1. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Too short?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by captain kate, Dec 23, 2008.

    I just finished my rewrite/revision of "The Betrayal" and it stands at 78K....is this too short?

    its only 20k shorter them some of David Weber's novella's in "Worlds of Honor" etc etc....
     
  2. Show
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    78k? You mean in file size?
     
  3. othman
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    othman Member

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    He means 78,000 words I think.

    If it feels right, then trying to expand it will feel horrible to you and have a high risk of you destroying some powerful scenes. Shortening isn't too hard on either you, the author, nor the book itself but lengthening is hard and very risky. At least it is in my opinion.
     
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    Oh, ok. 78,000 words eh? That sounds about right. Isn't that technically consided to be novel length anyway?
     
  5. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    It really depends on what you want to do with it. In general, if it's done well, it doesn't matter how long it is. The right length will happen. On the other hand, to be practical, it does depend on if you want to publish it and who you want to send it to. I have seen a few publishers specifically say what they want is 80-120k. You're only about ten pages off. Unless the publisher is being specific with their word count, I doubt they would care about a few pages if what you have is really good.
     
  6. othman
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    othman Member

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    Hmm, You could always add Authors notes or Prologue...or do they not add to the word count? I really don't know.
     
  7. Show
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    Do Forwards count towards word count? (Still new to this so I wouldn't know) Cause if they do, you could always add one of those, maybe to say a few introductory words about the book and what you hope the reader takes away from it? IDK, hope you figure out a solution, and that's even if you need one. Cause being 2000 words under doesn't seem like too big a difference, so you might be alright.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's never a good idea to add a 'forward' [sic] or afterword, or prologue/epilogue, just to inflate word count...

    if the work is good enough, it won't matter if it's on the low side of the optimum 80-100 k [= thousand, not kilobytes] for a first novel...
     
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    Well, then, it should ok then. I doubt 2000 words will be significant enough to keep it from being published.
     
  10. Little Miss Edi
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    Little Miss Edi Contributing Member

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    I personally think novels around 80k are a great length. But if you're worried you can always revist areas within the novel that you would have liked to ellaborate, back story that wasn't told, flesh out a villain or enhance a few of those key scenes. Just make sure you go back a re-edit to make sure it's coherent and it flows.

    Writing's an on going process. Good luck :)
     
  11. RIPPA MATE
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  12. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've been told many publishers go by page numbers as well as word count. Before you try and alter what you've written, perhaps you can just check if some of your paragraphs are long; maybe you can divide them. This will lengthen the finished manuscript; also, have you got enough chapters? Maybe you can split the novel differently. Again, this can make the novel a more attractive length.
     
  13. Show
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    To my understanding, pages on Word Processing programs are not necessarily a page of a published novel. Is that true, and is their some kind of conversion formula?
     
  14. garmar69
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    My personal opinion is if you want to add a bit to the length--not that you actually said you want to--but if you do, Edi's advice is the only way to go, I think.

    I always feel that drafts should become progressively smaller, tighter. Unless like Edi says, some of the characters/back story need fleshing out.

    Good luck, and I hope you get published! ~Gar.

    Edited to add: It seems silly to me--no offense folks--to manipulate paragraphs, etc to make your manuscript look longer. that reeks of trickery, imo. * puts on flame retardant suit *

    I would confine my efforts to making the content most important, which I'm sure you have done.
     
  15. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, it depends what you're writing.
    Some publishing houses certainly DO have a policy on length (I've got clear guidelines from two PHs which I sent off for)--and not just cheap romance type publishers, either.

    I'll have to get back to the author who told me a formula for calculating the page length--it IS a bit different to a page on Word. I wonder if there's anything on the net?

    A publisher wouldn't pass up a sensational new talent just for the sake of a few pages, I guess. It depends what market you think your novel falls into--but at the end of the day, we're delivering a product.
     
  16. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can understand that for sure. What I question though, would be the practice of altering a manuscript to fit a certain set of guidelines. But I can see shooting for a certain length--if the story can justify it.

    I'm not sure, but there are some knowledgeable folks here that could answer that.

    I bet the first publishing house to send JK Rowling down the street underwent some 'restructuring' after she hit it big. LMAO!
     
  17. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I'm not worried about length anymore given that Baen is whom I'm targeting and they want 100-130k words...

    So i"m going to go back and write it i originally did...which puts me in that range..
     
  18. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    And of coursek, save this shorter version should it not work out with Baen. I'm sure you know expect about 1 year before it even gets it's chance to bump up out of the slush pile there.

    Good luck!

    Terry
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    mad...
    what publishers told you that?... were they in the us or the uk?... i've never heard of any publisher wanting to deal with a ms' page count in a query... all they need is total word count, since the page count can vary widely, according to format, font, and such... and the book's pages are not designed till after you have a contract and the book is being set up for printing, so a total wouldn't be known or relevant till then...

    as for 'page length' i have to assume the word count per page was being referred to, so that comes out to an average of 250 words per page, if you double space, use the standard courier 12 pt font and have 1" margins all around...
     
  20. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    also...one sure way to end up in the slush pile is to ignore submission guidelines. Most literary agents and publishers post their requirements (including total word count), along with their desired format. Typical total word count ranges from 90k to 110k for novel submissions and if you ignore their guidelines, you can bet that they will dump your manuscript in favor of submissions that followed instructions.
     
  21. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks' first novel was what 45,000 words?

    It depends on the genre and publisher, but 80k is good for a first time novel. From what I read by publishers they don't like to publish anything over 90k for an author's first novel.
     
  22. Show
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    That'd be good since if I ever finish it, my first novel should be under 90, but over 80. (That's my goal anyway) So I guess I fit in, hopefully.
     
  23. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just found the thread again! I think the publisher was A&C Black (UK) but because I didn't think their style was for me I haven't got the folder with me. I sent off to several publishers last summer when I was with my family in France (cheaper for them to send to EU countries), and I brought the stuff that interested me back home at the end of the holiday. I found everyone very helpful but it took them a while to get back to me sometimes. I recommend others to do the same to get a picture of the market.
     
  24. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ok, so they're a uk firm... that may explain the difference... and/or it could be they were referring to children's books, which they specialize in... and for picture book mss it would help to have an idea of how many pages the author intended the text to cover, since they're not arranged the same way as other books...
     

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