72,000 words...


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Thread: 72,000 words...

  1. #1

    72,000 words...

    ...completed second draft Now onto the final editing stage.

    The novel is a science-fiction thriller (pretty mainstream) told in three parts (this is part one, I have first drafts of the second two books but they will need a similar overhaul).

    I hacked the crap out of this one to bring it down by tens of thousands of words. And now I have this *slight* worry that maybe the word count might be a little under-par.

    72,000 words is approx 288 pages. I know the official word count 'rules', so this isn't a "How Long Should A Novel Be?" type thread exactly, but more that I wanted to get some unofficial feedback as to whether such a length sounds a little shorter than typically expected for this genre.

    Most books I read are much longer, and I could make this one longer without too much trouble (I had some good bits I ended up cutting), but I feel like it's reasonably in-balance right now. While there are scenes I could add to, I feel like doing so might make it seem like more time is spent on certain areas and less in others and don't want to get into that mess again.

    Any thoughts on this generally? Might be better asked of a beta reader, but I was hoping to have the third draft done before beta-ing so...here I am.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

    "Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow."

  2. #2
    I was under the impression that 80k is the sweet spot for first time novelists looking for agents, and that 70k might be short, but to really know, I’d have to look up last years releases and see how long they were.

    For self published, I’ve read lots of books of different genres shorter than that, and I don’t think anyone cares.

    personally, I prefer shorter books as long as they are complete.

  3. #3
    I generally don't leave a book under 80k. My last trilogy, the first book was 82k, the second was 96k and the final one was 125k. Honestly, so long as it tells a good story, it really doesn't matter.

  4. #4
    I never ever cut stuff just to make it fit some theoretical word count I read about on the internet.
    I did that once, and ruined my first book. Never again!
    I only cut superfluous and unnecessary parts. I don't care about word count because this is the era of eBooks...and with eBooks, word count is far less of a concern.

    Write the best story you can, and word count be damned.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    I never ever cut stuff just to make it fit some theoretical word count I read about on the internet.
    I did that once, and ruined my first book. Never again!
    I only cut superfluous and unnecessary parts. I don't care about word count because this is the era of eBooks...and with eBooks, word count is far less of a concern.

    Write the best story you can, and word count be damned.
    I don't think anybody here is advocating cutting. Word count matters in traditional publishing because you have to provide it as part of an agent query, that's all. I was just looking for a feeling on whether the word count in the genre I am speaking of sounds about right without having read the book (which would be the case with an unsolicited manuscript)
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

    "Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow."

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    .
    Any thoughts on this generally? Might be better asked of a beta reader, but I was hoping to have the third draft done before beta-ing so...here I am.
    Yes. Probably better to ask a beta.

    If the MS wasn't overly long, it might not have been necessary to hack out the good stuff. Just a pacing issue?
    "Ammonia will disinfect sin."
    --adrianhayter

    "Art is life, just add bull****."
    --Chris Miller

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by seigfried007 View Post
    Yes. Probably better to ask a beta.

    If the MS wasn't overly long, it might not have been necessary to hack out the good stuff. Just a pacing issue?
    I'm probably going to go back and see if I can re-insert those scenes (good example why one must never throw away a draft) to bulk it up a little closer to the 80,000 mark without 'padding'. Only trouble is I envision inevitably deleting further superfluous words on Draft 3 so unsure if that will work.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

    "Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow."

  8. #8
    Only you know what will feel right. But if you think you don't need it then I think you don't need it. A story is as long as it needs to be.
    my blog: Hidden Content

  9. #9
    Member Tomkat's Avatar
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    Congratulations, friend!
    Wish you good luck with the next steps!

    I've been told that new authors shouldn't dare to propose anything that reaches the 100k words.
    The advice goes from the 80k to the 90k. The reason is that a publisher will consider the cost of printing so many pages for relatively unknown names.

    I honestly don't see anything wrong with a 72k words. Adding here and there another 5k or 8k to make it 80 rounded shouldn't be a problem if it truly gives you doubts.

    Keep us updated!
    Thumbs up!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomkat View Post
    I've been told that new authors shouldn't dare to propose anything that reaches the 100k words.
    The advice goes from the 80k to the 90k. The reason is that a publisher will consider the cost of printing so many pages for relatively unknown names.
    A lot of it is genre-dependent. Obviously tastes vary but 100,000 words is normal, quite short even, for high fantasy, science fiction, or high-end historical fiction. 100,000 words is quite long for horror, romance, action, mystery, etc. and definitely too long for YA. You are definitely correct that first-time novelists don't typically command the tolerance of a proven name, which is of course why Stephen King's first novel Carrie was one of his shortest.

    I do know the numbers with this stuff, but I was looking more for casual opinions. 288 pages feels 'OK' for a novel but I'm not convinced it isn't a little on the thin side. Paranoia, maybe.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

    "Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow."

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