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  1. #11
    Gary Kessler

    Re: How many words should a novel be?


    Circling back to your question, think you got a pretty good answer to the words/per/page question, but the best answer to your "how long in general" question may, in fact, be that a useful "in general" answer may not be either obtainable or what you really want. First question for you to answer may be whether you want to write the world's greatest novel without concern for whether or not it is published or whether you want to write a novel that will be published. If the former, there probably is, as Ron responded, no reason to worry about length. If you want to see it published, maybe you should move away from a "length in general" question to a "length of genre" question, as Patricia has pointed out. come back with a posting on your genre and maybe there are folks working on that genre here on the discussion board that can give some good guidance. You can probably also get a good idea yourself by going to the bookstore and hefting some books in your genre that were published by major publishing houses.

  2. #12
    Katie M

    Re: How many words should a novel be?

    It depends on the genre and publisher. Sometimes the publishers states the number of words they would like in their "writer guidlines" .

  3. #13
    Patricia Cooper

    Re: How many words should a novel be?

    Sorry Ron:

    Yes, that should be 300,000 words -- LOL

    But 979 pages hardcover. But y ou know, it was a really good read.

    She originally had it at 600,000 words and so for obvious reasons the next book in the series will probably be the same length.

    Hope you have recovered from the shock *G*


  4. #14
    Ron Starkey

    Re: How many words should a novel be?


    Except for a few internal bruises, I'm much better now, thank you. Have a happy..


  5. #15

    Re: How many words should a novel be?

    hullo folks.

    i'm currently writing a novel that would fall losely into the historical fiction genre. it is supposed to also include elements of psychological and religious affiliations.
    ideally this book, upon completion will be four volumes long. my first book is not yet completed and sits at about 170,000 words. i still have probably another 30,000 left for it plus diagrams and an apendix.

    my main boggle is not so much 'how many words is appropriate' as i seem to have somewhat breeched that cask already and i will just have to make do as best i can, but rather 'is it possible to get them all published at once'.

    i feel like such a yob when i buy book after book after book in a series, ever awaiting the end. i, like tolkien, would like to tell a WHOLE story, all at once, with volumes designated only because one book couldn't possibly hold all the pages.

    might i ask how hard this is to achieve for the genre i'm indulging in? also, whether or not this is a realistic aim and if anyone still does this other than... well... me.

    i thank you for your time.

    "Now comes the mystery." -Henry Ward Beecher, Last words

  6. #16
    Wallace Cass

    Re: How many words should a novel be?

    DrudwynXavior (quite a nickname, that), I'd say that the difficulty level is more dependent on your level of committment. Your answer is contained above with the earlier responses, but I'll suggest that a story need only be as long as you need it to be to tell its story.

    Being realistic is a question that only you can really answer since you know your abilities the best.

    Best of luck,


  7. #17

    Re: How many words should a novel be?

    you are too kind sire (yes, i have a long-winded nick) and i appreciate the luck you offer.

    i think what i was really trying to ask was whether or not it would actually be possible for me to publish in such a fashion, as i have never published before and was hoping that there might be someone here who was somewhat intimate with the industry that might shed some further light.

    i'm just not sure if, when i do start looking for a publisher (ie, within the next year) if they will laugh in my face without even reading my script when i tell them that i'm 21 years old, i have never published before, i have a lowly high school diploma from that just barely constitutes graduating marks from a school in a overpopulated prison town on the west coast, and that the venture is 800,000 words long.

    would YOU laugh at me?

    i can't help feeling that in the shoes of a publisher, _i_ would.

    is there a way around this?

    am i thinking too much?

    i want to make a stand for the artistic accuracy of my subject, but, hell, if it doesn't get published, who's gonna know?

    "The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom." -H. L. Mencken

  8. #18
    Wallace Cass

    Re: How many words should a novel be?


    Play to your strengths. If you have publishing credits, then list them. If not, then try to show why you are uniquely qualified to write this particular piece. Your age or education doesn't really need to be revealed unless it somehow related to the piece being written.

    Would I laugh at you? Certainly not as I'm working toward being published as well.

    I don't know if there's a way around it unless you pay to have it published yourself. This is a method that I do NOT endorse, support, or otherwise agree with.

    Thinking too much? Probably, but no one around here is going to hold that against you.

    Best of luck,


  9. #19

    Re: How many words should a novel be?

    Dear Gary:
    Who is the publisher of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull? I have written a fable and am trying to get it published. I haven't had any luck yet...as children's books' publishers find it too adult, and adult's books' publishers find it too child-like!
    I would like to send it tot he publishers of the Little Prince and JLSeagull, but am unable to find their e-mail addresses.
    Please could you reply?

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