I’m not sure if I’ve written about this before but for whatever reason my stories all seem to come out to be about 100,000 words. Some a little less 96,000 or so and some a little more 106,000 but right about in that range. When I was writing Hollow World I was pretty sure it was going to break that mold. Half way through I figured it would come in at 150,000 and it currently is around 104,000 and we’ll see what it is when the copy editors are done with it.
I think Rhune is going to go over that and once again I’m predicting 150,000 based on the fact that I think I’m about 1/2 way through considering where I am now.
For me I never “plan” on a certain length…I just write the story that needs telling and as I said it usually falls into a particular range for me.
I’ve heard a lot of people say that self-published genre writers concentrate on turning out shorter work. I don’t know if that is true…I’ve never done an analysis of word counts on various titles, but in some way if they are making a conscious effort of that nature – it’s a pretty smart thing to do (in my opinion). After all I think 3 books of 90,000 will earn more than one book of 270,000.
I was tweeting about my word count yesterday and someone said, “My manuscripts have been known to break floorboards when I drop them.” My first thought was…this might be losing the author a lot of money…if they could take a step back and look how they could turn that mammoth tomb into a series, it would be much better for them in the long run.
I’m not advocating an un-natural breaking up of a novel. I’m a firm believer that each book should have its own conflict and resolution and be satisfying in its own right. A cliffhanger – which makes you HAVE to read the next book to get resolution for the one you are reading is a bad thing (again imo). People should WANT to read the next book not be held hostage to do so. That being said…adding a little tease at the end…well that’s a good thing. You show that the door is open a crack but as I said the current book has already wrapped nicely.
So I guess I really have a few things to say.
- Don’t shoot for a word count, let the story naturally unfold and make it the length it needs to be
- If your story has A LOT packed into it, such that you think it will be really long, then take a step back and see if you can compartmentalize it
That’s it for today. I’m excited to get back to work writing.