words. They felt so essential until they were gone, and then I realized that they had huge added value for me as the writer, but probably minimal value for the majority of readers. In some cases the removals were a flat out improvement.


Posted By: theinquisitor
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 4:43am
I tend to edit as I go. My word count was never more than 260, but I cut quite a few sentences on the way. 

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MF250 R1 https://forums.nycmidnight.com/r1-g72-drama-franks-home_topic36970.html" rel="nofollow - Frank’s Home


Posted By: dpape276
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 6:32am
I think my first edit was dead on 250, after a few minor changes it hit around 249.

Thankfully, the majority of my micro is conversational, so it didn't require a great deal of editing in post.

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Tall, Dark & Gruesome

250 Micro (2020) - R1 G73: https://forums.nycmidnight.com/r1-g73-casualty-of-war-drama_topic37091_post390606.html" rel="nofollow - Casualty of War


Posted By: Suave
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 6:35am
I used to over write in all the contests and then take a hammer and chainsaw to them.
That was not as much fun as you might think.
Now I aim for the bare min and then ad as needed. I only went over 4 words a couple of edits.


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Posted By: EdYo
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 6:49am
I target approx. 80% in these types of competition and then build up from there. So, in this case I targeted 200 and eventually achieved 249. I was unsure on whether 'ne'er-do-well' would be classed as one word or three words, so cut out two words to be on the safe side. Other than that I never went beyond 250

I hate butchering a story I've written and find it's much easier on the my delicate writing soul to add rather than slash!




Posted By: SallyJhyphenP
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 6:55am
Originally posted by EdYo EdYo wrote:

I target approx. 80% in these types of competition and then build up from there. So, in this case I targeted 200 and eventually achieved 249. I was unsure on whether 'ne'er-do-well' would be classed as one word or three words, so cut out two words to be on the safe side. Other than that I never went beyond 250

I hate butchering a story I've written and find it's much easier on the my delicate writing soul to add rather than slash!



I just write down everything that's in my head and go from there


Posted By: Lowens
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 8:24am
The weird problem I ran into was a discrepancy in word count between Google docs and Microsoft Word. I write in docs on my phone then download as a word document on my laptop. Docs consistently counts three words less than Word. I highlighted one hyphenated string "one-by-one" thinking that may be the difference but both called that one word. 

I know you are thinking "Why didn't you just physically count the words?" Too hard. Kind of like walking over to the TV to change the channel! LOL

Anyway, I knew Submittable wouldn't accept the post if it was more than 250 but to be safe, I went with Word's higher number and ended with 250 on the nose.


Posted By: SkylerAutumn
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 8:50am
Only 166 words I'm really happy with my story... I know it seems weird but I didn't need to use all my words for this particular story or it would just read like filler. 


Posted By: tmeccles
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 8:57am
I had used ellipses in a conversation to indicate the speaker trailed off and Word counted each dot as a word. When I changed this to a dash I got my words back.

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Do something that scares and excites you.

250 MF, Round 1, Group 81
https://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic37421_post392448.html#392448" rel="nofollow - Curiosity . . . (5th)


Posted By: BobCJr
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 9:04am
I had 316 words in my first draft (though I also forgot my required word, so really 317 words as someone pointed out). I had 2 characters and it was in the third person. I rewrote it with one character in the first person and it came out at 249 words. Completely different tone, but it worked out okay.


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Would like to be mysterious, but is instead, at best, slightly ambiguous.

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Posted By: chrissie0707
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 9:49am
I've gotten into a habit of editing as I go to keep it manageable. For flash, I try to never go above 1200 in any draft. For this, I was pleasantly surprised that after typing up the notes I scribbled, I had 267 words. Got it down to 250, then 248 after betas. Subbed 248. 

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Posted By: ashleythunt
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 2:27pm
I started with 336 and finished with 249! I'm normally middle or lower end of word count requirements, so this was definitely a challenge for me!


Posted By: JoService
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 3:13pm
Yeah my 1st story was 275 and I couldn’t even fit the scene I wanted, so it wasn’t really funny just slightly humorous. The next story came out a few words over, it was easy to edit down. My 3rd attempt was basically one joke and not great, so the 2nd story won. I actually liked that one.

I haven’t seen anyone else in group 100 yet.


Posted By: terrilynn
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 3:44pm
I wavered between 244 and 267, but I did a lot of cutting along the way. 

Phrases like, "He commanded a submarine in the Navy" became (as it should) "He commanded a Navy submarine." 

Or "The eyes that raked over me, taking in my fiery mane, barely-there cocktail dress, and stilettos, were jade green," became (as it should) "Jade green eyes raked over my fiery mane and barely-there cocktail dress."

I LOVE that part of editing micro-fiction. 


Posted By: MDashell
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 4:02pm
My longest draft was 353, but it wasn't finished. I kind of write to the point where I know it will be impossible to cut down if I write anymore, cut a bunch out, write more towards finishing it, cut a bunch out again, etc. I spent probably half an hour getting those last 30 words out!


Posted By: Googan
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 6:40pm
I'm a Neanderthal and always write first draft with pen and paper.  That came out as 346, so as I typed, I was able to edit down to 265.  There was an entire paragraph then that was superfluous, so got down to bang on 250 easily enough after that.  

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Please take the time to review my 250 word microfiction https://forums.nycmidnight.com/group-28-the-stranger-fantasy-fairy-tale_topic37184.html" rel="nofollow - The Stranger


Posted By: CappyCat
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 6:41pm
This will sound cheeky but I'm always pretty spot on with my flash-fic word counts upon the first go. I try stick to the point as much as possible until the story is outlined, then I count what I have before I even think about adding any extra details or decorating my sentences with more interesting language - aka leave out all adjectives till the very end!!!

My first count was 158words so I was thrilled that I had so much more room to play with and could add some extra backstory and elaborate on the ending. My second draft had me at exactly 250words (magic!)

My only advice (to others who write out their first drafts by hand and not typed up) is to practise writing in paragraphs and to know your usual word count per paragraph (mine is usually around 50words) so when you are writing a first draft you more or less know where you at after each one and you can pace yourself and your ideas - also good to only allow yourself one paragraph for beginning, middle and end of the story (the bones of the narrative) and then you have room to play with and add in the juicy bits :P


Posted By: jcpaulson
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 7:47pm
My first draft was 35 words, but I started with dialogue and then added in description. Final draft came to 138 and I'm happy with it.

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JC Paulson

Read my 1st Round story titled https://forums.nycmidnight.com/r1-g85-whats-inside-horror_topic37108.html" rel="nofollow - What's Inside



Posted By: Mrsnetpro
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 8:42pm
I spent a lot of time fleshing out what I was going to write about so once I started, I never went over 260 words. For every change I wanted to make, I knew something else would have to come out so I did that immediately. My count then dropped down to 238, made a few more tweaks and it was exactly 250 words. As my own worst critic, if it had been more than 350 words in draft, there would have been either too much detail or it covered too much and I would have stressed over what to remove. I am pleased with how my submission turned out and can't wait to read everyone's.


Posted By: masurie
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 9:19pm
I didn't have an issue with the word count so much as the topic; I ended up drafting three different stories and couldn't choose among them.


Posted By: kristina_f
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 11:12pm
Originally posted by masurie masurie wrote:

I didn't have an issue with the word count so much as the topic; I ended up drafting three different stories and couldn't choose among them.

I think that's why I was a little happy to get historical fiction. Normally I am flooded with ideas and they get wildly complex fast. Picking what to pursue and what to abandon becomes daunting. But with historical fiction, given that I'm not well versed in it and it has to draw on real history, I was happy enough when I found something that would work with my cues that I just settled down to write it. 


Posted By: Frefallr
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2020 at 11:54pm
I started at 600, thinking this was 500 words. So, had a bit of work in front of me. But I've become a bit of an expert now at cutting. So many beta readers have shown me the way (though they haven't broken me of my comma addiction). I really enjoy editing down now. Maybe I'm perverse. I think I write more just to see what will end up staying. I'm in a short story class right now, and my story seems sooooo wordy....

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Posted By: Cat M
Date Posted: 23 Nov 2020 at 4:30am
Yes!


Posted By: LilyCat
Date Posted: 23 Nov 2020 at 6:03pm
I was trained to write short items for periodicals, so I hit 250 and massaged it back and forth a bit until everything looked decent. It's better than writing to 150, that's for sure. I did not enjoy those.


Posted By: Nimhathuna
Date Posted: 23 Nov 2020 at 8:36pm
Yep, I'm one of the short before building up kind of gals. I have no problem chopping up the excess. That said, there's never much. I'm economical with words on the creative front. I think it stems from having longer academic chapters to contend with. It's tough at the top.LOL


Posted By: FireHorse
Date Posted: 23 Nov 2020 at 8:46pm
I ALWAYS write too much and have to cut. This time I was 100 words or so in and still setting the scene, so I didn't even finish a first draft to count before I started rewriting.

But I don't mind. I know my scene-setting is generally too long and it's great discipline to have to cut it. Brings me into the action sooner. 

My biggest challenge is going back and editing before I complete a first draft. Not quite so bad in microfiction, but a nightmare when I'm trying to write a novel!


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https://bit.ly/3nU7eVx" rel="nofollow - MF250 R1


Posted By: ttennyson
Date Posted: 23 Nov 2020 at 10:13pm
This was my first time doing the contest and my first draft was 650. I tend to be an overly wordy, meandering writer and this was really an exercise in efficiency for me. Also in saying a lot of past and future in the immediate scene. I am looking forward to posting in the forum to get everyone's feedback on my submission, but I understand I have to wait until a confirmation email comes out?



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Posted By: Dark&StormyNight
Date Posted: 23 Nov 2020 at 11:38pm
Originally posted by ttennyson ttennyson wrote:

This was my first time doing the contest and my first draft was 650. I tend to be an overly wordy, meandering writer and this was really an exercise in efficiency for me. Also in saying a lot of past and future in the immediate scene. I am looking forward to posting in the forum to get everyone's feedback on my submission, but I understand I have to wait until a confirmation email comes out?


Yes. We should be getting the go-ahead email to,orrow, and then we can post on the MF250 Board (which may not be set up yet but will be)


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Posted By: EMGardner
Date Posted: 24 Nov 2020 at 5:27am
My first draft was just over 300 words but I LOVE cutting things out. Editing is my favourite part. I cut the whole first paragraph. Obviously, then I realised that my action was in there, so had to slip it in somewhere else 😅

Good luck everyone!


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Posted By: MichaelAndrews
Date Posted: 24 Nov 2020 at 5:28am
first draft was 256 words.

spent an hour and a half editing and redrafting. got it to 249.

reread it and realised i'd forgotten my word!!!

reedited again, cut out words that didn't need to be in there and submitted at 239.

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Have fun. Be Kind.


Posted By: RaeJohnstone
Date Posted: 24 Nov 2020 at 6:35am
First time I've written something so short, so I was pleased when my first draft was 258. Went up and down a fair bit with editing, and ended on exactly 250.

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Posted By: Tunamonkeys
Date Posted: 24 Nov 2020 at 8:38am
The last challenge I entered was 100 words and made this one feel easier! You don't realize how thankful you are to be able to describe something and slow the story pace. I worked a 12 hour shift and in the middle I got to exactly 250, but I played with the ending and flirted between 249 and 251 for a few minutes. 

It's nice to write for something that isn't work.


Posted By: BrianRHarris
Date Posted: 24 Nov 2020 at 1:34pm
I had 279 on the first draft and wound up with 250 on the nose.


Posted By: kristina_f
Date Posted: 24 Nov 2020 at 1:40pm
Originally posted by EMGardner EMGardner wrote:

My first draft was just over 300 words but I LOVE cutting things out.

You are so very much like an alien being to me, but I appreciate the diversity the universe has to offer. I hope your time on Earth has been enjoyable so far. Try the doughnuts; they're delicious.


Posted By: Paul Bee
Date Posted: 24 Nov 2020 at 2:57pm
I am calling the cops on everybody who didn't submit exactly 250 words

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https://forums.nycmidnight.com/gr-49--blood-poisoning_topic37411.html


Posted By: steph9289
Date Posted: 24 Nov 2020 at 3:00pm
Originally posted by Paul Bee Paul Bee wrote:

I am calling the cops on everybody who didn't submit exactly 250 words

Right?! I make it a point to use EXACTLY 250 words.


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Micro Fiction 2020 R1 G51 - https://forums.nycmidnight.com/r1-g51-roadkill-roulette-comedy_topic36953_post390218.html#390218" rel="nofollow - Roadkill Roulette (Comedy)


Posted By: CarstenKudra
Date Posted: 24 Nov 2020 at 3:49pm
Wow 166 words only! Well done on managing to create such a compact story!


Posted By: Tinyminx
Date Posted: 24 Nov 2020 at 4:56pm
Originally posted by kristina_f kristina_f wrote:

Fifty words is a fair amount, but hopefully not so much that you had to remove anything too important.

Between drafts I replaced several sentences entirely as well as a handful of words. They felt so essential until they were gone, and then I realized that they had huge added value for me as the writer, but probably minimal value for the majority of readers. In some cases the removals were a flat out improvement.

This is exactly me. I'm sure at first that every word is vital. Then as I start to remove or find better phrasing I realise I was just being precious and narrow minded! 



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