1. S.R Kenrickson
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    S.R Kenrickson New Member

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    How long is your novel?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by S.R Kenrickson, Sep 5, 2013.

    Or if you are in the process of writing one, how long do you plan yours to be?
    Mine so far is 173,000 words, planning to be over 400,000, but is split into two, like books such as a storm of swords. This is my first novel, and yes I am aware it will likely be a nightmare to try and get it published at such a length for a first timer like myself.
     
  2. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Just started the new one a few days ago. Currently the prologue is written at 1,705 words and chapter one is hanging around 988 words. All told, It'll probably hit the 300,000+ word range.
     
  3. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I had originally planned for 100-110k word count and it's right on schedule At the time I had no idea that a publishable novel is between 80-120k so perfect me thinks.
     
  4. Sandfire
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    Sandfire Member

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    First story I finished in recent memory was 42k--more of a novella than a novel for the fantasy genre, I think. First 'real novel' that I finished was 220k; its sequel was 172k, the third in the trilogy is currently in the prewriting/planning phase...and I'm not good enough at guessing to have any idea what its word count will be. With the expectations set by the first two, I'm hoping it will be in the 175-225k range.

    I started doing my research on publishing and lost hope of getting someone to look at a 220k debut, so I tried to write something shorter. I just finished a stand-alone novel that came in just under 85k, but it might need fleshing out a bit before I try to get it published.
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    My first draft came in at about 78,000 words. It will grow in future drafts to about 100,000 to 110,000 words, I expect.
     
  6. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I've never had a problem with keeping the word count at a respectable amount, and I suppose I should be more thankful of a gift like that! The first novel I ever wrote has just had its third draft completed, and it stands at 80,000 words, which is about right for a YA.

    My second novel is about to go into third draft stage, but that's much shorter - about 56,000 words, but I'm hoping to flesh it out big time to about 70,000-80,000 words, and for a post apocalyptic drama, that' again not too bad.

    Finally, I'm planning a fantasy novel, but I've written a few scenes and I'm already at 6,000 words, so I reckon it'll have to be a duology at least. But if I do split the story up, I guess the first book will stand at 100,000 words or so. :)
     
  7. A.L.Mitchell
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    A.L.Mitchell Active Member

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    I am on my first novel, at the moment I am 13,910 words. The aim is 90,000 to 120,000 words at the end of it all.
     
  8. Logal
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    Logal New Member

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    My first draft which I recently completed(amazing feeling!) came in at 107,000 words, and I expect that will climb to about 120,000 after several rewrites.
     
  9. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    I write young adult. My recently completed project was 74,000 words in the first draft and 66,000 in the final draft.
     
  10. EllBeEss
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    EllBeEss Contributing Member

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    Mine is 4380, started it like two weeks ago. I haven't got very far but exams will do that.
     
  11. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Doorways which I just pubbed a couple of days ago came in at 95k, and Wildling which is about to go to editing is 110k. However I cover the range. Shortest novel is 47k and the longest 250k.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  12. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    My and KaTrian's current WIP is around 214 or 229k, depending on whether we add the final chapter or leave it out. We're just in the process of revision, so the wordcount will probably change a bit, hopefully diminish. Our next project will be notably shorter, hopefully well under 100k, but we've just come to realize over the years that we plain suck at writing short novels. We've tried a few times, but they just don't seem to work as well, but since that, too, is a skill, we just need to work on it some more.
     
  13. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It used to be at 80k - right now it's gone up to 98k (sh*t lol, hadn't realised) but I'm only about half way through adding stuff. Haven't a clue how many words it'd actually end up as.
     
  14. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I always cringe when my work starts creeping over the 100k mark. I have two that top out over a buck and a half, one of which is hovering around 200k after first edits . That one still has edits to go through and will be reduced by at least 25% which is not bad for the genres (family saga/3 generations). The other uber long piece clocks in at 173k and is a fantasy which, again, is not too bad for the genre but I would be happier if I could slash it down to the 125 range. It's 'shelved' for the time being however, as is the fam saga. More urgent mss (as well as home construction!) have taken my attention of late.

    Just a caveat as far as word count is concerned. If you are writing for publication other than online self-pub, it's a good idea not to thumb your nose at the standards too much. Publishers have to be really, REALLY enamoured of a work outside the "average" word count to decide to publish it. Agents know this and know what boundaries they can push. You will, likewise, have to really impress an agent with a shorter or longer... especially MUCH longer work than the general parameters of a genre if you want to sign with one. Obviously, if you are looking at self-publishing/e-publishing, you have a much more lenient scope on which to depend. But, even there, if you want to sell, you want to be aware of the industry standards. You don't have the money managers breathing down your neck but you still want your work to make a decent show of itself!
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    all of you who have mss that are way over the generally-preferred max of 100k should know that your chances of finding an agent or publisher to take them on are slim to none and will have to self-publish, if you want to see your mss in book form...
     
  16. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think it matters how long the drafts are. Some writers like to write everything, go into minutiae, go off topic etc. Then they mercilessly cut out all the crap and everything that isn't relevant to the story in the final draft, and end up with a tight novel with acceptable word count. Being in love with our own words doesn't serve us too well in the editing process, so keep that in mind. Good luck :)
     
  17. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    Agreed, last time I checked mine was around 144k (still not done at 42 chapters and thinking it will end around 62), but now since im doing a bunch of edits and cutting out unnecessary details I really have no idea.
     
  18. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I cannot imagine writing over 200k and none of it being 'fluff.' When things get that long, there's probably more than one main plot and it'd be better off as a series. The few times I've tried to read books of that length, I've failed to finish it because the author is just rambling or the plot is bumbling along. If someone can write a tight, properly-paced, no-nonsense novel of 250,000+ words, good for them… but I think it's incredibly rare.

    My recently-completed sci-fi novel came in at 125,000 words in the first draft and a little over 123,000 in the final draft, after five rounds of revision. I cut, I add, I revise, but the count stays right on the money. Then again, I'm one of those "get it right the first time" kind of people. I don't like to write minimally and then add, or overwrite and then cut. I'd rather get it (close to) right the first time. My editing process focuses on details, minutae, and fine-tuning, not cutting/adding entire scenes.
     
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  19. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    My last novel was somewhere between 90-100k on the final draft. The earliest draft had been 185k - but that reads as a very different story. I actually prefer the first draft myself, but the style was blunt/messy and the story much too cluttered (characters/sub-plots) to really show to an audience. I guess the best word to describe my approach to the first draft is "self-indulgent": it was written to appeal only to myself.

    My other novels range between 90k - 150k.
     
  20. CyberFD
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    CyberFD Member

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    My current WIP is 35k words, and I'm hoping to get that up to around 100k-ish
     
  21. archerfenris
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    archerfenris Active Member

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    My WIP is a fantasy novel currently sitting around 40k. Aiming for 150k before cutting it down to around 120k in the final edit.
     
  22. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    My first novel is 126K words, it came out as 436 pages in printed form (just been released). In the first draft it was just 70K so it grew quite a lot. My current novel finished at 64K in the first draft, I don't think it will be much more than 70-75K at the most after revision. I think I just write very short first drafts and then I have to develope a lot of things furter that I just hinted at in the beginning.
     
  23. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    My current novel is 115k words...it's only the first draft though I like to get everything out before I start cutting. I hope to get it to 80k-90k words by the time it reaches a publishable form.
     
  24. Nightstar99
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    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

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    This is a good list of famous word counts. Atlas Shrugged came in at a whopping 562,000 words!

    http://indefeasible.wordpress.com/2008/05/03/great-novels-and-word-count/

    My word count is way too long, will probably be 250,000 when I finish and there is no way I can split it into two or three books sadly.

    I'm not seriously intending to send it off, not many agents will look at a wordcount that high from a new writer. Fortunately I have a lot of shorter projects I can work on after that I should be able to finish quite quickly. Maybe some way down the line I will find a home for the first one.

    I do think its imporant to write the story you have to write regardless of the words.

    None of us are doing it for the money right?
     
  25. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm surprised to see how short some of these classics really are. Some of them are under 60,000 words, and I always thought 60,000 was the low-end cutoff for being considered a proper novel.

    Of course, I'm always distrustful of data given to six significant digits - it's the engineer in me. The Tolstoy number, and also the Balzac, will depend on the translation, for instance.

    Wikipedia lists some novel lengths. Look for "list of longest novels" there. You'll find some disagreement with the data at Nightstar's link. Atlas Shrugged is listed by Wikipedia at 645,000 words, for example.
     

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