Word Count?

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
User avatar
dios4vida
Posts: 1119
Joined: February 22nd, 2010, 4:08 pm
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Contact:

Re: Word Count?

Post by dios4vida » April 8th, 2011, 6:18 pm

Kreann wrote:Hi everyone, new to the blog, writing my first fiction novel. I'm reading your post about trying to meet word counts, but I actually have the opposite problem. I'm way over. I fell in love with my story, and kept throwing in twists and turns to keep the audience guessing. I just finished my first draft, and am going back thru and cleaning it up before sending it to a group for editing. So, how many words is too many? If I go over, say, 150,000, will agents/publishers run screaming at the site of my ms?
150K is a lot of words. Falls Apart is right where 90K is usually a good number no matter what genre you write (except YA and MG). We've had a few conversations about word counts in the forums. If you do a search for "word count" I'm sure you can find them, and at least one of them should list the general acceptable word counts of each genre. What are you writing?
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

Kreann
Posts: 15
Joined: April 8th, 2011, 1:17 pm
Contact:

Re: Word Count?

Post by Kreann » April 8th, 2011, 7:35 pm

Thanks, Falls Apart, I appreciate the welcome and the advice. Not writing YA, more like chic lit/suspense/a little romance...heck, it's kinda got it all. But started writing last fall and am consumed by it! As I go, I keep coming up w/ more plot lines to explore down the road. But for now, sounds like I've got some serious trimming to do. ;-) Then it's into the world of agent scouting...in the mean time, I'll keep reading all the great tips on Nathan's blog!

User avatar
wordranger
Posts: 115
Joined: September 20th, 2010, 9:51 pm
Contact:

Re: Word Count?

Post by wordranger » April 8th, 2011, 8:12 pm

I wish I had to worry about not having enough words. I am always looking for something to cut.

Problem is, I always find things to add instead. My little novel went crazy, and turned into five novels because it was too long, and now the first one, that I am polishing now, is even up to 114000 words. It's crazy... especially in this world when you have to publish an economically priced book... I won't be able to tell the story I want, because it will be too expensive. It stinks!
Words are your friend.
Don't be afraid to lose yourself in them.

Jennifer Eaton, WordRanger
My Novelette LAST WINTER RED will be published by J. Taylor Publishing in December, 2012

Take a Step into My World and Learn From My Mistakes http://www.jennifermeaton.com/

Rosie Lane
Posts: 15
Joined: April 9th, 2011, 5:37 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Word Count?

Post by Rosie Lane » April 9th, 2011, 5:53 pm

Word count gives me nightmares. My MS stands at at 71K on its third draft using word processor count, which I worry is too short, but using estimated page count would give me 85K, which would be just about perfect. I have no idea which one I should run with, but I really don't want to kill my chances straight out of the gate by either (1) querying for a book which is too short to stand a chance, or (2) looking completely amateurish in my query by using the wrong count.

I have read many times that we should just forget about word count and concentrate on quality, but I feel like I'm standing on shifting sand. I want to know my position before I take a deep breath and start sending this thing out to people.

At the moment I just put my head under the covers and hope someone will wave a magic wand and fix it while I'm under there.

User avatar
wordranger
Posts: 115
Joined: September 20th, 2010, 9:51 pm
Contact:

Re: Word Count?

Post by wordranger » April 9th, 2011, 9:16 pm

Hi, Rosie!

I'd stick with the group that says worry about quality. In the end, that is what's important. (Although we are all, in the end, are stuck to wanting a book that will actually sell) The tricky part is making sure you actually have quality. If you haven't gone the beta-read route, yet, I suggest you do. For many, it is a big eye-opener. You may find you need more (or less) words when your MS gets under an un-biased set of eyes.

Good luck!
Words are your friend.
Don't be afraid to lose yourself in them.

Jennifer Eaton, WordRanger
My Novelette LAST WINTER RED will be published by J. Taylor Publishing in December, 2012

Take a Step into My World and Learn From My Mistakes http://www.jennifermeaton.com/

alnolace
Posts: 2
Joined: April 9th, 2011, 9:49 pm
Contact:

Re: Word Count?

Post by alnolace » April 9th, 2011, 10:08 pm

I have mixed feelings about word count. I was always the kid in school who would write a 4 page paper if you assigned him a 5 page one. Length has always been an issue. However, I believe that word count can help with structure and pacing. In the book I am writing now I am trying to keep the words count somewhat consistent, this is help me structure each chapter so the story as a whole develops at an even pace.

Rosie Lane
Posts: 15
Joined: April 9th, 2011, 5:37 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Word Count?

Post by Rosie Lane » April 11th, 2011, 8:23 am

Thanks Wordranger. :) It's out for its second round of beta at the moment, hence tinkering with the query letter while I try to avoid chewing my fingers off as I wait to hear.

Got to have something to obsess over. I often wonder if it's too late to take up competitive knitting instead.

User avatar
wordranger
Posts: 115
Joined: September 20th, 2010, 9:51 pm
Contact:

Re: Word Count?

Post by wordranger » April 11th, 2011, 8:04 pm

Ha Ha! Competitive Knitting! Now there’s a sport that needs some air-time on ESPN!
Words are your friend.
Don't be afraid to lose yourself in them.

Jennifer Eaton, WordRanger
My Novelette LAST WINTER RED will be published by J. Taylor Publishing in December, 2012

Take a Step into My World and Learn From My Mistakes http://www.jennifermeaton.com/

User avatar
dios4vida
Posts: 1119
Joined: February 22nd, 2010, 4:08 pm
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Contact:

Re: Word Count?

Post by dios4vida » April 13th, 2011, 9:30 pm

Rosie Lane wrote:Word count gives me nightmares. My MS stands at at 71K on its third draft using word processor count, which I worry is too short, but using estimated page count would give me 85K, which would be just about perfect. I have no idea which one I should run with, but I really don't want to kill my chances straight out of the gate by either (1) querying for a book which is too short to stand a chance, or (2) looking completely amateurish in my query by using the wrong count.
From what I've heard, the word processor count is the one agents would like to know. The estimation word counts can be very wrong if you write in a lot of quick dialog or lengthy paragraphs. Word processors tend to do a decent job of accurate counts and they're becoming the standard with which we should query our novels.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

Rosie Lane
Posts: 15
Joined: April 9th, 2011, 5:37 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Word Count?

Post by Rosie Lane » April 15th, 2011, 9:08 am

Rats!

And thank you :)

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest