1. ScottM84
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    ScottM84 Member

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    What's a good word count?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ScottM84, May 20, 2014.

    I read on one website that a good total word count for juvenile fiction is 40-55,000 words, and on another website that 3,000 words per chapter is a good count. Are those figures pretty accurate, or would you disagree with that? If you do, what range do you think I should aim for?
     
  2. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Well, the recommended word count for a no name is 80k. But the word count for the story and the chapters should simply be what's required.
     
  3. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    For normal fiction I've read that publishers want at least 70,00 words, but I'm not sure about Juvenile Fiction. A quick google search of the term made me think "Young Adult" (I say Divergent and Hunger Games, for example) so those are full length novels. If you're referring to children's books, I truly don't know.
     
  4. ScottM84
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    ScottM84 Member

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    I'm shooting for middle school age, if that gives any additional guidance.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...that only applies to the younger half of the YA market... for picture books and first chapter books, the count is much to somewhat shorter...

    ...that would be too long for younger readers and is an arbitrary figure for any age... not all advice you'll find online is good advice... and not all is being given by experienced professionals, so you need to carefully vet all sources... and even then, take such absolutes with a goodly does of morton's...

    ...no...

    yes...

    ...depends on the book/story and your writing style... you need to study the most popular MG books on the market and decide on that basis, not what anyone and everyone you find on the internet advises... and that includes me!

    ...that said, i've written and edited childrens' books for a chicago publisher and mentored many aspiring children's book writers, so i speak from many years' experience...

    best of luck with your book...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  6. ScottM84
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    ScottM84 Member

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    That's precisely why I decided to ask those questions here. I appreciate your straightforwardness.

    I have a couple of more specific questions now, partly based on what you said, and partly from turning things over in my head.

    First, when you talked about studying the most popular middle grade books and basing my answer on that, and yet you talk about taking even professional advice with a goodly dose of Morton's, do you mean to find out what range typical books in the category that mine falls into and use it as a general guide, but not necessarily a hard and fast rule?

    Second, since I'm still in the process of writing a rough draft, should I really even be very concerned about word count right now? Would I be better off to just write and see where it all falls and worry about a word count more during the editing process?
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...yes and no... if you check say a dozen of the top selling MG books, you will find there is a 'range' of from x to y number of words... that range will be the 'rule' for you to follow, while no specific word count will be mandatory...

    again, yes and no...

    on the yes side, you're right that you shouldn't worry about it as you're writing the first draft... and can deal with it as you edit...

    but on the no side, if you don't at least have an idea of a lower and upper limit in mind, when you're planning the story, you'll be liable to make it way too short, or way too long... and having to add or take out a huge amount of words is much harder than you may think, to do successfully...

    successful authors have learned how to do both...
     
  8. GoldenFeather
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    GoldenFeather Active Member

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    I think it's silly to aim for any word count if I had to be honest. Tell your story the way it's meant to be told. Whatever count you end up on, that's the count your story should be.

    I mean look at the Harry Potter books. That's children's fiction, or juvenile fiction, and you don't see any specific word count being aimed for. Just focus on telling the story. If you want a specific word count, then mould your story to it after. For now, write with nothing but telling the story in your mind.
     

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