The Magic 80,000-Word Mark

By Mark Alpert

Whenever I’m writing a novel, I stop and take note of two special mileposts along the way. The first is the 20,000-word mark. Once I’ve written the first 20,000 words of a manuscript, I’m pretty sure it’s a keeper. I’m hooked by the idea and I can’t stop writing. I’m on my way.

The other special milepost is the 80,000-word mark. At this point, I can see the end of the book, and I start racing to the finish.

That’s where I am right now. I can’t think of anything but the novel. Well no, that’s not exactly true. I still have to pay the bills. And get my son a new laptop before he goes off to college. (He starts at Wesleyan next month.) And yes, I did go to a Yankee game this week. (See the picture above.)

But that’s it. All the rest of my mental energy goes into the novel. I’ll come up for air when I’m done!


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About Mark Alpert

Contributing editor at Scientific American and author of science thrillers: Final Theory (2008), The Omega Theory (2011), Extinction (2013), The Furies (2014) and The Six (2015). Next books: The Orion Plan (coming February 2016) and The Siege (July 2016). His website:

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