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Word count for a novel?

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Helen_Davis
Compulsive Reader

Word count for a novel?

Postby Helen_Davis » Tue April 9th, 2013, 2:33 pm

I apologize if this has been brought up before.

For the alternate series I hope to publish, I've been cutting it way down since I tend to make my first drafts too long. What is considered an acceptable word count for a first novel? The one I have now is a little over 196,000. Is that too long? I am pretty sure it is. I am sure I can cut it down to about 150,000 but is that too long too? Would just like some feedback on this issue.

Thanks!
http://evaperonnovel.wordpress.com


"The first time a book has gotten us close to Evita, in all her misery and all her splendor."
Excerpt from the Spanish summary of my novel

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DianeL
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Location: Midatlantic east coast, United States
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Postby DianeL » Tue April 9th, 2013, 10:45 pm

I tend to really qualify my obedience to "rules" like this, BUT closing in on 200K is a pretty fat whack of book to try to sell. I trimmed from over 168K to just over 130K and that's still considered at least 10K too long by some. To my thinking, I've written to the story, and it has the heft it needs to be complete, but I would work on further slimming if the right agent/editors I trusted found ways to do that in a refined way - and said it had to be done.

Then again, I'm pretty easygoing about "thoughtkilling" ("killing my darlings") so for me cuts feel *really* good.

The estimation I see most often when people discuss debut histfic seems to be 100-110K, with a few folks allowing 120k. I figure I'm not so well beyond the pale the extra weight necessarily alone can kill my chances (and I don't include WC in cold queries in any case, unless an agent/agency specifically requires it), but - again - am willing to do whatever is necessary. Eventually, this bugger's got to sell. :) Part of making it sellable is keeping it from being so big nobody's going to be willing to do the heavy lifting.
"To be the queen, she agreed to be the widow!"

***

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Helen_Davis
Compulsive Reader

Postby Helen_Davis » Wed April 10th, 2013, 12:01 am

Ok. If I absolutely cannot make the word count can I split it into two novels?
http://evaperonnovel.wordpress.com





"The first time a book has gotten us close to Evita, in all her misery and all her splendor."

Excerpt from the Spanish summary of my novel

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DianeL
Bibliophile
Location: Midatlantic east coast, United States
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Postby DianeL » Wed April 10th, 2013, 1:01 am

"Of course" leaps to mind! :) I got asked that a lot when I was trying to cut, but my instinct was that cutting was smarter than dividing. It was also so hard! But if you can find two thematically independent major dramatic questions, I think two novels is a dandy way to go.
"To be the queen, she agreed to be the widow!"



***



The pre-modern world was willing to attribute charisma to women well before it was willing to attribute sustained rationality to them.

---Medieval Kingship, Henry A. Myers



***



http://dianelmajor.blogspot.com/

I'm a Twit: @DianeLMajor

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Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Wed April 10th, 2013, 2:54 am

I forgot where it was posted, but I think one of the authors posted it that comes here.

It was stated that long books aren't a good sell.
And first time authors trying to sell a trilogy is even harder.

I say try to cut it down as best you can.
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Helen_Davis
Compulsive Reader

Postby Helen_Davis » Thu April 11th, 2013, 12:54 pm

"Divia" wrote:I forgot where it was posted, but I think one of the authors posted it that comes here.

It was stated that long books aren't a good sell.
And first time authors trying to sell a trilogy is even harder.

I say try to cut it down as best you can.


Again, thanks. Can I post the word count here when I finish the draft?

I am asking for my alternate history series about Cleopatra, btw. Evita is with an agent in Spain. I think maybe if Evita sells well enough people might be willing to give my alternate history thing a shot? You never know.

Anyway, appreciate the advice you guys! I posted a sample chapter of my alternate history in the other forum. Could I post some more?

PS: What would be the word count for a novella?
Last edited by Helen_Davis on Thu April 11th, 2013, 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
http://evaperonnovel.wordpress.com





"The first time a book has gotten us close to Evita, in all her misery and all her splendor."

Excerpt from the Spanish summary of my novel

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LoveHistory
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Location: Wisconsin, USA
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Postby LoveHistory » Thu May 9th, 2013, 4:05 am

Novella is from 25,000 to 50,000 I think.

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Wolfshead
Scribbler
Location: Outskirts of Glasgow

Postby Wolfshead » Sat August 10th, 2013, 4:39 pm

My debut novel is about 97,000 words which, to me seems about ideal - it's long enough to say what has to be said in enough depth, but short enough for people to read quickly without getting fed up (and they can then post a review on Amazon which encourages MORE people to buy it!)

That said, one of my reviews said it was a "short book" which seemed an odd comment, but they loved it so :cool:
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DanielAWillis
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Postby DanielAWillis » Sat August 10th, 2013, 6:48 pm

"Wolfshead" wrote:My debut novel is about 97,000 words which, to me seems about ideal - it's long enough to say what has to be said in enough depth, but short enough for people to read quickly without getting fed up (and they can then post a review on Amazon which encourages MORE people to buy it!)

That said, one of my reviews said it was a "short book" which seemed an odd comment, but they loved it so :cool:


That is interesting. I tend to think of books over 80K as a bit longish. But if there is that much story to tell, that's perfectly fine.

I usually have the opposite problem. I always have to expand from my first draft quite a bit to get to a reasonable length. I tell stories the same way I would verbally, then have to go back and add all of the descriptions, hand motions, and facial expressions. :p
Daniel A. Willis
Author: Chronicle of the Mages series
www.DanielAWillis.com


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