1. Fiender
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    Fiender New Member

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    How long should a novel be?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Fiender, Jun 2, 2008.

    What is the average length a published novel should be? Right now my WIP is around 51,000 words.
     
  2. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    It should be just as long as fits your story. Just like many issues- what your plot is, if it's a series or stand-alone, what you name a setting- it doesn't matter half as much as how well written the story is.
    Quality over quantity, always.
     
  3. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Fiender,

    It depends on the genre and the market you intend to submit to. In general 51,000 words will be too short for most print publishers. E-book publishers may be more open to it.

    You may/will get a variety of length opinions in this thread. In my research and experience, generally 70,000 to 125,000 is acceptable to many print publishers. Between 90,000 and 110,000 is probably even closer to what would work best.

    As I indicated, each individual publisher has its own preference. See their guidelines. Some request for nothing over 100,000. Others say they rarely publish anything under 80,000 or under 100,000. Some put caps for 130,000 words.

    Unless you're writing to a specific market (and I am not so sure that is wise), my suggestion would be to write the story, make it as strong as possible, and then seek a market for it.

    With this in mind, realize that the market for novellas is limited. But if that is what it ends up, begin submitting to identifed markets once it's polished and as good as can be. I would not bother trying to find an agent to represent a novella. Those who do from a first time writer are from what I can tell, nonexistant. You'd be wasting time and postage.

    While it is out on submission, write something else.

    Good luck!

    Terry
     
  4. jps117
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    jps117 Member

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    Just tell the story. Whatever length i ends up being, if it's a good story, you should be able find a publisher. Personally, I think the more the better, but you don't want the story to bore the reader.

    Also, if it's 'too long' than you can just make it into multiple books.
     
  5. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I agree...if you look at Baen books' website they actually give you some ideas of how long a novel should be per word.
     
  6. Scribe Rewan
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    Scribe Rewan Contributing Member

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    How close are you to finishing your WIP? 100,000 words seems like a safe target. I seem to remember reading that 80-120 thousand words is the usual or something like that. But as someone else said, make it as long as it needs to be.
     
  7. CybaSumo
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    CybaSumo New Member

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    depends on you, on how you express your feelings through it, not just writing out of a whim.
     
  8. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    I think the best advice has already been given. Step 1 - tell the story. Don't worry about length yet, since most readers can stop filer a mile away. Step 2 - worry about length only after you've finished editing it.
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Wolfie is right on target.

    This is a question that gets asked often here at wf.org. Don't force your story to be what it is not. Write it well and let it determine its own length. If it turns out not to be an appropriate length for a novel, then this wasn't the story for it. You can always, always, always write again. Just as Wolfie has mentioned, I can spot the filler parts to a novel in a sec. This is always very off-putting as a reader and will usually cause a book to go into the done with that pile long before the last page.
     
  10. Trollhammaren
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    Trollhammaren Member

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    Exactly what the others said. But, for instance, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone wasn't a massive, lengthy tome, so don't be put off when you wander into book stores and see things the size of a bus.
     
  11. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Shoot for 300,000...the editor is going to cut 200,000 anyway! LOL
     
  12. DavidGil
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    DavidGil Senior Member

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    I don't know if I'm alone in this but my advice:

    I'd reccomend holding off on any lengthy projects (saving them) over the reccomended limit by publishers. By holding off, I mean work on shorter projects on the side and attempt to publish them first while working on the longer work.

    Then, if you have luck with the shorter stories, hopefully the publishing world will be more open to your magnum opus.
     
  13. ANT (Bar YOSEF)
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    ANT (Bar YOSEF) Contributing Member

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    Ive often wondered this myself. In the case of JUDEA CAPTA, im thinking that I could also write about Masada and thus make it into a collection. Im still undecided though!
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    hopefully, that was meant as a joke... don't take it seriously, anyway, since editors don't ever do that much 'adjusting'... the ms has to be within the publisher's acceptable range, to be considered... it's not wise to count on being an exception to their rule...
     

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