1. LegendsTheFour
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    LegendsTheFour Member

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    Word, chapters...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by LegendsTheFour, Sep 29, 2013.

    So in a book on say 500-600 pages, how many words are there? I figured it's around like 130-200 000? Am I about right? Also in a chapter how many words should there be? I figured around 4-6000?
     
  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Well, if you're talking MS format, isn't the rule 250 X #pages?
    So 600 pages times 250 is... *gets calc* 150,000.

    Chapter wise, I've seen chapters that were only a paragraph long, a few pages, to over 90 pages.
    I think it really depends on how the author breaks up certain scenes or what piece of information they're to convey.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It depends on the page layout and size. Some pages could have 250 words on average, while others could have only 150. That's why people use word count in the publishing industry.

    This article may be of interest. It gives you the average and median word count for "all books."

    There's no right or wrong answer here. A chapter can be as long or short as it needs to be. Some authors prefer shorter chapters, and others like longer ones (or no chapters at all).
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It really doesn't matter. Only the word count matters.
     
  5. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    From a publisher's POV the number of pages counts a great deal, because ink is cheap and a bigger book makes shipping and production more expensive. A book in which the author has short paragraphs and lots of white space breaks costs more to produce than something with a greater word count but large dense paragraphs.

    The traditional method of word count is based on a typewriter page, which used only Courier font, had an average of ten words per line, and twenty-five double spaced lines per page. They looked at the number of pages submitted, multiplied by 250, and that was the word count. No one was going to count the individual words, because there was no purpose, so the word count was approximate, only. Don't ask me why they didn't just use the page count.

    Now, they pretty much accept the word processor count in a query. But in answer to the question, today's books have more lines per page, as does a WP document page. So a 500 page book would have 125,000 words old style, and a double spaced MS Word document with one inch margins, using TNR font at twelve point size (about 310 words per page) would have 155,000 words. The actual book would have a number of pages based on the book and font size and that's an unknown variable.

    Hope this helps/
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've gone through the exercise of estimating the word counts of many of the novels on my shelves. It isn't hard. Just count up the words in the first ten lines on a page. Divide by ten and you have the average number of words per line. Multiply that by the number of lines per page, and that gives you the average number of words per page. Multiply by the number of pages, and you have the word length of the book. I usually estimate compensations for half-pages at the ends of chapters and so on. It works very well.

    I find that many of my paperbacks have 43 lines per page. This leads me to estimate (compensating for dialogue-heavy pages) roughly 400 words per page. A printed paperback page has many more words than a double-spaced manuscript page.

    Using this method, I estimate that Anthony Burgess' Earthly Powers, which is 642 pages long, has about 284,000 words.
     

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