80,000 words can be daunting.

To overcome anxiety attacks, I divide them into equal increments, trimming them down to a manageable amount. Within each increment of words, I attempt to fulfill what the storyline needs such as introducing characters and their involvement with each other. I visualize the rising tension in which they are all involved, stirring (hopefully) an interesting plot.

Nowadays, there are many subplots coiling into each other as a story evolves. Each supporting character has the purpose to assist the hero/heroin get through his/her dilemma. As all the characters intertwine with each other, the plot becomes more complex, eventually reaching a resolution or denouement.

In the sketch, I jotted down what I needed to do within each word increment— 1,000, 20,000, 40,000 words and so on. On a separate sheet of paper, I kept a record of how much time I spent each day for writing–the minute I started to the minute I quit. This timetable enabled me to realize how much time (weeks-months-years) I needed to complete the novel’s first draft. 

This may sound mechanical– it is. It’s for the side of my brain that needs this organization to balance the creative side that wants to make up stories. It’s also not something I stick with if my story decides to take a different turn.

A writer writes, rewrites, rewrites and rewrites again. I wrote about 15 drafts for my first book, a nonfiction, Spirit of the Village A Maui Memoir. I wrote for five years before I completed it. The second book which is a fiction, Aunty’s Place, also took me another five years. Each of these books contained about 50,000 words.

The book I’m working on now is a paranormal trilogy. For this one, I wrote 32,000+ words in four months (lots of discipline) for the first book. At present, it is going through a revision in which I need to cut 15,000 words for a short story submission. After that, I’ll bring it back to its original length and hunker down for the second and third book. There is a possibility that each book needs 80,000 words, or I could make it all one book and forget the trilogy idea. I haven’t gotten to that turn yet. 

Such is the life of a writer.

By mauiwriter



  1. Aloha!

    Thank you so much for your wonderful book Spirit of the Village. I have only just started it, but am learning so much. I did not grow up on Maui, and never learned about many of its residents’ experiences (and really did not know anything much about things that had happened there or elsewhere on Hawaii). I have been on the island for a year, and am trying to picture where your camp was.

    I am grateful that you were able to share these details of your life. I am going to encourage those I know on the island who are not familiar with your part of history to read your book.



    1. Mahalo Zelda! Thank you for commenting on “Spirit of the Village A Maui Memoir” and visiting my website. Orpheum Camp was located on a side street parallel to Baldwin Avenue above “Flako” Gym in Upper Pa`ia. The Sugar Museum in Pu`unene has a photo map of the area, also, and a wonderful video/artifacts tour. The Sugar Plantation Era was a vital contribution to the history of the islands. My second book, “Aunty’s Place,” is a novel about an extended (hānai) family you may enjoy as well. Let me know if I can assist you with anything else. Jackie


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