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  1. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Novel(Word Count)?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by GuardianWynn, Nov 17, 2014.

    Is there a guideline for how long Novels should be in word count? Cuz I have been writing recently and I have been producing about 1,500 word chapters and by the time I am done I am thinking I am going to have 10-15 of them. Is 15,000 to 20,000 words enough for a novel? Does it get called something else if it is too short?
     
  2. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    When I call something a novel, I generally mean one of two things.

    I might just refer to word count; in that case, a novel is over 40,000 words long. 7,500 words makes a novelette; 17,500 words makes a novella. I do not take those distinctions too seriously.

    Or I might refer to narrative scope and plot complexity, which is much more difficult to quantify. But it is difficult to fit a work of fiction with the narrative scope and plot complexity of what I consider a "novel" in 40,000 words.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2014
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  3. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks

    So, you mean what you call a novel in plot complexity you think has to be greatly over 40,000 words?
     
  4. A_Jones
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    A_Jones Member

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    It really depends on the genera. YA fiction can be between 30k to 40k YA fantasy is usually 40k-60k. For Adult fiction is 60k-80k and Adult fantasy can go up as far as 130k. These numbers can very of course but I find that agents stick to these numbers when looking for books.

    Childrens fiction is a whole different ball of wax.
     
  5. Lemon flavoured
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    Lemon flavoured Active Member

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    I quite like long, complex stories, so maybe I'm biased, but to me a novel should be over 50k words.

    This also reminds me that there's a story on fanfiction.net that's famously over 3,000,000 words long. It's pretty coherent by all accounts too.
     
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  6. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Funny enough, what I am working on is the backstory of a Villian from my main story. It takes place from after her death reflecting on her life and past choices. I am thinking that currently it might be hard to strentch the concept of that story past so many words, since she is dead, lol. I am new at writing something that could be called material. My past writing passages have been more akin a summary of ideas.
     
  7. A_Jones
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    Than perhaps short stories are more for you. In that sense you can write out the entire work. Figure out how long it is, then trim the fat. There is ALWAYS fat. Sometimes the fat is important to the genre but in a short story there is very little fat allowed.
     
  8. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Its interesting learning some of the jargon. Looking at the link the first reply poted, it said the strange case of dr.jekyll and mr. hyde was also not a novel, as its word count was to low. I would have never guessed that. What I am currently writing I think in writing dynamic is very simiar so I am fine with what ever title it derserves. lol Just learning what that title is. Plus since I usually write summaries I figure it might be true that I hadn't learned techniques to add the needed fat a novel might want.

    Thanks for the feedback.
     
  9. Aled James Taylor
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    My understanding is that a publisher will be looking for between 80,000 and 100,000 words for a novel from a new author.
     
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  10. A_Jones
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    again, it depends on a genre... of course a children's book is not going to be sold with a word count of 80k.
     
  11. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, if it isn't called a novel cuz of a word count around 20k doesn't other me, but it isn't a kids book. I suppose teens young adult woul like be the target audience.
     
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can tell you that a condition of publication in my contract is that I must get mine down to under 85k words. It's going to take work to reduce it without affecting the story line in some areas but it's well worth it to get my first book published.
     
  15. Hop
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    If your projecting that your word count would be that low I would consider thinking of it as material for a compilation of short stories or novellas that run along with your main story. I suggest this since you mentioned it was a back story of the villain from your main story. So possibly think of it as an accompaniment to the main novel that fleshes out the universe. I'm considering doing the same thing in the way of a bunch of short stories that fleshes out all the mechanics I created for my world. If their are other characters your interested in exploring or just elements that don't quite fit in you could use them as springboards for other stories.
    Of course if you want to release the back story first then this just would not work.
     
  16. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends on the author. I personally would have a difficult time cramming a plot of that complexity into 40,000 words. Other authors (Ernest Hemingway, Cormac McCarthy, et. al.) with a gift for conciseness could probably do it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014
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  17. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    When you a compilation of short stories, do you mean like wait until I have 4 of these and then putting tem all into one book?
    The funny thing is, it does and doesn't flesh out the universe. It talks briefly about terms that the universe's main story uses. It is set in the after life or spirit realm. My mind story really doesn't even dive into if it exits or how that works. In that sense if I used different names the two stories could be shown as completely independent of each other.
    Think that works? If I release this first?
    My main work has like 100k worth of notes(oxymoron!). So I thought this might be a smaller or easier to manage project, plus the muse has demanded I work more on it. lol Technically it isn't a backstory exactly I think. Ok, let me say what it is and you might be able to tell me the correct label.
    Think of my main story as being a trilogy and in book 3 one of the elite enemies is named Kerrin. In the book she dies. This book is about her reflecting on her life. So technically chronologically she ahead of most of the work. Except she doesn't mention anything about the main story except maybe her bosses name and the woman that killed her name. In my WIP she does think about the past and as such maybe her death but everything else she reflects on is much further in the past. Like 200 years before the main characters are even born. This is what I mean by saying I could easily call this stories unrelated. lol So what would you call that?
    Sound interesting? Think releasing it first would be bad? I suppose I could finish it and just leave it ready and waiting for after the main story is released. Seems... so mean to Kerrin to hide her completed story though just to release it at a better publishing time. Maybe I am just weird.

