1. joeh1234
    Offline

    joeh1234 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2016
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    86

    breaking the 50k word count.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by joeh1234, Jun 10, 2016.

    Hello All

    This is my first post here, so I hope this is the correct place to ask this question.

    I am currently writing my second book, I completed my first book last year, after sending it to multiple places it for representation/publishing it was shot down, one place offered to publish but wanted me to do so many edits to the story I just thought No I am happy with it so sod them. My first book was around the 50k word mark.
    I am about a quarter of the way through my second story and it this rate I believe I will be finishing at around the same word count, when my first book was rejected one thing that came up often was that 50k words is just not enough.
    So my question is when I finish my story and I am at the same word count, do I go back and pad it out with descriptions (even though I hate the idea of doing this). When I write I don't go anywhere near the level of description I see in some books (i.e I read a Jack Reacher novel recently where nearly 2 chapters were dedicated to the description of the road layout of a town, which really wasn't relevant to the story or added anything to it) I know Lee Child is massively successful so who am I to judge?
    So I was wondering what do other people do in the situation when they finish do they go back and pad it out or go back and add another layer/dimension to the story and grow it that way.
    Thoughts?

    thanks
    Joe
    P.S I accept that the escuse of 50k words not being enough might have just been a polite way of saying were not interested in a story about the universe being in the mind of a god (kind of the theme for my first story )
     
  2. Komposten
    Offline

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    1,581
    Likes Received:
    670
    Location:
    Sweden
    I don't have much experience in regards to this as I don't write novels myself, but I do think that you should not force your book to be a certain word length. If you pad it out you will probably add a lot of garbage that isn't needed for the story, which may very well be noted by anyone reading the book. Instead I suggest that you let the story decide the length of the book, and maybe try to develop the story as you go to add more depth and dimension to it (as you suggested). But if you can't get it to develop into something larger with the story you have, you should probably be happy with the story as is rather than forcing it to be something it will never be.

    (Edit: Just to clarify, this is my own opinion of the matter and may not necessarily be the only view on this question.)
     
  3. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,649
    Likes Received:
    5,130
    I think adding description you don't really want is a poor way to increase word count, but you may be able to find places where you could add characterisation/emotional depth, subplots, meaningful description, etc.

    50K is really short for almost all genres/categories, but adding another 20-30K through pointless description probably isn't going to work. Try to add depth, not surface.
     
  4. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,520
    Likes Received:
    1,345
    Hi Joe,

    I'm quite attracted to the idea of a story about the universe being in the mind of a god, so stick with that.

    As to the reasons for your rejection, yes 50k is short. Conventional wisdom is that you need to be around the 100k mark.

    As to how you achieve that magic number, who knows? Without having seen an example of your writing, it's difficult to tell you what you could do differently and get more wordcount without - as @Komposten suggests - putting in padding that will merely dilute your story; so, have a bit of patience, complete your requirements to earn posting rights, and post an example of your writing for us to critique...complete with a comment about any specific aspects that you'd like commented upon (such as how to increase your wordcount)
     
    Komposten likes this.
  5. Brindy
    Offline

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Hi, if you have two books each of 50k words, could they not be turned into one book, or are they not linked?
     
    Cave Troll likes this.
  6. joeh1234
    Offline

    joeh1234 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2016
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    86
    Hey thanks for your reply, not saying I am as gifted as Fitzgerald but the great Gatsby is about 50k words and that's one of my favourite books, and just had a quick look and there are lots of classics around the 50k mark. So I don't see what the obsession with the 100k word count.
    I think after I have finished this one and have got the ball rolling on sending it out I am going to revisit my first book and give it a re-write as there are sections which could be better and possible make it more reader friendly and not self indulgent :D
    thanks
    JOe
     
  7. joeh1234
    Offline

    joeh1234 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2016
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    86
    Hey, no unfortunately no link first book like I say is a complex look at why humans are on earth and ultimately it all being in the mind of a god( to much to explain but its quite abstract).
    The second book I'm currently working through is a murder mystery type affair, more to it than that obviously but wouldn't want to bore you with the details :D
     
    Brindy likes this.
  8. Brindy
    Offline

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    OK, I can see why that wouldn't work
     
  9. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,649
    Likes Received:
    5,130
    There's nothing wrong with a shorter book - but there's also nothing wrong with publishers deciding it's not what they want to publish. If you're writing to please yourself, that's great, but you may want to consider self-publishing or not publishing at all. If you want to have a publisher invest a good bit of their money in your book, you're probably going to need to make some efforts to give them what they want. And it should be what they want now, not what they wanted half a century ago.
     
  10. joeh1234
    Offline

    joeh1234 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2016
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    86
    Hey only just seen your reply, I agree letting the story dictate the length seems like the way to go but I naturally seem to find myself at around the 50k mark, weird I know but its where I always seem to feel comfortable. Since starting this thread I have had a few more ideas to add more dimensions to the story so that's good. Thanks all for replying.
     
  11. Komposten
    Offline

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    1,581
    Likes Received:
    670
    Location:
    Sweden
    Well, I naturally seem to find myself at the 2-3k mark. So 50k is not all that bad. ;)
     
    Brindy likes this.
  12. joeh1234
    Offline

    joeh1234 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2016
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    86
    haha well if you have 50 of them 2-3k beauty's you've got yourself a book of extremely short stories :D
     
    Komposten likes this.
  13. Tenderiser
    Offline

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,288
    Likes Received:
    5,161
    Location:
    London, UK
    Self-published novellas seem quite popular. If your goal is just to get the books out there, that option's worth exploring.
     
    Brindy likes this.
  14. Buttered Toast
    Offline

    Buttered Toast Active Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    67
    I'm new at writing and haven't got to the point of sending my book off yet, I have finished it, just waiting to buy an editor as I have no money (as I lost my job :(
    Anyhow, I found it easy to describe in my book and I added everything I wanted to into it and ended on just over 80k word count, I didn't know publishers like over a certain amount of words? It's good to know.
    Although I had already decided to go it alone and self publish anyway.
    Personally, if your happy with your story then leave it alone, don't change it for the sake of changing it, don't be pressured into it, you might regret it later!
     

Share This Page