1. atsgtm2018

    atsgtm2018 Member

    Aug 22, 2016
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    story vs word count

    Discussion in 'Novels' started by atsgtm2018, Aug 24, 2018.

    I have to admit most of my writing comes up short of a novel word count. Most of it is in between 50k-60k but I've always thought that if you tell the story in 50k, tell the story in 50k. Trying too hard to lengthen a piece of work would just hurt it, right? I don't want my stories to ramble and just write pages to take up space so it can be a novel. But I can get some advice on how to add on to a word count or what have you've done to "beef up" you're word count when you needed it to be longer?
  2. Writersaurus

    Writersaurus Member

    Jul 28, 2018
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    Milton Keynes, England
    Maybe, if your character is working to achieve a goal, put more obstacles in their way?

    Here's an example that relates to something I wrote; if you have a protagonist who is on his/her way to an alien stronghold that is responsible for enslaving hundreds of humans; rather than having the character simply go in and defeat them, he/she get kidnapped and sent to the place where people are being taken to work. So now the protagonist has to figure out a way to break out, AND they also have a potential army in form of a hundred slave workers.

    I hope my example helps.
  3. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Sep 6, 2014
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    I think you want to avoid thinking about word count and start thinking about depth, or complexity, or richness or something like that. Don't just add words, add texture.

    So maybe that comes in the form of whole new scenes - if you realize there are elements of your story that could benefit from more exploration, go for it. Maybe it comes in the form of additional passages in existing scenes - add more description of the setting, or of the characters, or explore their thoughts and reactions in more depth or whatever.

    Alternatively, maybe you need to look for stories with more challenging conflicts. I find I quite naturally write at either about 50K words (for a pretty simple story with no subplots) or about 80K words. Sometimes I have books that I know from the start will be about 110K words, based on the nature of the story I want to tell. The 50K stories don't tend to sell as well, but sometimes they're the stories I feel like writing...
    DK3654 likes this.
  4. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Aug 1, 2016
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    East devon/somerset border
    in my opinion a story is as long as it is … readers don't care that much so long as the price is reasonable, the old a novel must be xxk is a silly artificial restriction created by trad publishing

    on my books the length was

    Rapax 101k
    Honest intent 28k
    Blood tide 35k (still being edited)
    Darkest storm 58k (about to release)
    Alpha dog 80 odd k (currently with betas)
    Border crossing 61k (first draft)

    I priced honest intent at £2.99 - blood tide will be perma free. The rest I'd consider novels and will all be at £4.99
    Shenanigator likes this.
  5. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

    Aug 8, 2015
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    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    YA novels are averaged at about 60k so you should be ok.
  6. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

    Jan 8, 2017
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    Rhode Island
    50-60k is a beautiful length for a book. Great Gatsby, Fahrenheit 451, The Road, The Gunslinger... it's like 3 good sittings and done. Kind of like Paella: one sit down meal, one big leftover, one mop-up snack.
    deadrats and Shenanigator like this.
  7. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

    Sep 30, 2015
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    I am on the opposite end of the spectrum: The Eagle and the Dragon was 240K words, and the sequel The Long Road Back to Rome is at 78K with an projected length of around 250K. But these don't meander, they are complex stories.
  8. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Jul 7, 2016
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    I'm aiming for 50k to 60k with my novel. Sometimes I'm not sure I'm going to make it. I'm pretty good with structure and writing to a word count. It's just taking me forever to get there. Once I reach my mark, I hope I can call this novel (at least a full draft) done. But I do find that when I edit and revise my work it tends to get longer. Still, I don't want the one I'm writing to be too long, I think. IDK. Novel writing is super hard and time consuming. And it feels like the ending is so far away right now.

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