1. Magnatolia

    Magnatolia Active Member

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    What's the average word count for a novel?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Magnatolia, Apr 12, 2014.

    Hi guys,

    What's the average number of words that an author should aim for when writing a novel? I'm aware that you should only use enough words that the story needs, but I"m talking from a commercial viability point. Is it better in terms of sales to have less words, or more?

    I've been working on 100,000 but wondering if that's too much. Currently at 25,000, but I can beef my writing up a bit more by adding more scenes pretty easily. I've already done that as part of my first edit of what I had. Some of my writing was essentially a summary of what happened. I had one chunk of 200 words that ended up over a 1000 words simply because I wrote stuff like They raided several stores, getting a weeks worth of food and water. The whole scene was written like that. Boring. Plus I was reading a zombie book and I realized one key thing I haven't put in my descriptions. That's the attire of the zombies. My female main character is the feeling one, who doesn't want to kill zombies because they were people. Yet without describing their human aspect, which is what they're wearing, that empathy for them doesn't really convey that.

    Thanks!
     
  2. chicagoliz

    chicagoliz Contributor Contributor

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    Generally it's between 80K to 120K. YA is a little less. Fantasy tends to be a little more.
     
  3. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Although once you're famous you can write a novel that's 5 times longer if you want.
     
  4. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    for the adult market, most publishers want 80-100k for a first novel by an unknown new writer...

    anything under or more than a bit over can narrow your query's chances of resulting in a request to read the ms or sample chapters...
     
  5. JetBlackGT

    JetBlackGT Senior Member

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  6. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    are you being sarcastic with that link to google, jb?
     
  7. JetBlackGT

    JetBlackGT Senior Member

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    Sometimes it's hard to tell; isn't it?

    But Google *is* how I found out how long the different types of novels are. :) And it is such an AWESOME link :)
     
  8. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    glad to know you were serious... and yes, google is awesome...
     
  9. Magnatolia

    Magnatolia Active Member

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    haha I got it, but chose to ignore that particular jibe. Google gives lots of results, some good and some not so good. Heck the first page of results includes a Yahoo Answers link. This is why I prefer to ask people who I know actually dig writing. Not because I can't be bothered to do a Google search. Oh, and you get so many different results that the answers are likely to contradict one another.
     
  10. JetBlackGT

    JetBlackGT Senior Member

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    Unlike here, where we all agree all the time? ;-)
     

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