?

is 120-140k a good word count?

  1. yes it's a good word count

    2 vote(s)
    13.3%
  2. No, that's way too long

    1 vote(s)
    6.7%
  3. doesnt matter to me, long as it's a page turner

    12 vote(s)
    80.0%
  1. InsaneXade

    InsaneXade Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2017
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    54

    How long should a fantasy novel be?

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by InsaneXade, Dec 1, 2017.

    I average about 120-140k words but recently I heard 90k is the new preferred word count. I've seen and read long books that I just can't put down unless I force myself to.

    Anyhow, what's your average word count?
     
  2. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    Messages:
    2,413
    Likes Received:
    2,766
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    100,000 tends to be at the middle of the range I see from a lot of publishers.

    As a reader, I don't really care about length, as long as the "novel" fits the basic definition of a novel. Quality is more important.
     
    jannert likes this.
  3. Jason Govender

    Jason Govender Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2017
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    South Africa
    I've heard that it's between 100-120 with the sweet spot being about 105-110. I think 140 is way too long. I think 90 is a bit too short in my opinion, but still acceptable.
     
  4. Fiender_

    Fiender_ Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2017
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    114
    80k is the average for books in general. Fantasy gets away with being a bit longer (usually into the 100k range). 140 is definitely above average, and the longer a first book is, the less likely an agent or publisher is to take a risk on it. That said, plenty of 200k+ and 300k+ books get published, even first novels (see Brandon Sanderson's Elantris, and Patrick Rothfuss's In the Name of The Wind).

    Now, I've finished plenty of super-long books, but I find most of them don't need to be so long. And I tend to write very scarce books (40-70k words) and then fill them with detail and stuff I forgot to explain to get them up to "normal" word counts of 80-100k, and I'm speaking as someone who writes fantasy.
     
  5. orangefire

    orangefire Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2017
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    118
    If I find a book to be too long it's usually because I'm not actually enjoying the book. At that point, 5,000 words would still be "too long". If your book works best at 120k-140k then do that. If it's a book I like, I want it to end anyways.

    There is a point where I'd suggest taking something that turns out super long and making it into a series, but I don't think that's necessary with 120k-140k.
     
  6. Gadock

    Gadock Active Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2016
    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    50
    I’ve never taken into account how many words a book is. The story either grabs me or not.
     
    OurJud likes this.
  7. orangefire

    orangefire Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2017
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    118
    Wow, just noticed that typo. My edit button seems to have performed a disappearing act so I'm just fixing it in the quote.
     
    jannert likes this.
  8. InsaneXade

    InsaneXade Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2017
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    54
    I noticed the edit button only hangs around for an hour or two or until a reply happens so it's best to doublecheck your posts and edit quickly
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  9. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Messages:
    9,343
    Likes Received:
    9,618
    Location:
    England
    A method you clearly followed when submitting the above post.
     
  10. 33percent

    33percent Active Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    61
    I finished my 2nd draft of 196k words, realized it was way too long. So I just took the first act of my story, and just extended it to be my first book, and still landed on 100k words for it. Even though I haven't done any revising yet, but I am trying to aim under 100k words.
     
  11. InsaneXade

    InsaneXade Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2017
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    54
    woops, my bad, I was distracted by something vitally important and hit submit. I forgot to double check.

     
  12. 8Bit Bob

    8Bit Bob Here ;) Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2017
    Messages:
    786
    Likes Received:
    765
    Location:
    Somewhere on this Earth
    Once you become a "member" (which happens once you've been on the forums for two weeks and have made at least 20 posts) you will be able to edit your posts whenever you want ;)
     
  13. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,334
    Likes Received:
    1,571
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    It also depends on the type of fantasy. Epic fantasy tends to be longer. Readers sort of expect it, and publishers factor that in. Urban fantasy, tends to be shorter.

    Check the publisher guidelines you're interested in submitting your work to. They often list preferred word counts. That will give you a good target.
     
    jannert likes this.
  14. InsaneXade

    InsaneXade Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2017
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    54
    oh so it has returned, huh, thanks for that. I also noticed my link is active so that's why things are working the way they should there. I'm a member. Go me! lol
     
  15. Dreamsage

    Dreamsage Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2018
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    61
    I agree that it is about the story, not about the numbers. If you were making a movie then you'd have a time limit for technical reasons... a book has no such limits. As long as the words have life in them, let them flow.
    In the worst case, if it gets too heavy to hold, split it into pt.1 and pt.2 :p
     
  16. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    1,480
    Likes Received:
    1,682
    Both of the fantasy / science fiction books I drafted were 80k. I find a lot of shorter fantasy to read and am way more likely to pick up a book if it's shorter. I have heard 100k as typical for fantasy.

    I have a feeling that sword and sorcery and character driven / romantic fantasy are on the shorter end, while epic fantasy is on the longer. 100k might be the average for all kinds of fantasy.

    140k sword and sorcery would be a sight to see.
     
  17. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,254
    Likes Received:
    13,071
    As a reader, I don’t care. But as a not-yet-published author I plan to get my WIP under 100K.
     
  18. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    17,673
    Likes Received:
    19,865
    Location:
    Scotland
    From a literary viewpoint, I think any book should be as long as it needs to be. If it's longer than can happily be fit between two book covers, then it can be published as two separate books. That's my opinion as a reader, and probably as a writer as well.

    However, if your goal is to get traditionally published via an agent, etc, you do need to pay attention to the book lengths they 'require' for a first-time author. So pay careful attention to their requirements, and work within them.

    One of the things any agent expects in a query letter is a word-count figure. If they are only interested in 100-120K word count (for Fantasy) and you send them one that's 140K words long, the query is very likely to go straight in the bin. If they read the query letter itself (which they might not, once they see the word count) and your query sounds incredibly interesting, they MIGHT agree to look at it. But that will be with a view to getting you to cut 20-40K at some point. They have to sell your book to a publisher, who is not going to want costly extra pages in a new book by an unproven author.

    Once you are JK Rowling, you can make your books as long as you like!
     
  19. Pandaking908

    Pandaking908 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2018
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    22
    There are good long books and bad. Personally, I'm not a fan of IT because it's just too long and takes forever to get anywhere. Name of the Wind is long, but it's such a page-turner! The prose is just fantastic, and Rothfuss can pretty much make any scene interesting. Also, The Earthsea books are good examples of short fantasy novels. They don't have to be long or short, it just depends on how well written the book is.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice