As I have been pecking away at the keys working on my new projects, I’ve been compiling a little list for myself. I thought I would make it pretty and share it with all of you. I do like to share. Is that weird? Well, not everything—my toothbrush is off limits.
Now that I have made that clear, here is my latest list. Voice Descriptor Infographic . . .
Dialogue is an integral part of any novel. Here are eight ways to upgrade your dialogue and avoid some newbie pitfalls.
Every conversation should move the plot forward. No empty fillers, please.
Pick a punctuation style and stick to it. If you are going to query a major publisher, you may want to use Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS). Regardless of what you choose to use, consistency is key. For example: if you use an en-dash when a character is cut off in a conversation, do it every time.
People rarely use each others’ names in conversation after an initial greeting.
Here is an example of overuse: “Heya, Eric.” “Hello, Nora.” “Eric, how has your summer been so far?” “Well, Nora, it has been rather busy. I’m ready to slow down for a bit.” “I totally understand, Eric. I have been busy too.”
Besides the fact that the dialogue is a yawn fest, people don’t naturally use one another’s names that much when talking. I makes your characters sound like game show hosts. “Yes, Vanna.” (more…)
Many writers stress about word count while they are creating a book. My advice is actually not to worry about it during the first draft—just be true to your story and characters. Then, during the editing process, become the crazed axe murderer—okay, maybe more of a surgeon. But regardless, you need to be brutal.
In general, the count for most novels should fall between 80,000-100,000 words for almost any genre. Any debut novel over 100,000 words risks rejection from agents and publishers. But again, don’t worry about this until you get there. An interesting tidbit: the average length for all books on Amazon is 64,000 words.
One Step at a Time
Now, depending on the font you use, the average word count on a page is about 300 words. Writing takes consistency, so instead of getting overwhelmed, celebrate the small things.
Write 300 words, you have a page.
Write 3000 words, you have a chapter.
Write 16 chapters, you have a book.
General Word Count Lengths
What category does your manuscript fall into? Here is a general guideline:
Micro-Fiction: Up to 100 words
Flash Fiction: 100-500 words
Short Story: 1,000-8,000 words
Novella: 20,000-40,000 words
Novel: 40,000-110,000 (see genre notes below)
The novel isn’t cut and dry. Each genre has its own average. For example, Science Fiction tends to be longer than a Western, and so on.