Is half a million words per year normal for a writer?

1 Comment

Goal achieved.

Acer Switch half million words

Fifty-four short stories and a 60K First Draft later, I finally reached my target, with three weeks of 2015 still to go.


Entering NaNoWriMo for the first time this year probably helped me to hit the magic number a little earlier than I would have.

half a million

My average for the year to date was around 1,400 words per day (very much an average. Some days were noticeably better than others), and November’s average was a little over 1,700 per day.  I would still have reached the half million, but the race would have been much closer to the wire.

The obvious question now hangs over me:

Can I do it again in 2016? Would I want to?

The answer would largely depend on how much work I can bring in. 2015 has been particularly fruitful for short story projects, keeping me busy for the entire year. If I work as hard as I did in 2015, half a million is possible.


Over the past few months, I’ve begun to wonder what the ‘normal’ output is for a writer, particularly someone who writes full time. For the record, I also have a full-time job. I was speaking to Sheila Quigley, another North-East (England) writer  about my endeavours. When I told her about my target, she stared at me, then blew out a long breath.

I got the impression that 500k is not the norm.🙂

My work / life balance means that I work away from home and have my evenings free from distractions as I write in my hotel room. When I’m not away, I find it tricky to concentrate with the TV on in the background much of the time.

So, what is everyone else producing over twelve months? I’d be interested in hearing from both full-time and part-time writers. How do you manage to keep up the pace when you work AND live with a family? What’s your routine?

Andrew Toynbee logo


Cover reveal: ‘A Vengeance of Angels’


This sequel has been a long time coming, but the release date is steadily drawing closer and optimism is growing for a mid-November release.  So different from the release of my first novel, this timetable is holding and everything appears to be on schedule.

‘A Construct of Angels’ – my debut novel – crawled forward in random fits and starts, suffering from a mixture of inexperience and poor planning.

But thanks to my editor, Tara (she of Shaner Media Creations), the timetable she created is keeping me moving steadily forward.

So, in keeping with her timetable, I am now proud to present the cover my second novel, the sequel to ‘A Construct of Angels:’



Seasoned readers will spot many similarities to the first cover. This is deliberate😀

I asked Ravven to retain some of the original elements in order to provide series continuity. The main character, you will notice, has been replaced with another to reflect the changes in the new storyline.

All being well, I ought to be able to reveal some teasers soon.😀 Not yet, though, as my beta-readers are still combing through the MS.

In the meantime, watch this space and:

acern270ginger write on

Work in Progress Blog Hop Challenge

1 Comment

I was recently nominated by my more-than-entertaining blogging mate Jon to share my opening sentences with everyone who reads my posts.

JFC logo

People DO read my posts… don’t they? *listens to the keening wind and the rustle of tumbleweed.* Oh well, just me then.

I am to post, as required, the opening sentence from each of the first three chapters of my current WIP, ‘A Vengeance of Angels.’

This is the sequel to my debut novel ‘A Construct of Angels’ and describes the apocalyptic adventures of the Angel-become-mortal, Michael.

Oh, if you’ve already read the first book (which uses Sara Finn’s POV), this story is told from Michael’s POV.

Chapter One:

I was alone, and I was glad of it.

Chapter Two:

The bright beacon that had been the Black Star flared briefly as it swept toward the western horizon.

Chapter Three:

Two weary men – paramedics by the look of their leaf green jumpsuits – trudged wearily through the reception area.



That’s it! That’s the only peek you’re getting for now. *waves everyone gently back.*

Thanks for nominating me Jon.  Everyone, please go and pay Jumpingfromcliffs a visit. It’s so entertaining, it should be on your bucket list!

Now, in keeping with the blog hop, I now nominate four other bloggers to continue the fun:

Sonya Loveday

Ryan Casey

Michelle Proulx

Jacqui Murray

Have fun, and above all:

acern270ginger write on



Are we all guilty of creating imaginary friends?


My imaginary friend

Whilst idly browsing my WordPress stats, I noticed that someone had referenced my ongoing page ‘Characters that can write their own stories’ from

The Reddit post was one of several that referred to something called (and this is a completely new word for me) Tulpae.

The page describes a Tulpa as; ‘…best described as an imaginary friend that has its own thoughts and emotions, and that you can interact with. You could think of them as hallucinations that can think and act on their own.’

The contributor opens the discussion with;

Are characters in a novel the Tulpae of the Author?

