How Many Words Should Your Novel Have?

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Most aspiring writers wonder how many words their novel should have before they even get started. And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to have an overall word count goal. Once you know how many words you want your novel to have, you can calculate how many words you should write each week. What’s the Average Word Count of a Novel? This is not an easy question to answer. The average Word count greatly depends on the type of book you’re writing. Here are a few examples: Short stories: 1,000 – 8,000 words Middle grade: 20,000 to 30,000 words Young adult: between 40,000 and 80,000 words Romance novels: 40,000 – 100,000 words Horror: 80,000 – 100,000 words Historical fiction: 100,000 – 120,000 words As you’ll quickly realize, every type of fiction book has a common word count range. Some are more flexible than others. Generally, romance novels tend to be shorter than historical fiction, but that doesn’t mean your romance has to be. On average, fiction books have about 64,000 words, but averages don’t always matter when it comes to books (or people). You’ve probably read quite a few books yourself that were extremely short and some that were very long. The number of words doesn’t usually give an indication of how good the book is. For example, “White Fang” by Jack London is a rather small book but extremely well written with only 72,071 words. On the other hand, “Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell has 418,053, but it keeps its readers on their toes until the very end. Check out this website to see how many words your favorite classics have: http://commonplacebook.com/culture/literature/books/word-count-for-famous-novels/. Set a Goal and Use It to Get Going While you don’t necessarily have to decide how many words your book is going to have, having a goal will get you going. Using a word count can help you calculate how many words you need to write each week in order to get your book written within the next 3, 6, or 24 months. You can start with the lower end of the range as your goal to make it less intimidating. After all, you can always write more. Another reason why you should have a general idea of how many words your novel should have is to flush out your story. If everything important has already happened to your main character in the first 15,000 words, then you either need to come up with more ideas or get more flowery with your writing. Here is an example of what I mean: “He was hungry so he ate breakfast.” – That’s the short version. “He didn’t even notice how long it had been since his last meal until his stomach started to growl. After carefully evaluating the contents of his empty refrigerator, he decided to prepare some scrambled eggs with a side of bacon.” – This could be the longer version. You don’t have to elaborate every little detail like that. After a while, your readers will get bored reading about meal preparation times. However, if it’s important to your story, then you should use more words to talk about it. Focus on Developing Your Story As we’ve already explained above, you should really focus on developing your story. What’s going to happen in your story? At which point will it become impossible for your readers to stop reading because they really need to know what happens next? The sooner you engage their interest, the better. If you have reached 90,000 words with your novel but still aren’t done with your story then by all means continue. However, you can also consider breaking up your book into a series of some sort if it gets too big. Additionally, if you’re going to be looking for a publisher (versus self-publishing your book), then it may be necessary for you to stick to a smaller word count range. Now it’s time to set your writing goals. All you have to do is log into your Novelize account, open the manage panel inside of your novel and enter in your weekly and overall word count goal. Novelize will help you stay on track by sending you a weekly progress report. Your job is to keep writing! References http://www.literaryrejections.com/word-count/ https://litreactor.com/columns/ask-the-agent-your-novel-word-count-guide-and-more


Anita  E.

Anita E.

Seguin, Texas, United States

Are you looking for compelling, well-written articles your customers will want to read and share? I have over 5 years of experience writing the type of content you’re looking for, working with companies like Orange Soda, Scripted, and eFileCabinet.

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