Word amounts

by Simon Genee
(The Netherlands)

Question: I always thought the novel I'm writing is too short, as I thought my novel should be at least 200,000 words. I'm currently around 100,000 words, and I think I'm going to reach 200,000 words. Would you say my novel is becoming too long? (It's an adult fantasy novel.)

Normally, I wouldn't have asked, but I'm 16 and this is my first story that I'm going to try to have published. It would be a shame if I weren't published because of the above reasons and the fact that my novel has too many words.

Thanks in advance!

Simon Genee.

Answer: It's double the length of the the average novel, and would certainly be considered long for a first novel.

Of course, there are always exceptions for books that are exceptionally good. But you can't count on exceptions. If it's high fantasy, that gives you a little more leeway, since fantasy readers are more willing to read epic-length books, but even then it's long.

If it makes sense to divide the story in two, with the first part as a good stand-alone work, that is one option.

Another is to be ruthless about editing and cut it down to 100,000 words. You might want to solicit the opinions of other writers and/or an editor who can offer objective advice regarding what might/should be cut. As writers, it's hard to be objective about our own work, but most books benefit from editing.

(Fortunately, it's much easier, albeit heart-wrenching, to edit a book that's too long than it is to pad a work that's too short.)

Comments for Word amounts

Click here to add your own comments

Jan 08, 2013
by: Anonymous

I guess you're right, I shouldn't count on exceptions. I've got some ideas on how I can crop up my book a little. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.

search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Celebrating our 2nd year as one of the...

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero