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Thursday, April 10, 2014

The hack's fear of the word count

I write a regular column about magazines for In Publishing. They're collected here, if you're interested.

Somebody just commented that the last one could have been shorter. Undoubtedly true. Pretty much anything could be shorter.

The reason it's long is it starts life in the magazine and James the editor asks for 1500 words. That way he knows it will fill the space he's set aside for it.

That's the way editors are. "Good idea. Can you do 3,000 words?" They pay you on the same basis. Weight. I suppose in the future the idea of asking for a certain amount of words will seem quaint.

I can write any amount of stuff for this blog because I don't have to. I'm not worried about whether I can produce enough words. If what I'm writing needs to be longer I keep going. If it doesn't I just stop. Like this.