Sometimes, you plan out a story for months, or even years. You narrate the first lines in your head, then fiddle with them interminably. You keep adding scenes to the plot and details to the characters. You ponder what themes you want to explore and decide on the best ways to make them concrete.
Other times, stories sneak up on you.
I just finished dictating the first draft of a completely unexpected story. It’s not like anything I’ve written before, and it has nothing to do with the main genres I write in. It’s fiction, but in some ways, it’s less of a story and more of a box—a box to put memories in. Parts of it may be some of my best writing, but I have no idea what I’m going to do with it.
I started dictating it on Tuesday using my phone rather than my voice recorder. It includes 24 audio files, ranging from 25:01s to 00:42s. I just did the math, and the total recording time is 3 hours, 13 minutes, and 7 seconds.
I dictated while walking around the pond outside my house, while pacing circles in the living room, while sitting at my work-from-home desk typing numbers into boxes. I honestly have no idea what the first draft wordcount will be—probably novella length. My best guess is around 20k words, though I won’t be surprised if that’s super wrong.
I thought it would be interesting to record the wordcount as I transcribe each file. If nothing else, it will give me a better idea of how to estimate the length of future dictation projects.
I’ll update this blogpost as I finish each section. It might take several weeks to get it all transcribed; I have other writing projects underway that are theoretically a lot more urgent.
Still, I think it’ll be interesting.
Unexpected Story Transcription Wordcount: