120,000 Words Of Stephen

Writing a book is a great leveller. Take this for example. Buried beneath the tonnes of insecurities and doubts that accompany setting out on such a venture I have always clung desperately to one tiny crumb of comfort – that I was an above average wordsmith and could express my thoughts and emotions eloquently in a manner that would entertain and enthral you – the people who read my daily ramblings with such patience and understanding.


Turns out that I’m not the next William Shakespeare after all. Although his endless toilet jokes and use of the phrase ‘Hey nonny nonny’ are not what I aspire to anyway. You see writing is hard work. Sometimes the words flow effortlessly and it’s as if my fingers are alive with passion and creativity as I merrily transmit the ideas and themes from my brain onto the screen of my laptop. Other times I stare at the screen with all the enthusiasm of a constipated caveman.

There are days I write garbage. There are days I write nonsense. There are days I write nothing at all so devoid am I of energy and inspiration. I write lazily, I write without structure or focus. I ramble, I prevaricate, I repeat myself over and over. I use the same infuriating words and despite repeatedly banging my head off the the wall saying I will not. Lazy, pointless words. Like ‘really’ and ‘though’ and ‘however’. Especially the last one. It has become the bane of my editing life.


I still cling to the flickering hope that one day this shambolic story will see the light of day. That hope is fuelled by this blog. Every day you lot loyally read my rants and post encouraging comments which never fail to bolster my flagging confidence. You push me forward on the days when all I want to do is throw the laptop in the river and pretend that I had never started the whole sorry process. You are my cheerleaders.

Without the short skirts, inane grins and pom poms you will be glad to hear.

My fear is this though. Gah! There I go again. Focus, Stephen. Focus! My average blog post is 500 words a day. I deliberately restrict myself to that as there is nothing more disheartening than beginning an interesting post only to discover that it is in fact ‘War and Peace’ for the twenty first century. I tend to drift off and rarely finish them. So I keep them short, snappy, succinct. Quality over quantity. That’s the plan anyway.

500 words. Anyone can endure 500 words of Stephen right? Plus it’s mostly life affirming content aimed at motivating and comforting people going through tough times. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. Everyone’s a winner. And they all lived happily ever after. Etc Etc. But what about 120,000 words of Stephen as opposed to 500? 120,000 words of urban fantasy set on the reasonably mean streets of Belfast? How far can I test the resilience of you good, good people?

It’s the joy of the fledgling writer who aspires to be an author. Who will read this drivel? Did Lewis, Tolkien and King feel like this? Please: no J.K. Rowling anecdotes at this point. I’m not a Potter fan. A number of you have already kindly offered to be test readers for some chapters I will be releasing throughout the summer. I may never hear from them again. And if I do will their ‘constructive’ feedback send me screaming from the halls of WordPress never to darken it’s doors again?

At the end of the day there’s only one way to find out. Like the first time I stood on the start line of a marathon with knocking knees and churning stomach. 3 hours and 56 minutes later it was done. I was a marathon runner. This process is taking ever so slightly longer than that. It’s a marathon of marathons. But I’m getting there. One anxious step at a time. And I’ll always be grateful for the support and kindness you guys provided along the way.

Can you handle 120,000 words of Stephen?

Rowling v Tolkien? You decide.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

43 thoughts on “120,000 Words Of Stephen

  1. You got this , Stephen! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have you ever heard of Sonlight Curriculum? They sell books for home schooling. Awesome selection of fiction , meant for children, but I enjoyed them myself. Many Newbery award books from the good old days. One of my favorites of all time was House of Sixty Fathers. I also loved The Bronze Bow and Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze. Great stories!


  2. I finished my first novel recently, put it out on Amazon, and sit weighs in at a whooping 600 plus pages. My first reaction was “Good God, Will. You wrote War and Peace.” I even considered splitting it into two books, but realized that I’d have to do a major rewrite just to make that happen. But then I noticed that most of my Clancy, Patterson, and King books are in the same general area for size, and decided to leave it as it was.

    So I took some advice from another great artist, and decided it’s a finished work.

    Now that I’m working on the sequel, I decided to split that one down into a couple of novels. The first will be
    Family Secrets: Things Left Unsaid,” and the second will be “Family Secrets: Vendetta.”

    As for who will read it? Well, you just never know. A story I love is how Tom Clancy became a name. He published a little book called “The Hunt for Red October”- some of you might have read it. The first edition was only a few hundred copies. Since it was published by the Naval Academy Press, a lot of the copies went to Admirals, directors of this agency or that, and one of them happened to wind up on the bed stand of President Ronald Reagan. Ronny was a huge reader, and when some reporter asked him if he’d read any good books lately, he said, “As a matter of fact. I have.” Doesn’t hurt a writers career one bit when the President of the United States gives your book a glowing review.


  3. I quite like the idea of being a cheerleader … or at least having the pom poms. Stephen, I sense a bad day or rather, a day of doubt and questioning yourself and your ability. Piffle I say! You ninny! You are the best writer here and WE all know this even if you donโ€™t! We are just a teensy bit green with envy at not only your talent but also your motivation. I donโ€™t know anyone else who can manage family, work, marathons and writing a book! But, thereโ€™s no rush, take your time, a deep breath and fear not, we all want a copy. Katie

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is so true when you find words you use more often than others. I noticed this too when I wrote my first novel, and every time I write now I am reminded.

    Although, I do enjoy reading someone’s work, for the first time, and they haven’t caught on on their words just yet. I respond with, “Oh, good, I’m not the only one attached to (word),” and then they look at the writing, and are like, “Oh, wow! I never noticed!” I was the same and you are not alone!

    Despite the setbacks, the staring at the screen, and wondering where is this all going to go, so many of these challenges are amazing opportunities for growth. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So… my English professor in college had us list everything that constituted good writing. We ended up with rather a lot of criteria.
    He then looked it over; declared, “Harry Potter is not good writing.” His declaration helped me to release my debilitating hold on The Perfect Writer. There are none. Avoid clichรฉ mistakes, write well and then write better, and use tools like spell checker if you lack natural correctness in that area. But in the end, you can only write like you.
    That same professor also referred to “the end” as releasing our work. “It’s never ‘finished,'” he said, “You’re just letting it go.”


      1. It mattereth not. Take the Ray Bradbury approach.
        Even Stephen King, in his recommendations, says that many writers are quite successful completely ignoring his advice. HE ignores his own advice occasionally. ๐Ÿ™‚
        Just write. Write again. Write somewhat better. You can cringe about your story’s errors ten books later, but have some published success to help soften the blow. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  6. Love this.. Its as if you took all my own insecurities (especially this week) and put words to them. Some days I long for genuine helpful critique of my writing and other days I believe that I write just for me. Geeze … At least sometimes its true.. The rest of life is safe… writing breaches the comfort zone boundary line and all my previously healed anxiety traits surface wearing too much make up and I grew out of make up at 25 ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‚


  7. Well, I hope that you are more Tolkien than Rowling. However, though, whatever you are, really be yourself, too. However, if you need someone to really read a chapter or two, I’d be happy to help; though I don’t always read fast.

    Really, though, it is up to you to do it, however you do it.



  8. I have no doubt that when your magnum opus is finally ready, it will well be worth the wait – you have a fantastic way with words. Fret not, my friend, it will come. ๐Ÿ™‚


  9. Having written a book 500,000 words long, I can say we go through a lot of days where we write the way you wrote. Your little paragraph that you said, “Wrong”.

    However, don’t assume you need to erase every function word. One can age into using it, so the writing feels like a fine wine.

    120,000 words is a good goal. The average book size is 80,000, but I recommend going 20,000 more or less than the average—though, I have no real following, I’ve been writing for twelve years obsessively.

    I would be careful of criticism. Some of my most rewarding pieces have endured a lot of harsh criticism. You have to take risks, you have to stand your artistic ground. If someone just doesn’t get it, that’s why you should be like the Beatles and switch your style. It might be the same general voice, the same general idea, but communicating something in two different ways can attract two different kinds of people.

    The biggest thing I’d say is this: Don’t stop blogging. Your post was excellent. Writing blogs like this is a different animal from writing Novels, and to be honest, I don’t think I could succeed with a blog that had this kind of content.

    So, liked this post. If I see you on my like bar, I might pop in another time and see what you’re up to.


  10. Oh, how well I can relate to this! I’m currently revising one book, plotting and writing another, outlining a children’s non-fiction book, and yesterday I started working out an idea for another. Maybe working on so many will help my ADD brain have enough to work on that it won’t shut down and go to sleep. Of the 10 books I’ve started, I have finished maybe five. Finished, meaning the first, extremely rough draft has made it to “the end”.
    Revision, thou art the enemy!
    I’m learning to work out my story plots more thoroughly than I I used to, but I agree, writing is hard work!


  11. How about write your book like you do the blog. Limit your writing sessions to X amount of words. I don’t mean as in only X amount of words a day but each time you sit to write. Later in the day you have that inspirational moment, go back write but limit it to the X amount. It’s one of those things where if you aren’t allowed to do it, you want to do it :):) Obviously if this gets the juices flowing, or words in this case, then throw the limit out for that sitting.


  12. lol, I would handle it, but I dont read urban fantasy,but that is not to say I wouldnt, and I bet your writings awesome, if your blogs anything to go by, you have a way with words my man! xo


  13. I would absolutely LOVE to read your chapters if you need another person to help. I love reading 500 words of Stephen so I think 120,000 words will be awesome! Don’t doubt so much my dear. If you can write these blogs you can pull a story together. Keep pushing and don’t give up!!


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