1. nomadpenguin
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    nomadpenguin Member

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    How to gauge how much you've written?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by nomadpenguin, Jul 26, 2012.

    What is a good way to figure out how many pages you have written? I understand that different books have different page sizes, but it would still be nice to have an approximation. I frequently find myself writing a few pages on notebook paper (or type a few letter size pages) , then worry if my story is progressing too quickly. It would be very comforting to be able to figure out how much 'book' I've written.
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Count in words, not pages!
    Count the pages? If counting words, count how many words in the first line then count the number of lines on the page then times it by the approx number of words in a line...
    I hope that made sense!
     
  3. Prince_Genji
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    Prince_Genji Member

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    Most authors will count the words to determine length. Even professionally printed pages vary the size of the type and paper immensely. If you want to use a program like "Microsoft Word" for typing; the vast majority of such programs will count automatically. I'm not sure how you would calculate an "average" page size other than just writing out a page in average sized handwriting. Of course people will disagree on what constitutes "average" size hand writing.

    In my opinion a fast progressing story is good as long as you don't write too much more than you need. Even if you do really good writing is %99 rewriting anyway. Whatever you want to write, make sure you read some professional opinions on how it's done. You don't always have to follow them but they provide a nice base. Perhaps telling us what exactly you want to write, and any other details you think might be interesting.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Publishers don't give a crap about page counts. Page counts are too variable, depending as they do on font size and spacing, page size, ande margins.

    Publishers only care about word counts, and good news! Every word processor, and most text editors, give you word counts with a quick command or a glance at the status bar.

    So shake off the notion of page counts, and let the layout wizards worry about such minutiae.
     
  5. nomadpenguin
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    nomadpenguin Member

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    I realize that I should be counting words, but I have no idea how many words I'm reading when I pick up a book. Therefore, I don't know how much I've written when I display the word count.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Count the words on a page of a book you have in your shelf. It's easy. Try counting a page that's mostly dialogue, because it'll have more blank space, then count a page with lots of description or exposition, because it'll be more densely printed. Estimate what percent of the pages in the book are dialogue and what percent are more densely printed. Heck, get as complicated as you want to approach the accuracy that you want. But just count the words on an "average" page and do the math.

    Also, you can find lots of famous books that are out of copyright free online in text form. Load them into Word or your favorite word processor, and let it count the words in the whole book. That will give you some idea of how much "book" a given number of words is.

    Use your imagination, your math skills, your software tools, and your initiative. You'll find you can solve problems like this yourself.
     
  7. BBBurke
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    BBBurke Member

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    If you're asking how long (in words) is a normal book, then that can vary quite a bit. If you do a search for word count by genre google will spit out an answer. But just to ballpark some things for you:

    - most agents look for first time novels to be in the 50,000 (rather short) to 100,000 (longish) range.
    - 'Epic' books might be up to 150,000 words or more.
    - most first novels end up with many more words than they should have.
     
  8. MVP
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    I did this for a few different books. Got the same average # for all of them.
     
  9. inkyliddlefingers
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    inkyliddlefingers Member

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    Unless you are writing for children, and then the word counts are generally dependant upon age range. My '7-11 yrs' novel is just under 25,000. But the YA I am just starting to write will be around 40,000.

    I write my first draft by hand. When getting a feel for word count, I count the lines on my page. I then count the words on half of the page and double it. I make a note of this in the back of my note book. The at any given point I can count the pages and multiply it by the average words per page.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    50k would be way too short for an adult novel... 80-100k is the range most publishers [thus, most agents] want from a new, unknown writer...

    50k would be ok only for YA... don't go by the fact that 'bridges of madison county' and 'the notebook' were less than 40k, as some will do... you need to maximize your book's chances, not count on it being an extremely rare exception to the rule...
     
  11. MeganHeld
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    MeganHeld Senior Member

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    There are many sites out there to find out about word counts. Just google novel word count and it should give a huge list of them by genre and age range.
     
  12. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    There's a lot of argument about how many words make a page, but 250 seems to be pretty well accepted for paperbacks. I think Amazon use 300 to calculate their page estimates for e-books.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    a printed book's word count per page can vary between 250 and 350, depending on the font used and whether it's a hard cover or paperback...
     
  14. mickaneso
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    mickaneso Member

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    I'd say your average novel is 50,000 words = 200 pages. Which would be 250 words per page.

    My personal chapter preference is 2,500 words min, 5,000 words max but obviously there is no defined rule to that.
     
  15. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Pages doesn't matter, word count does. There isn't any true way to determine how many pages you've written. Publishers, whether traditional NYC companies, or smaller e-books businesses do not care about much other then word count in that measure. 80-120k are fairly normal numbers with 80-100k being what they like from new writers.

    Sorry, Mom, missed your post! :)
     
  16. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    From a publishing perspective, obviously it's about the word counts and not the page counts.

    From a purely self-motivational perspective, sometimes it's kind of nice to see page numbers, and I do this all the time. Here's how I do it.


    1. I grab a page from the "Look Inside!" feature of a best-selling novel on Amazon, being careful to use a page that is fairly dense in prose.
    2. I type the contents of the page into my word processor. Needless to say, it does not fill up a page.
    3. I ramp up the font size until it does fill up the page and make a note of the font size. This is my pseudo-page-count benchmark font size.
    4. Any time I need a "rough and ready" sense of how big my book feels, I ramp up the font size to the benchmark, which causes my manuscript to emulate the page count.
    5. I take a peek at my pseudo-page-count, and it makes me feel better.
    6. I dial back the font size to the working size and continue writing.

    It's not science, it's not meaningful to any publisher, but a little self-motivation and positive reinforcement is never a bad thing. Plus it won't harm your liver or get you arrested, so it beats some of the other available crutches. :)
     

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