    Thank you for the feedback
     
  18. Chiv
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    My own story is currently being reviewed by a few beta readers (although I am beginning to wonder if they have all fallen off the face of the earth, as I have only heard back from one of them). It is nearly 3ok words in total, and I am calling it a novella. However, I have two other stories that go after it, which will be at least 30k words long each. Perhaps when it is all done I will combine them and make it a novel with three parts. I think this sounds kind of similar to what you are going for. I am also currently working on a novel that will tie in with the events of my others, but I want to make this at least 60k.
     
  19. jannert
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    All this obsession about story length really makes me sad.

    I'm not knocking it on this thread, because word count IS what you need to consider if you're going for publication. Most agents will reject anything that's much over 100,000 words, right out of hand. Some want even less. So you're right to be concerned.

    But when I think of all the fantastic novels out there that I have read over my lifetime, I realise that very few of them would make that 100,000-word target. They are nearly all a LOT longer. Some as long as 250,000-300,000 words. These stories are great to settle in with. Fast, furious reading that seems to be the 'norm' these days lacks depth and engagement for me. It's why I'm not going for traditional publishing at all. It's got nothing to do with 'cutting fat.' It has to do with cutting actual content, killing off the epic creations, creating literary soundbites. While some of what is written that way is very good and satisfying, a lot is not. It's like the difference between a bowl of chips and dip, and a full three-course meal with all the veg and trimmings. I do wish there would be more emphasis on unique vision, quality and immersion, and less on the flipping word count.

    Ach well. I'm an old fart...
     
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  20. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    All of my YES!
    I don't like thinking about a story in context of format and word count. I just want to write a meaningful story with well developed characters that puts a smile on your face and makes you think. If I do it wit 200 words or 200k words seem unimportant to me. On the other hand, I am by no means a expert and would not turn down good advice from people with more knowledge than myself.

    Funny enough I learned the reverse is true. Like the strange case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is not long enough to be consider a novel. Good work isn't bound by word count I think being the point.
     
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  21. Shadowfax
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    I can remember receiving a "Reader's Digest Condensed Book", which contained 2 works..."The Citadel" by A.J.Cronin and one of the "Sharpe" novels...with "The Citadel", you could see the joins, the "Sharpe" novel read as if nothing had been cut.
     
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    It sounds as if you're writing Kerrin's biography...or epitaph...and if she's had an interesting life stretching back over 200 years, there should be enough spicy bits for as many words as you feel like writing.

    Is there a message, a theme, that Kerrin's story is about? The regrets? The promises, fulfilled as well as failed? Obviously, you will need to select those episodes that fit with the theme, but if you focus on, say, regrets, you should present things that she DOESN'T regret as well, to give some balance.
     
  23. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah Kerrin's Biography would be fitting and your write obviously I am hand selecting on some moments. Actually I wasn't showing that many moments of what she regretted(Though some) I was more showing who she was before she did evil things. I thought I could build the longing question of like "Ok, see evil as heck here but this looks a normal girl, what happened to turn her into the monster I saw?!"

    Time line wise I have a present time slowly progressing while it jumps to alternate time lines decently consistently.

    Think this sounds like a good book idea?

    I was calling it The Order: Redemption. The Order is the name of the name story. The theme I was going with I think was her regretting the monster she became.
     
  24. Shadowfax
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    Regrets was only an example of a possible theme..."What turned her into a monster?" is another theme, it works for me. As I said, show some balance, some of her actually NOT being a monster...so that it's not a death-bed conversion, but something that she's felt (deep-down) all along, but somehow couldn't allow herself to follow her conscience.

    "The Order: Redemption" ? Not so sure. What has she done in order to be redeemed? Just saying sorry when you broke your sister's doll isn't really enough, you'd need to DO something to make it up to her.
     
  25. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    lol
    ok. I didn't see "what turned her into a monster" as being a theme, but there is no reason it can't be. So thanks.
    lol She dies before her conversion. So technically it is a dead conversion. I did have ideas on why she coverts. The basic idea being that like the rulers of the after life do the equivalent of shoving a cats face in a pee spot. It is a tad extreme. As for effect. I show her as the comical evil person, the idea is it is a mask, she hides from the pain and the truth from these jokes. And while hidden she started hurting people in fleeting attempt to feel better. The rulers of the after life show her that she had been causing pain not unlike her deep pain. This being what snaps her back.

    Redemption is actually the end idea lol So spoiler!
    The idea is that the rulers offer her a chance to return to Earth, to save the one of the people she wronged. The catch being if she des her soul will die(again). Well more like cease to exist. In my universe souls are not immortal. So the theme being "Will she give up an after life that actually is capable and willing to give her what she wants most in order to save the life of a woman whose family she murdered." A theme is meant to be how hard it is for her to walk away from the thing she wants most. Does that count?
     

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