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September 14th, 2005

Hey ... wait a second ...

I was perusing the October issue of Writer's Digest when I came across this letter To the "Questions & Quandries" column:

"Is it true that one typed, double-spaced page of writing is, on average, 250 words? If so, is this still the accepted way of gauging word count?"

I thought, "Hey, I've been wondering that very same thing myself!" I'd changed the way I calculated words in my manuscript based on my agent's recommendation, and it had jumped the word count considerably. So I anxiously read the rest of the question:

"If not, what's the correct method for counting words in a manuscript?" -- Mark Hunter.

For a long moment I stared, having one of those heart stopping moments one usually gets from seeing a traffic accident happen, or seeing your first nude woman. Then I said, aloud (there were other people in the room), "Hey. That's me!"

I'd sent the question to Writer's Digest months ago after the discussion with my agent, and forgotten all about it.

Now, I've seen myself in print for years, both with my small town columns and newspaper articles, and with the occasional letter to the editor. But seeing my name in a national magazine, especially one about writing, sent shivers down my spine, and gave me one true high in what's been a generally cruddy year. Even if it wasn't a paid article. So thanks, powers that be, for reminding me there are still thrills to be had.

By the by: their accepted method of calculating word count is the very same one I first learned and used, when I was whacking away at a manual typewriter more than two decades ago.

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