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Friday, January 23, 2015

Word Counts & Book Lengths


The topic at hand possesses as many comments, opinions and variants as there are leaves on a tree in summer, I suppose.

I visited the Internet in search of some Names in fiction revealing, to no surprise, that many of the commentaries regarding novel length standards do not always fit the mold of what those popular in the literary realm of fiction practice.


I prefer fairly even chapters… how about you?


For a long period I commuted by train for one hour each direction to and from work, I preferred a book with even chapter lengths - a dependable, predictable, consistent page-by-page reading time. Frustration’s deep roots grew if one chapter contained 2,500 words and the next 6,000. But... that was for commuting times when stopping in the midst of a scene tormented me, ha, ha. Most of my reading back then was, of course, vintage crime fiction - cheap if bought in lots on eBay.

Anyway, I found the below listed numbers, not empirically verified, but still interesting to say the least.

Only two of the authors surveyed are listed below. (From: eggmanandwalrus)

The point: It may assist to increase your joy with writing, especially for Indies, knowing that a 150,000+ word fiction novel is not that abnormal, quite the contrary.

Hopefully this is liberating rather than confusing for you.

If one considers their works artistic expressions, then liberating is a good word for you. If one is bound by a submission requirement, then it is best for you to follow your editor’s guidelines and requirements.


Happy writing!                        Comments?

 
Down for the Count:

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Michael Connelly
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Ace and Hoser Blook: The Black Ice
Page count: 448 | Word count: 111,581

2010: #44 – Chasing the Dime
Page count: 448 | Word count: 102,676

2009: #11 – The Brass Verdict
Page Count: 422 | approximate Word count: 128,698

2007: #28 – The Black Echo
Page count: 482 | Word count: 141,971

2006: #61 – City of Bones
Pages in book: 448 - Words in book: 128,232

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STEPHEN KING
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Apr 1974  Carrie                     60,000
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Oct 1975  'Salem's Lot            155,000
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Jan 1977  The Shining             160,000
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Feb 1978  Night Shift                         125,000+
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 Aug 1979  The Dead Zone                150,000
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Sep 1980  Firestarter                           154,000
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Oct 1981  Cujo                                   120,000
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Nov 1983  Pet Sematary                     145,000
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Sep 1990  Four Past Midnight            288,000
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1990  The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition     473,180
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Sep 1993  Nightmares & Dreamscapes           277,100
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Nov 1992  Dolores Claiborne             95,000
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Oct 1994  Insomnia                            240,000
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More examples HERE

2 comments:

Misha Gericke said...

Yeah, one thing I'm looking forward to with self publishing is that I don't actually have to justify my book length to some publisher who imposes word count limits.

Royce A Ratterman said...

Thanks for commenting Misha!