The Last, Definitive Word On Word Count

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! For some reason, I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot of talk lately about word counts. Perhaps it’s to do with NaNoWriMo approaching and everyone focusing on that crazy 50K-words-in-one-month goal? I’m not sure. Whatever the reason for the sudden hype, I think discussing the subject of word count is important.

word-countNow, do I think watching your word count every second of every draft is necessary? No. In fact, I strongly urge you against it. The more you focus on your word count, the less you focus on your story. However, watching your word count at certain points during the writing process–particularly editing–is important. Why? Because you don’t want to try and pitch your 140K YA novel to an agent. That’s just begging for rejection.

So what should a YA novel’s word count be? Or a thriller’s? Or another genre’s? Find out in today’s gem, courtesy of literary agent, Janet Reid. She gives us a quick, general breakdown of word count expectations, and what you should aim for when finalizing your manuscript.

The Last, Definitive Word On Word Count

Here’s the rundown:
Sweeping, epic fantasy: 150K at a minimum. You can’t do it right in less.
Sweeping, epic, historical fiction: 120 at a minimum. More is better.

Science fiction novels: 75-125K

Romance novels:65-100K
Womens’ fiction: 100K and up

To read the entire article and see all the genres, click here!

For more useful advice, follow Janet Reid on Twitter!

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 7.54.59 AM

Photo credits: 

http://kristiholl.net/writers-blog/2013/10/organization-why-word-count-matters/ 

7 thoughts on “The Last, Definitive Word On Word Count

  1. Word counts are tough. I don’t think a first draft should pay any attention to word counts. A first draft should just be. It’s revisions where I think one needs to pay attention. Because certainly if you’re pitching to agents you have to fall under a certain word count. I usually don’t pay attention until I’m getting close to the end or when revisions are happening. Usually I have to cut, cut, cut. 😉

    Like

    1. I agree! The only reason I look at my word count during a first draft is because I’m struggling and need to set a daily word count goal to get the story written. Otherwise, I avoid it until it’s time to edit to meet the general standards of the genre.

      Liked by 1 person

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