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October 31, 2012
Posted at 5:21 pm

Remembering Characters Past

As I pondered the next chapter of Dee Does High School, I knew I wanted to bring back in some characters who haven't been around in a while. I needed to make sure I didn't screw up some personal detail, which meant going back to check what I'd said about them when they were introduced. So I downloaded each NiS book as a single file so I could easily search them.

Doing that got me wondering how much I have so far written in the Naked in School universe. The series began with Carl Naked in School. Next came Carl Naked in School - Beth's Story, and Beth Naked in School, all written at least 10 years ago, probably close to 20. Picking up on an idea for Carl and Beth's senior year project, next came Carl and Beth Do Sex Ed in Middle School, which led to Dee Does Middle School and Dee Does High School, which is currently in progress.

So I counted every word in each book.

Well, okay, I cheated by using Microsoft Word's word count and created a little table to organize my thoughts -- always a challenge. (See the chart at the bottom, somewhat munged up but semi-legible.)

To sum things up, so far I've written 6 books, 83 chapters totaling 448,955 words.

That averages out to about 74,826 words per book, or 5,409 words per chapter. To mulch the math in different ways, the generally accepted count for the average double spaced page of 12 point Courier is 250 words. On that basis I've churned out about 1,796 pages (3.5+ reams of paper, thank the lord bits are cheap). Put yet another way, I learned back in my days in radio news that it takes about one minute to read 15 lines. At an average of 12 words per line I've written roughly 37,400 lines which would take me about 2,500 minutes, or about 42 hours to read aloud at a good "radio pace," with no allowance for bathroom breaks.

Feel free to check my math and let me know if I've screwed it up.

Anyway, back in the 1970s when I wrote <<ahem>> "erotica" for a living, my books ran about 40,000 words. So I've written the equivalent of about 10 of those books. I'n case you're wondering, I got paid about $800 per book which, in those days, provided a living of sorts.

Incidentally, my personal record for a book of that size, from start to post office, writing, editing and retyping courtesy of my patient and passionate (resulting in interruptions in the editing process) wife was 8 days. In the space of about 5 years I think we went through three or four typewriters, starting with a Smith Corona portable up to an IBM Model C (the BEST!) as I churned out 50 or so books.

Now where was I going with all this? Oh, yeah.

If I had known this project was going to grow like it has I would have started a list of characters with their identifying characteristics when I wrote Carl, adding to it as I went along. But I didn't, so now, if I want to bring someone back, I have to search for where they first showed up, which is why, as I said, I downloaded each book as a single text file, making it easy to search, rather than having to do it chapter by chapter.

So here we are, and one of my correspondents has tracked down three "Henrys" -- Henry the blind sculptor, Henry the Gerbil in middle school, who underwent a DNA transfer or something into a hamster in Dee Does High School, and of course Henry/Henri the hairdresser.

Note to self: No more Henrys.

Of course there's always a chance I'll slip up on something else. If I do, let me know.



Book Chapters Words Words/Chap
Carl Naked in School 15 39,834 2,656
Carl NiS Beth's Story 8 28,613 3,577
Beth Naked in School 12 55,997 4,666
Carl & Beth Sex Ed 11 69,146 6,286
Dee Does Middle School 15 110,912 7,394
Dee Does HS as of10/31/ 22 144,453 6,566
TOTAL as of 10/31/2012 83 448,955 5,409