Remember remember there’s no 31st of November

Between the election (thank you, voting Americans) impinging on me across the Atlantic, tricky life stuff and happy surprises, writing’s been pretty rough this past month.

Not stopped, or stalled out, but rough. Some good days were mixed in, and I’ll talk about the math of it all in a bit, but, the short version? This year I’ve already written as much prose as I wrote in the last three-to-four years combined. I wrote more than this at my peak, but where I’m at is a huge leap up from the low point of my depression. I think it’s right to be proud that I’m doing so much better – and I am very thankful to all of you for supporting me to help get me to this point.

Something else your support has helped bring into being is a republished edition of Dog Country – which is very nearly a real thing. All the files have been gathered up, things have been clicked, and we’re just waiting on Amazon to finish reviewing everything so things go live.

After Jon Oliver’s edits (mentioned a few months ago) were locked down, I got some help doing the layouts from Kate Coe of, and covers by Pye Parr. That’s all come together – and I am massively pleased with how it has all come together.

More on that soon – hopefully by the end of the week – although I think that if you love the cover art half as much as I do you’re going to be thrilled.

Now then.


I like math in principle, though in practice it can be almost painfully tricky. But it lets me do absurd things relating to word counts.

You may remember me mentioning, long long ago, that I wound up looking at word counts as a goal rather than as a measure. It’s important, I think, to avoid using word counts as goals – especially for me, the problem is never the word count, the problem is something to do with the writing, or not having the right environment to write in. But as a measure? Very useful.

As you know, I outline. So I can do a little simple math with a spreadsheet – the wordcount for the part of the outline I’ve written, divided by the outline’s overall wordcount, gives me the rough percentage of how far I am through my book.

For example, if I’ve written my way through 150 words of a 500 word outline, I have written 0.3, or 30%, of my book.

If I wrote 5000 words of prose to get through 150 words of outline, that means that by the time I’ve written through all 500 words of the outline, my manuscript will be about 16 667 words long. ( 150/500 = 0.3, 5000/0.3 = 16 667, rounded off.)

That’s handy!

But then I plug in other measures, including the average daily word count to date, and I can start figuring out how long it’ll take to finish the manuscript.

Based on all that math, I am currently somewhere between 33.25% and 26.09% through the Aconite Braid manuscript. It should be complete anywhere between late February 2021 and early May.

If I was writing at the top possible speed – I do about 80 words per minute, copying text – I’d finish in about 20 hours. Naturally, it’s unrealistic to expect around 40 000 words a day out of me. During Dog Country, I managed to average 4200 words a day – also very quick. I am not working that fast right now – my average is hovering around 960 to 1000 words a day, and given how long I was working at 0 words a day, I’m pretty pleased with that.

While I’d like to hop back to the space opera next writing season – January to May – I think the wise thing to do is give myself the extra time to finish Aconite Braid’s first draft.

So, that’s the update for November, and I hope very much to have proper news about Dog Country slightly later this week.

As ever, thank you all so much for your support – knowing I’ve got fans and patrons out there helps a ton. <3

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By foozzzball

Malcolm Cross, otherwise known as 'foozzzball', lives in London and enjoys the personal space and privacy that the city is known for. When not misdirecting tourists to nonexistant landmarks and lurking at bus stops, Malcolm enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy with a furry twist.