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Drew
June 16th, 2004, 07:34 PM
This question is two-fold.

Firstly, how long is the average novel. I am not talking about the super-thin or super-thicks, but just your average everyday 300-400 page book. I guess to clarify, I want to know how many words fill these pages?

Secondly, how long is your average novel? The ones you write... how many pages or words do you churn out before you call it done.

I know that word count hardly contributes to the quality of the piece, but I am curious to see how I size up in length.

JRMurdock
June 16th, 2004, 08:16 PM
I'l give you an answer many others would give you. . .

As many words as it takes.

I don't think there is an honest average you can shoot for. Just write until the story is done. To give you an idea, here's two books I recently read

Another Fine Myth - Robert Asprin 60,000 words
To Green Angel Tower - Tad Williams 520,000 words

As you can see, this is a drastic difference.

To give you a real answer, most publishers -- for first time authors -- want 80,000 - 120,000. Anything under 80,000 will get lumped into Juvenille Fantasy (unless it's damn good) and anything over will very likely get rejected outright.

Myself, I've written three books in a series so far. Each is between 65,000 - 70,000 words. Each is 15-17 chapters and Prologue and an Epilogue. If I get my way, each book will also contain a short story roughly 15,000 words in length.

So to answer your question again, write until you've told your story. If you start to worry about word count, bad things will happen. You'll add crap that doesn't need to be there, you'll leave something out that needs to be there, you'll second guess if you should or should not include something. Write. When you're done, THEN do a word count and see how you did.

Oh, and have fun doing it. This isn't work. It's writing. If you're not having fun, your readers won't have fun. :)

Drew
June 16th, 2004, 08:50 PM
Well I was just worried that I may be rushing the story a bit as I often do. I wanted to see how many words I had to see if I needed to slow down a bit. I currently have a prologue and first chapter done and I am scoring right around 7K words, but a lot has happenned too.

I would upload it to this site, but it is not really a short story, and the first two chapters do no more than set up the basic premise for the rest of the story. Should I upload it to the site, post it here, or should I just email it off for someone to look at (one of you would be nice)?

Chlestron
June 17th, 2004, 04:31 PM
well, the numbers quoted (80k to 120k) seem about right to me. I think that it's about 250 words per printed paperback page, so a 400 page novel would have 100k words.

As to how long my novels are. I've finished 4 novel length stories. One is 148k, one is 125k, and the other two are in between. The length should be determined by the story. Use as many words as you need to and no more.

Remember, not every story is a novel, even if you want it to be. I have oh... <counts on fingers> about 7 novella length stories from 25k words to 40k words give or take. That is how long the story needed to be. I've tried forcing a story to be longer, but it has blown up in my face more times than not.

CoolDog
June 27th, 2004, 01:04 AM
The 80K to 120K size of novel is correct for what publishers recommend for new authors.

I have published two novels with a POD publisher so far. The first one was 175,597 words, and the second one, including the glossary at the end, was 202,088. I held the page count down by having the books published in 10 font, which is around the size of the font in most Mass-market paperbacks, instead of the size 12 font that most publishers print 6X9 books in. This made a large difference in the page count and price point of the books, which should help people decide to give the books a shot. The price is double that of a MMP, but the size of the story is double as well, making them competitive.

Like the others mentioned, the length of the story should be as long as it needs to be to fully develop it and bring it to a good conclusion.

Shane

Mavarin
July 10th, 2004, 05:02 AM
If those preferred length guidelines are as accurate as I think they are, I'm in trouble. But I knew that.

The first book comes in at over 158,000 words. The sequel is over 320,000 words. I've been trying to break the sequel in two, but it would be a rather artificial division. Neither volume would be a self-contained story. Yes, I can edit it down a bit, but not to 120K!

So who will look at two or three really long fantasy novels by a published non-fiction writer and first time novelist? And don't tell me POD. I'm determined to find a traditional publisher for these, even if they are too long.

Karen

Senaline
September 7th, 2009, 07:27 AM
i've written a story before, and it was really crap and bad, so now, few years later, I've re-written it, in English and in a much better language and the story is better etc. BUT, i've came to the ending of the previous 'book' and i only have like 24,000 words... I have some more ideas and stuff to develop, but it wont go up to 50,000. what should i do, to not add unneccessairy crap?

Daddy Darth
September 17th, 2009, 03:22 PM
I have published two novels with a POD publisher so far.
Shane

Nicely done! What is a POD - take pity on the ignorant please.

KatG
September 17th, 2009, 11:49 PM
Nicely done! What is a POD - take pity on the ignorant please.

It's Print On Demand, technology which is used in self-publishing print services and sometimes by small presses.



I've written a story before, and it was really crap and bad, so now, few years later, I've re-written it, in English and in a much better language and the story is better etc. BUT, i've came to the ending of the previous 'book' and i only have like 24,000 words... I have some more ideas and stuff to develop, but it wont go up to 50,000. what should i do, to not add unneccessary crap?

Well, some possible options: At 24,000 words, you have a novella or the equivalent of a chap book. So you could just take that story and try to sell it to a magazine, online magazine or small press that prints novellas and/or chap books.

You could elongate it by making it a more complicated, longer story.

You could not elongate it but write a sequel, and then put the two stories together as Part 1 and Part 2 of the same novel. (This often works well for writers who are natural novella writers -- a series within a novel.)

You could keep it as a novella, and then do enough short stories to add to it for a collection, then try to sell it. While collections tend to be preferred by established writers in the category SFF market, you can still try to sell a SFFH collection to general fiction publishers and certainly to small press publishers.

You can publish the sucker online as a free giveaway, or self publish in one of the many options of self-publishing.

If you want to go the turn it into a longer novel route, you can try to get it up to 40,000, 45,000 words and then just see if you can sell it.

Daddy Darth
September 18th, 2009, 07:35 AM
It's Print On Demand, technology which is used in self-publishing print services and sometimes by small presses.

I think I almost got it. Not having a Sherlock Holmes moment yet. - So if I ever wrote enough to be novel length I could use this to produce something that looked like a book?

This is all new to me - just started writing for the first time since University when I used to enjoy writing short stories and then Boom - Life and no more writing.

Thanks