Very interesting question…

The post then goes on to say;

‘By talking and fleshing out something to your own subconscious for so long, you start to get answers from it. The answers align themselves with all these preconceived traits you’ve given them (for the most part). When you talk to your own mind for long enough, it will answer back: this is an accepted fact.

This sounds a lot like an author with a good enough character not deciding what the character will do, but the author knowing what the character would do because the character tells him or her.

I was told by a writing professor of mine that authors should strive for this level of character development, to the point where the character makes its own decisions.

anyone interested in discussing this?’

Read more of the discussion here.

I’d be interested to learn what everyone else’s thoughts are on the subject of characters becoming part of the creative process.

This got me thinking about the entire process of writing versus creating imaginary friends.

Sure, our reasons for creating are different from that of a child who creates friends out of a need for comfort, companionship or security.

We invent characters to fill a book, act out our story or even (in some cases) fulfill unfeasible fantasies.  When I was a child, barely into double figures, I was having such a miserable time of things, I began to write End-of-the World stories where only ‘nice’ people survived and subsequently found each other to begin civilisation over again  (Obviously, these early stories failed because I’d selectively eliminated all anatgonists!).

Years later, it occurred to me that I had been exercising (or even exorcising) mental control over the world as a form of comfort, rather like inventing imaginary friends to keep me safe.

Later stories, written during my teens, became less like a wish-list of how I (unconsciously) felt the world ought to be.  They even began to include bad guys!

image courtesy of svilen001 - Stock Xchng

But, looking back at them now, the stories still seemed to retain an element of control, a sanity and restraint that the real world lacked.  My current writing style has, I can see now, developed out of that evolutionary process, although I hope that it feels less controlled than those early works.

But do writers invent characters purely out of necessity – simply to act out a pre-planned story?  Or is there even a small element of ‘this character brings me comfort’?  Is there a hint of ‘I’m happy with this character because I’d like them if they were my real-life friend’?  Do we unconsciously develop characters (even anatgonists) that we are comfortable with?

Are writers the ultimate creators of  imaginary friends?


Write on!


Be what you are..

teenswrite2teens 🐯 Author Sophia Whittemore

Has a Mom from Indonesia (Taiwanese Aboriginal Descent), a Dad from America, and a Heart from Writing

Melanie Toye - Inspiring, Creative, Writer

Author, Writer and Dream Go Getter


Muse, News and Views

CR Hodges, Author

Tales of Valkyries and Martians, ghosts and kitsune, were-coyotes and neodymium lasers. Not all at the same time, thankfully.

Universe Sings

We are listening

Daren Valis

Erotic and Love Thoughts

A.D. Martin

writing - novels - film - television - video games - other stuff

Little Rittwolf's Book Blog

I thought having my own blog would help me....Squirrel!....stay more focused. I could be wrong.

Storytime with John

Pull up and listen...I've got a funny one for ya...

Kendall Kessler Art

Original Art by Award Winning Artist Kendall Kessler

Laura’s Word Press

Laura Lis Scott's offset thinking.

beautiful absurdity

a blog about people and ideas


Download software with working crack, keygen, patch & serial keys

Steven K. Berg

Author of Errand Runner


There are no foxes here


Where Humans and Kurt Relate

Annie Bellet

Author, Gamer, Nerd

Felicity Johns

This site is rated for MA audiences only.

Kev's Great Indie Authors

Supporting Indie Authors Worldwide

Steve Says...

"just a guy, writing on a blog asking you to follow him"

Nicholas C. Rossis

Award-winning, dream-protecting author

J.M. Weselby @ Magpie Creative Writing Services

because all writers are magpies at heart...


Random Observations of life

Eternal Atlantis

Official Website of Luciana Cavallaro


The greatest site in all the land!

Daniel Pátaro

exploração e fotografia

Beautiful Life with Cancer

Discovering the Gift

onalajabukonla Blog

This site is all about inspirational poems and quotes

Kindness Blog

Kindness Images, Videos, True Life Stories, Quotes, Personal Reflections and Meditations. Because Kindness Changes Everything.

Nina J. Lux

Author of YA fantasy series The Landskapë Saga

Human Relationships

Human Relationships, Marriage Relationships, Children/Parents Relationships, Sexual Relationships, Work Relationships, Friendships, Love, Abuse, Addiction, Support, Health.

Zee Southcombe

[Inactive Site]


humor | musings | fiction

Inspiration by Chichi


Aeronautical Engineering

Ryan Gruss

Inspirations & Ideas from a young entrepreneur

%d bloggers like this: