Word counts…

I think that everyone who writes a novel thinks to themselves, “How many words/pages do I need to write before I have a good, salable novel?”

I was pondering this, and came upon this article: http://writemindset.com/writing/944/novel-word-count.html

It really is a great article, well-written and informative.  Some interesting highlights:

“The Road”, the pulitzer prize award winning novel by Cormac McCarthy is under sixty thousand words.

“1984” by George Orwell? about one hundred and ten thousand.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J. K. Rowling weighs in at a whopping two hundred two thousand words.

My novel, right now?  I expected around one hundred forty thousand for book one, but as I write, I’m watching that word count shrink.  Total expected is down to one hundred twenty nine thousand, and I’m running under plan by about a thousand words per expected chapter-which means I expect that number to drop by at LEAST twenty thousand while I write the rough draft.  It’ll grow a bit on my first edit, then probably shrink again on the second before I send it out to agents, publishers, that sort of thing.

Which brings me to my “ego-boost” moment….

“The Old Man and the Sea”, the classic book that most of us have read in part or in whole during school weighs in at twenty seven thousand three hundred thirteen (a different number than you’ll see in the comments to the linked article).  source: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061130081058AAG5RgO

I passed the twenty eight thousand word mark yesterday.  Take THAT Ernest Hemingway!  😉



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9 responses to “Word counts…

  1. Pingback: Short Story Plan | trial and errors

  2. Thank you for the link. This is a big question for me, being a newly dedicated writer. With NaNoWriMo setting a goal for 50k I was not sure if that was enough for a full size book, so I was guessing I would need 150k-200k for a “real” book, but if 1984 can tell that great story in 110k then mine should around that.

    • You’re welcome! Yeah, I think it’s one of the great stumbling blocks for us ‘budding authors’. One line from that post, by the way, the idea that a story should have as many words as it takes to tell it, is sticking with me, for sure. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Keep up the good work! I work for a publishing company, and as long as you say what’s needed and don’t elaborate FOREVER, you should be in good shape. That’s awesome!

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