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

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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!

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