1. Olly Parker
    Offline

    Olly Parker New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Slow dancing in a burning room

    Word count

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Olly Parker, May 2, 2011.

    I'm doing my first novel, at this time, it is 110k. Is that too much? All of it is necessary for the story to progress. :eek:
     
  2. Mallory
    Offline

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Messages:
    4,274
    Likes Received:
    191
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    110K completed? Or you're halfway through and it's 110k?

    It's a little on the long side, but average if that's the complete length. Novels are typically 80,000-110,000 words.

    Sci fi and fantasy novels are a little longer, mainly because of the worldbuilding, quests etc.
     
  3. -oz
    Offline

    -oz Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    The Great Sandy Waste
    It really doesn't matter, does it? Unless you're looking to fit a specific format, a complete story should take as many pages as it takes to tell it. Besides, if your story is good enough, people will read as many pages as they can if they get sucked into the story.
     
  4. Olly Parker
    Offline

    Olly Parker New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Slow dancing in a burning room

    It is a fantasy, but that is the complete length, well, after I'm done editing, it may be 1-2k over 110k. So it's alright? Cheers :)
     
  5. JMTweedie
    Offline

    JMTweedie Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    London UK
    It really depends on the publisher and whether or not you've had a very successful published book out there already.

    If it's your first book I'd go on the shorter side.

    The writing magazine I subscribe to recommends no more than about 85,000 for your first sci-fi or fantasy novel to be accepted. I'm aiming for 80,000 myself.

    Each publisher has different requirements, you really need to find out what they want first.
     
  6. The-Joker
    Offline

    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Africa

    Wrong.

    There are clear disadvantages to having a high word count. Remember most agents only ask for a query letter, and one of the key pieces of information on a query is the word count. So many agents might never read a single word of your manuscript based solely on the fact that your word count is not as profitable as the other hundred submissions they've received for the day.
     
  7. katica
    Offline

    katica Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2009
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    11
    Awesome. LOL. My novel is 80,000 words and I'm feeling better about the length now. It was just how long it turned out to be.
     
  8. Banzai
    Offline

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    12,871
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    I'd say 110k is on the long side, even for fantasy. Particularly if you're a first time writer, a publisher/agent is going to be reluctant to take a novel of such length as it'll prove difficult to sell, and is quite a gamble on their part.
     
  9. Eurlo
    Offline

    Eurlo Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Messages:
    318
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Not telling
    Thanks!

    Nice to know what to aim for:) thanks:)
     
  10. popsicledeath
    Offline

    popsicledeath Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    1,037
    Likes Received:
    71
    Sadly, this is often true. Not always, though. There are a lot of agents that are (what I personally consider to be) professionally petty. They're looking for simplistic plug-n-play sort of novels they know they can shove into a marketplace and make a return, regardless of quality. Such agents or publishers care about things like word count, genre and all the stats, numbers and formulas, because your work is hopefully just the next pet rock to them.

    And yes, agents need to make money to, umm, make money, obviously, but there are still plenty of agents out there that are looking for good, passionate works they can care about and that they see as making a difference artistically (and yes, even in 'genre fiction'). Such agents aren't going to get as caught up on word count.

    And really, every agent is a bit different, with their own philosophies and styles, so it's risky either way to make generalized statements about what they will and won't do, do and don't expect.

    As this is a writing forum, not a business forum, publishing forum or marketing forum, my advice is and always will be to write a story as it needs written. Most amateur writers don't have the skill to sell out, errr I mean shape, their manuscript for precise markets, and will just end up writing a bad story if they're overly worried about word count.

    Focus any and all energy on making a manuscript the best one can, something that nobody else could have written, that is unique and special and worthwhile... which in my opinion IS writing. Then, hopefully you'll find an agent that believes in the manuscript, or having done it 'right' once, you'll have a better grasp at shaping a product.

    One of the biggest reasons I see aspiring writers failing to write good, compelling stories is they aren't actually writing, but trying to design a product long before they've mastered the art and craft side of things. Even many scientists start out with pet projects they're passionate about that keep them interested and engaged and learning before they move on to trying to create a product or study and utilitarian field.

    So, yeah, because this forum is designed to improve a writers writing, I think the best advice is to not worry about word count, as that's a different focus entirely (and the kind of thing that when a writer is ready to worry about it, it's not something they then need to worry about worry about, as they know how to handle it). One problem with the increased accessibility of the internet, imo, is writers more than ever aren't just learning to write, because they have access to 'advice' on the entire publishing process, so their eyes get big, the cart gets way out in front of the horse, and they're suddenly asking what they should know about the advance on their 10th best seller when they probably haven't even produced their first publishable manuscript yet.

    Though, awkwardly, I do understand, even though it makes no sense to me, many writers on these such sites aren't looking to improve their writing, and instead just looking at how to get published (though my advice will always be 'by writing better')
     
    1 person likes this.
  11. Sundae
    Offline

    Sundae Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Messages:
    362
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Astral Weeks
    I agree with you. Also, you have to ask yourself why you write. Is it to please others first, or yourself. At the end of the day, I rather have something out in the market that I am completely happy and satisfied with than it be something that was shaped and carved and molded to fit this box that in the end managed to take all the magic out of it.

    There is nothing wrong with paying attention to word count, because mastering story telling to fit a word count is a craft in itself. Try writing a 100 word stories with a beginning, middle and end and you'll see how hard it is. Just write to fully develop your story in every way that you can... after that, you are better fit to see what things are essential to the story and what are not.

    By limiting yourself to a word count, you are also taking a risk of not developing a point, character, feelings to their maximum potential.
     
  12. Tesoro
    Offline

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,825
    Likes Received:
    290
    Location:
    A place with no future
    good to know!


    I know! :) mine is (was in the first draft) 85K, so we are doing all right ;) I was even afraid i was too short, i didn't know what to aim for at the time I wrote the first draft.
     
  13. Olly Parker
    Offline

    Olly Parker New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Slow dancing in a burning room
    Thank you for that enlightening post. I think I understand now, and I write for myself, not to be published.
     
  14. Jonp
    Offline

    Jonp Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    3
    I was amazed when I found out what the recommended word count is. I've been writing my novel casually for the last few months and figured I was about half way through, only to check the word count and find I'm at around 64,000 words. I'm not gonna try and limit it to fit into a wordcount, but it's highly likely I will go over the recommended one.
     
  15. popsicledeath
    Offline

    popsicledeath Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    1,037
    Likes Received:
    71
    Even if you're planning on trying to meet a word count, do it in revision, not while writing. Writing to a word count is often disastrous. Editing to a word count is much more feasible. My advice is to finish and then in revision there will most likely be a lot of stuff that could/should be cut anyhow.
     
  16. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    Not so sure about that. My novel grew in revision.(My mouth nearly dropped when I saw what it was after revision) I agree writing to a word count can be disastrous. But I've also found it has helped me reach said goal. I think it's okay to keep a word count loosely in mind while writing and have it more firmly as a goal in revision.
     
  17. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    i agree with pops... don't mess your creative head up with number quotas while you're spewing out your story... just finish the thing and then see where you are...

    if you're over the limit when you get to the end, you're certainly not going to be adding more words when you edit/revise, are you?..
     
  18. psychotick
    Offline

    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,371
    Likes Received:
    307
    Location:
    Rotorua, New Zealand
    Hi,

    Actually my word count rose during the rewriting / editing from 178,000 words to 185,000, and I felt guilty about it. (And that was while I was slashing and burning!)

    But on the positive side if you self publish, word counts become redundant. Just write the story as well as you can.

    Cheers.
     
  19. JMTweedie
    Offline

    JMTweedie Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    London UK
    It certainly depends on your goal as well.

    I personally am writing my sci-fi/adventure novel to get published and for the enjoyment of others, but it is also something I would love to read myself.

    I'm focused on getting it published down the traditional route of agents/editors and fingers crossed, top publishers. I hope to appeal to as wide an audience as the genre allows.

    I want to make writing my full time career but can't afford to at present.

    I'm not writing to a word count but I'm aware of how long my book is recommended to be for publishing purposes. I'm aiming for between 75,000 and 85,000. My final polished edit will ascertain the final count.

    My story just happens to fit the right length anyway, which helps me out a lot.
     
  20. Thom
    Offline

    Thom Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    8
    I hope 100,000 isn't too long. I just checked my word count on the first book of my story, and its over 200,000! That's my Fantasy one. I guess I'll try and keep the Sci-Fi one down a bit...:redface:
     
  21. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    You might if you found stuff that needs fleshing out.
     
  22. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    what i meant was that if you know it's too long and has to be cut it down, you wouldn't be foolish enough to add even more to the total word count, so even if you have to add words in some places, you'd still take out more than you add, to make it marketable...
     
  23. JimFlagg
    Offline

    JimFlagg Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Messages:
    375
    Likes Received:
    6

    I think it is time to start a second book. Sequel.:D

    It really is up to what your heart tells you. I would shoot for 100K for the first draft then bring it back to about 80K.
     
  24. Thom
    Offline

    Thom Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    8
    I did...

    The original story was getting pretty large, so I broke it up into two parts, then added to the first part to flush it out. Now I think I'll have to break it again.

    Rewrite time!
     

Share This Page