Fantasy MS word count?

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tcrowley
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Fantasy MS word count?

Post by tcrowley » October 5th, 2010, 5:02 pm

I've been doing a lot fo searching and the topic of word count seems all over the place. Even Nathan's own post about it is a little vague (concerning fantasy) and has a ton of responses squabbling about the fantasy genre. I'm actually a big fantasy fan and almost everything I read is on what people call the HUGE side. I'm talking over 200K seems normal to me.

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Re: Fantasy MS word count?

Post by Margo » October 5th, 2010, 5:17 pm

Fantasies from already established authors can run longer. A debut author is highly unlikely to get a book of that length published. If you search the forum here you will find several links to agent and editor blogs that discuss this issue in hard-ish numbers. By 'ish' I mean, a debut author (for adult fantasy) should be shooting for 100k, with a 20k 'ish' factor either way if the writing is very good and they have short story credits or a Clarion/Odyssey session in their recent background.
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Re: Fantasy MS word count?

Post by Nicole R » October 6th, 2010, 12:31 pm

I attended Kristin Nelson's webinar on SF&F queries last week, and she mentioned an acceptable range from 100K to 150K.

I agree that it can be confusing when looking at the fantasy shelves. Even the debuts from new authors seems to push the 200K mark.

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Re: Fantasy MS word count?

Post by Quill » October 6th, 2010, 1:13 pm

I saw where Janet Reid recently said 120K was no problem, but this is the first I am hearing 150K is okay. That's for a debut adult fantasy, right?

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Re: Fantasy MS word count?

Post by Jessa » October 6th, 2010, 1:27 pm

Sub-genre matters, too. Epic fantasies are acceptable with higher wordcounts than urban fantasy, for instance.

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Re: Fantasy MS word count?

Post by Margo » October 6th, 2010, 1:30 pm

I attended the webinar too and don't remember the 150k, but that wouldn't have been priority information for me, so I might have missed it. Also, the audio cut out on me about 4 times. I'm guessing I missed 1.5-2 minutes of the webinar due to the audio issue. I'm going to guess Kristin meant epic fantasy if she was going as high as 150K. Did she happen to make any kind of distinction about that, Nicole? I can't imagine a debut urban fantasy going 150k without some raised eyebrows. As I've said before, I've seen agents reject high fantasy on length alone for running 115K. I would be uncomfortable going more than 110K for anything but epic, and then I'd only go 120K at most.

Doh, you beat me to it while I was typing, Jessa. :)
Last edited by Margo on October 6th, 2010, 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fantasy MS word count?

Post by Margo » October 6th, 2010, 1:34 pm

Nicole R wrote:I agree that it can be confusing when looking at the fantasy shelves. Even the debuts from new authors seems to push the 200K mark.
Lots of those debut authors aren't really debut authors, though. A LOT of them were writing for hire (Babylon 5 novels, Star Trek Novels, RPG-based novels) prior to their debut.
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Re: Fantasy MS word count?

Post by Nicole R » October 6th, 2010, 1:50 pm

I don't think Kristin specifically made the distinction, but I think Jessa is probably right. I also was a little surprised to hear the 150K comment. Prior to that, I'd always taken 120K as the standard.

Okay, I'll admit I was thinking of Brandon Sanderson's Elantris re: debut authors. I recently came across his blog post about word counts, and he lists Elantris at 202,765 words. Maybe he's the exception. :)

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Re: Fantasy MS word count?

Post by Jessa » October 6th, 2010, 3:42 pm

Margo wrote:Doh, you beat me to it while I was typing, Jessa. :)
That's because you were using one of those new-fangled "complete answers". ;)

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Re: Fantasy MS word count?

Post by Rowan » October 15th, 2010, 6:39 pm

I had an agent tell me he wanted to see approx 80K for adult UF, but other agents have said anything btwn 80K and 100K is acceptable. Another told me 110K was too long. So, I'd say anything btwn 80-100K is a good jumping off point. :-)
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Re: Fantasy MS word count?

Post by Holly » October 15th, 2010, 7:12 pm

tcrowley wrote:I've been doing a lot fo searching and the topic of word count seems all over the place. Even Nathan's own post about it is a little vague (concerning fantasy) and has a ton of responses squabbling about the fantasy genre. I'm actually a big fantasy fan and almost everything I read is on what people call the HUGE side. I'm talking over 200K seems normal to me.
tcrowley, I understand you're an actor who plays a writer and you've dropped in here to do some research. Your job sounds like a blast.

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Re: Fantasy MS word count?

Post by Margo » October 15th, 2010, 8:33 pm

Rowan wrote:I had an agent tell me he wanted to see approx 80K for adult UF, but other agents have said anything btwn 80K and 100K is acceptable. Another told me 110K was too long. So, I'd say anything btwn 80-100K is a good jumping off point. :-)
Great info, Rowan. Thanks.
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Re: Fantasy MS word count?

Post by Margo » October 15th, 2010, 8:34 pm

Holly wrote:tcrowley, I understand you're an actor who plays a writer and you've dropped in here to do some research. Your job sounds like a blast.
Except for the part about having to play a writer. LOL. :P
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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