From reader to writer: The wordy transition

This is a post by Novel Publicity President, Emlyn Chand/“Why are you wasting all of this time reading? You like books so much, why don’t you just write one of your own?” My husband has been asking me this question for years. I mostly met his suggestion with a stream of excuses: “It’s not that easy to write a book,” “Even if I did write a book, there’s no guarantee anyone would want to publish it,” “Reading is fun, but writing is work.” Finally, I shut him up by taking his advice and plunging head-deep into the creation of my very first novel, an up-market piece of women’s fiction that I call “The Iron Pillar.”

So far, the experience has been a rewarding one. My ability to write the 85,000-word first draft in under three months has surprised and delighted me. I’ve enjoyed crafting my own personal literary style and then plugging it into the “I Write Like” machine for analysis. My characters have become so hauntingly real that they actually pop-up in my dreams to ask why I insist on tormenting them. Moving into an attempt to get it published is absolutely terrifying, but it’s also exhilarating. I feel an overwhelming sense of pride in my accomplishment — why try to hide it?

But can my personal experience be applied to the whole of bibliophiles? Is an intense, all-consuming passion for reading destined to develop into productive writing? If so, when does that transition occur?

I’ve been hungrily groping at any writer’s reference book I can get my hands on; they all claim that to be a writer, one must stay in constant touch with the work of other writers. But if A requires B, does B also require A? There’s only one way to find out, and that is to try your hand at the craft you so admire. Maybe your first few pages reek of crappy first draft syndrome (see “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott), but don’t get discouraged! If there’s one thing I have learned from my writing experience, it’s how to write.

That being said, I would like to begin a new series of posts for the’s Books section called “The Wordy Transition”. The umbrella of “Books” should not just apply to the end-product that lands itself in the hands of the reader — no — it must also relate how that beautiful combination of ink, paper, and ideas comes together in the first place.

Hey booklover, consider this your call to write!


Emlyn Chand, President of Novel Publicity

Emlyn Chand was born with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). Novel Publicity's mascot is a Sun Conure, thanks to her obsession with birds–and she gets to decide anyway since she is the company's founder and president. Although her first novel Farsighted won the prestigious Writer's Digest Self-Published Novel of the Year award in 2012 for the YA category, she now writes most of her fiction under her “real” name, Melissa Storm. Learn more or connect with her (or her Sun Conure, Ducky!) on either of her author websites: or You can also friend her on Facebook, tweet with her @novelpublicity, or send her an email via [email protected].


85,000 words…you go girl….very impressive.

Emlyn Chand

Thanks. You too can have 85k before you know it! That translates to roughly 320 pages, which is pretty average as far as novel-lengths go. The general rule is that to be considered a novel (as opposed to a novella), a work should be at least 50k. If you go much further than 100-150k, you’re really pushing it (with some notable exceptions, like the fantasy genre or super-mega best-selling authors).

Let me know how your writing comes along.


About 940 words a day. Hmmmm. Could I ever achieve that? I feel much too lazy! Could I even write 500 words a day? maybe I should try … just for one day …

Emlyn Chand

I never thought that I could do it either, and then one day I did! You could try a time or a word goal, whichever works better for you. I do better with time goals personally. When I first began draft one of novel one, I could write about four pages in two hours. Now I can crank out about ten in the same amount of time. And you know what? Those ten are way better written!

You may especially benefit from reading “creating the right writing environment” for tips on carving out time to write.

Don’t get discouraged!


Watching the Harry Potter movies counts as writing, right? Because it’s, um, an adaptation of a book… and reading is good… because books are written… and…

Yeah okay I’ll go write.



    You know, Sara, in some small way, I think that does count as writing. You’re using your imagination and learning about what makes for good plot and characterization. It only a little bit counts though. Actual writing counts much, much bigger!

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