Shannon Stacey

Adventures in page count, driving, and lack of sleep

Keifer Sutherland voice-over: The following takes place between 8:50 and 9:15am:

After dropping the short kid off at preschool, I head off in the direction of Dunkin Donuts. Having been up until 1:30 trying to get the writing in that I missed due to football (YAY!), I need the caffeine. Badly. I woke up with the same thought that I’d gone to sleep to. How can I have an entire scene in 2 pages? Then some moron decides he wants to be in my space in the road.

Now, normally I’d let him take it–when my kids are with me I’m the most passive driver on the road. But this morning I’m tired, caffeine-deprived, and trying to calculate page counts in my weary little head. It’s MY space, dammit. In the midst of the locking up tires, fishtailing truck beds, roaring engines, flying birds, and tailgating that ensues, I have a lightbulb moment.

For over three years I’ve been doing the Magic Word Count Formula. Set your settings, get 250 words per page. Bam. That’s it, and you never, ever have to think about it again. If you’ve got 4 pages, you’ve got a 1k. If you’ve got 320 pages, you’ve got 80k. Well, doh. The new manuscript is Book Antiqua 12, single-spaced, computer word count. Hello. The average is something outrageous like 497 words per page. That might explain it.

So I get home, ready to dive back into it, and the business phone is ringing. Did I mention my big, obnoxious truck is a rolling 4×4 billboard for the husband’s company? With the phone number written down the side in 8-inch numbers? Luckily, I’m the only one home.

“Yes, sir. I totally agree. She can’t drive and she is a crazy bitch, and I’ll recommend the boss fire her right away. Have a nice day.”

The moral: Never underestimate the power of sleep.

One comment to “Adventures in page count, driving, and lack of sleep”

  1. Shannon
      · March 4th, 2005 at 12:04 am · Link


    Jaci Burton said…

    Okay..more “Don’t sweat the small stuff” advice.

    Write your book. When it’s done, look at word count. EC publishes anything from 15K quickies to 125K mondo-books, and everything in between.

    Gotta throw out the ‘rules’ you’re used to when targeting this publisher. There aren’t as many *g*

    Great job on handling that irate customer. The nerve of those crazy drivers *snicker*

    11:58 AM
    Anonymous said…

    Ok lets see, morning, no sleep, dropped kid off, headed to donut shop…did you still have curlers in? jammies on? no makeup applied yet? when you hogged road. It’s possible you didn’t make them mad over way you drove…but scared them to death with early morning looks ;P

    2:50 PM
    Shannon said…

    Dammit, it WAS you in that truck!

    2:53 PM

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