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How's the novel going?

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Don;t get too hung up on maintaining a strict structure. It stifles creativity in your writing. Instead just go with the flow and let things happen. You'll find the whole thing more enjoyable. Originally I was just going to write about 90,000 words for my second book but idea after idea kept coming and it became this giant, enormous, epic tomb.

I'd say plan loosely, but don't be afraid to go where the story or your characters take you. The first draft is just one of many, and it's about finding the focus of your story and fleshing out your characters. The second draft is where the delete key gets some action.

As for word count, look at your genre and aim for a similar length as this is what people expect. Obviously, if it's fantasy people like long books, but even so you need to make sure every word counts and that the book is no longer than it needs to be (something that George RR Martin seems to have forgotten). It's a lot harder to pace a long book than a short one.

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