1. Patrick94
    Offline

    Patrick94 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Ireland

    How to count words

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Patrick94, May 5, 2011.

    Not small little essays, I mean like novels. How do you do it? Copy the whole thing into a word count machine, or what? Or do a small bit and then work it out by multiplying?
     
  2. Youniquee
    Offline

    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    733
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Under your bed.
    On word 2007, it usually says it at the bottom, so I take it from there.. I forgot how to access it if you have word 2007 though..
    What program are you using?
     
  3. Leatherworth Featherfist
    Offline

    Leatherworth Featherfist Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    California
    I'm sure a word count machine would work just fine, if you felt like copying the whole thing. I don't use Microsoft Word, but I'm pretty sure that there is an option for "Word Count" in that program. I could be wrong, but I feel like I've seen that before.
     
  4. Leonardo Pisano
    Offline

    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Messages:
    453
    Likes Received:
    13
    You can also put a field into your document (in Word 2003/2007 for sure) that shows you statistics such as word count, # of characters, and so on....
     
  5. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    I use Word 2010. It does it for me.
     
  6. Arathald
    Offline

    Arathald Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    Messages:
    314
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Seattle
    Uhh... I wouldn't trust copying my story into an online word count tool. Any word processor should have this feature. In Word 2010 (and I think it's the same in 2007), in the "Review" tab, there's a big button that says "Word Count". For any other word processor, either use their help system, or simply go to your favorite search engine and type "<word processor> word count" (sans quotes).
     
  7. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Even many text editors have word count capabilities, not that you should use a text editor for creative writing.
     
  8. Melzaar the Almighty
    Offline

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    UK
    There can be quite big differences in calculation between programs. NaNoWriMo shows this up. The word count validator has a totally different idea: with Word, when you paste it in, you lose sometimes up to a thousand words over the course of the novel. With Open Office you can gain up to a thousand. I use Open Office for my NaNoWriMos. :p Even copying between Open Office and Word there are slight differences in word count for very long pieces. I'd imagine the internet ones are quite literal. It comes down to what punctuation counts, and whether hyphenated words are 1 or 2 :p

    The only way to know for certain would be to take a month off life and count a novel by hand.
     
  9. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Word is the standard for electronic submissions, so an "official" word count will be whatever Word says it is. The differences are probably due to how separations between words are measured. So is a hyphenate one word or two? What about contractions? It depends on what rules the program is built with.

    When giving a word count, you are supposed to round the number anyway, depending on what length category/range you are in.
     
  10. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    There are a few of us hereabouts who could easily knock together a quick computer program to count according to different rules. No need for a month off life.
     
  11. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    as noted above, the accepted way is to use your word processor's word count total and then round it off [to the nearest 500]...

    if for some odd reason you can't do that, then if you have used the standard ms format of courier new 12 pt font, 1" margins all around, double-spacing with indents and no blank lines between paragraphs, your pages will contain an average of 250 words... so you can multiply that times the number of pages to get a rough total...
     
  12. Thom
    Offline

    Thom Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    9
    And if you want to do a word-count in a bought off the shelf book, you count how many lines are on a single page, then how many words are in that line. Count a couple of lines to get a general estimate, then times line count by word count, then times that total by the number of pages in the book.

    Like the book I'm reading now, Susan Dexter's 'The Prince of Ill-Luck.' Page 98 has 43 lines with an average of 12 words. 43 X 12 = 516. 516 words x 248 pages = 127,968 words. Average...
     
  13. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    There's really not much point to counting the words in someone else's book. All you need to know is what your word count is, and what your publishers will look for from an unknown writer. Don't expect the publisher to overlook their guidelines for a suberbly written manuscript (which, of course, yours will be). They'll never discover your brilliant writing if your word count is well outside their quidelines, because you'll be screened out before your manuscript would even get to the submissions editor.
     
  14. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    ditto that!... important points to keep in mind...
     

Share This Page