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I've recently started writing my first book. it's about  a guy and a girl who have a 20 year friendship, and they both love each other, but neither want to admit it through fear of messing up their friendship. I am very much enjoying my writing, but I am a little worried that I'm not doing it right. I am writing as though the main girl is telling the story, and am doing it scene to scene, so there is not much time that is left out. I am also weary that I am either writing too much detail about some things, but also, that sometimes I may not be writing enough detail. i was just wandering how much detail needs to be put into a book?

Also, my second question is about how many words need to be typed? I am using Microsoft word, and have done a word count of what I have wrote already, and the document is 18 pages long, and has got 12,516 words. I was just wandering how many pages that would account to in a standard sized book, and how many pages I should be aiming for with this document.

I would really appreciate any answers you could give me, and I send my apologies to you if these questions don't make sense to you.


Hi, Tuesday!

The answer to this is a really simple writing tool. It's called the "scene break." Writing in too much detail is something that happens to all of us, but some things aren't as important as others. We, the writer, need to know they happened. But the reader might not.
With a scene break, you have the ability to write the scene you see in your head and save it as a separate document. You then "jump" to the next day or to another place, have the character run into another person and give them a brief recitation of what happened. Think about it like having a really busy day and then talking to your best friend on the phone that evening. You can't recite, word for word, what happened. Instead, you'll pick the highlights of the day (and will probably go out of order in time.) That speeds up the events and also makes it interesting for the reader because now you've got a second person to comment on the events that took place.

But by actually writing the scene, you can pull out the details you want the listener to have and skip over the moment by moment events.

Hope that helps a little. Good luck!


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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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