A while back some friends invited me to go to Savers with them. I had never been, so I said, “Sure! Sounds fun!” Well, three hours later, it was not that fun. I’m not much of a shopper…and let’s just say that my friends LOVE to shop.
After I had looked at what interested me, I wandered around taking pictures of items that I thought might inspire a story, then starting texting friends with a picture and the words: Story Prompt. Go!
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.
Book Lengths for Different Genres
Picture Books: 500-700 words (with an average length of 32 pages).