One Million Words…

They say that when you reach 1,000,000 written words you have finally started to become a good writer.

I have two goals when it comes to writing. First and foremost, my goal is to die a very good storyteller. That is paramount in my writing life. Whatever happens as a result of that quest whether it be I am able to write for a living or it stays a hobby and just a hand full of people read my stuff, so be it. I want to become a really good storyteller. For that to happen, many small things must take place (research, studying and practice writing) but the next big one that I will focus on while I do that is to get to one million words. Give or take a few. Seems like a good stretch goal to goal number one, don’t you think?

I started writing Pandora’s Chase about 4 years ago (this contradicts what I’ve previously said – you can thank my wife for setting me straight:) ) During this time, I have written Pandora’s Chase, three chapters of Lockheed Elite, Death’s Awakening and various other short stories and random starts to ideas as well as a bunch of blog posts. That word count totals right around 200,000 words. Honestly, I would have guessed that number to be higher and it probably is. There were a lot of re-writes for the beginning and ending and middle parts of Pandora’s Chase but I really don’t know how to count that. So I’ve added a little buffer in there. Still that was a lot of work to only get to two hundred thousand.

How much writing is that? Well, to find how many pages something is by way of word count, typically you just divide by 250-300 and that should be pretty accurate depending on font, size and line spacing. So in my writing lifetime, if we put it all into one book, I’ve written about 650-800 pages. Interesting. My Lord of the Rings book is about a thousand pages not including the appendices and that one has over 500,000 words in it. So I guess you can see there’s a bit of a tolerance there but you get the picture.

Big picture Tyler, stop rambling no matter how interesting you think it is. Here’s what I see here. Just based on novel writing alone, to become any good at it I need to write eight 125,000 word novels! Sounds like a lot doesn’t it. Not if you’re looking at my first goal for my writing career. I said I want to die a great storyteller. Not counting my eternal writing life in Heaven, I figure my life here is about half over so I have about 37-40 years to become a great storyteller. With Pandora’s Chase under my belt I’m going to be much faster at planning and writing novels moving forward so I can say with confidence that I could average one novel a year for the rest of my life. (Side goal there is to get up to 2 or more a year if I can quite my day job!)

That being said, with my undeniable logic here, my 40th novel is going to be at the very least a best seller. I’m good with that.

Okay so since we’re talking you should know what’s going on lately.

Honestly, not much other than writing. Kinda boring I know but if you figure in all the other stuff, it’s good.

Here’s why:

Since January, my writing life basically consisted of these big chunks of time for these things. Writing and studying writing techniques, creating maintaining and working on my online presence, and generally trying to figure out how this all works.

Since then, I feel I have pretty much nailed down the website and social media presence so it’s really just blog posting, and little posts here and there on social media. Basically I’ve seen a huge reduction in time consumption setting that all up and that time has been supplanted with general writing for Pandora’s Chase and Lockheed Elite and I have seen a big jump forward in progress. Pandora’s Chase has been given to my Editor and I should get that back in the next couple of days. Then it’s off to the finish line there for the Final Draft. (2-3 months of work – maybe less maybe more, remember I’m still new at this). Lockheed Elite is rolling and publishing regularly on Channillo. I just finished chapter three and am about to give that to my Editor. You will see that posted somewhere around Christmas time.

So what am I trying to say here in this blog post. Maybe you don’t care anymore, it really has been a little disjointed. Let me boil this down for you in simple terms. I love writing. It is a fascinating thing for me. I love exploring characters and story lines and falling into the abyss of a story that takes me all the way out of reality is my little way of jumping into a sort of alternate reality. It is fun for me the likes of which I cannot describe with any worthy set of words and I think I’m finally homing in on how to do this. I’m really excited for next year to see how much I’ll grow as a writer, I’m excited to see what comes out of my mind goo, I’m excited to publish Pandora’s Chase…

I’m excited to become a really good storyteller.

Maybe we can put that on my tombstone.  ‘Here lies Tyler Wandschneider. Born May 8th, 1978 – Died a really good storyteller on TBD.’ (It felt creepy putting a fictitious death date there.)

Til next time friends,



2 thoughts on “One Million Words…”

  1. Hey Tyler!

    Good post and something that resonates with me in my own writing efforts.

    My first novel, The Hannover Game, is neear as dammit 114k words and the Malartú book Rise of Al’daer will be about 40k. At 100k for a full length novel of the depth of Hannover and 40-60k for a fantasy paperback feels about right to me. But as always it’s as many words as the story is!

    The 1,000,000 words goal is something I have in mind too, it feels like hitting that == I’ve put the work in. Idea; if I’m still not amazing at story telling by then I’ll quit ;p

    Lockheed Elite is looking good and I’m finding Channillo is a friendly platform to build out stories and share them early.

    See you there!


    (p.s. the Death Date will always be blank, you’re forgetting the technological singularity and transhumanist technologists Lockheed and his crew are using to fly the cold and black ;0 )

    • Thanks for commenting Mark!

      Yeah, Pandora’s Chase is running about 136K right now just before my last edit so it’s getting up there. I would encourage you to not quit writing even if you don’t feel you’re very good at one million words. I can already say you’ve got writing chops having read the first chapter of Rise of Al’daer so I don’t think you have to worry about not being excellent by the time you get to a million written words. (Unless you stop studying storytelling and writing that is!)

      Thanks for the praise for Lockheed Elite, though I didn’t quite understand the Death Date thing. Were you thinking of another story?

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