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HOW MANY WORDS : FAQs • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

HOW MANY WORDS

Frequently asked questions. Go HERE and read the first thread.
LilliesCarol
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HOW MANY WORDS

Postby LilliesCarol » Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:52 am

I've written a short story, but it is rather long. My question is how long is a long short story? I have 22,602 words. I also use dash marks to set aside different scenes so that in the end I can bring them all together to end the story. Is this correct? I've posted the first two pages. Let me have your thoughts.


Hans von Edelstien was the owner of Edelstien Laboratories. The corporation was widely known for its diverse and innovative ideas to solve problems. It was the “Think Tank” supreme and corporations worldwide used its facilities and expertise to work through tough problems for gratifying results. At the age of eighty-four, Hans knew his time was running out. This he could not allow. There were still too many world problems that needed solving and too many ideas that needed fulfillment.

Byer Edgewood had been the confidant to Hans for the past fifteen years. In his mid forties, he had not only learned a lot, but also aided Hans in practical matters. They were a good pair, Hans the innovator and Byer the man to make it work. But what Hans proposed now? This was one situation which Byer thought was way over Hans and his ability to make happen, if not even unimaginable to believe.

“Are you mad?” asked Byer.

“No, just being practical,” was Han's stoic response.

“Hans, how would you even find such a person? And if you do, how would you propose to handle it?”

“I don’t know, but I do know there is someone out there who would gladly escape this lifetime for another and I intend to find that person. I will leave in one week for India and will be there about two months. In that time, you can contact me via email and Skype, should something need my attention. My mind is sure this is what I must do and when I return, either I will have found the answer I need to become a new man, or I will return to die within a few months. Whatever the situation Byer, I want you to be prepared for either event. Please study the papers I left on my desk, as they will give you an insight as to what I intend to do and how it would work, should all go well. I have so little time to accomplish my greatest feat, and I strongly feel I am on the right path.”

“I'll keep things running smoothly and trust you really know what you’re doing this time,” Byer said dubiously.

-----------

Kingsly Allen had just turned fifty. He enjoyed his weekly workouts at the club and was extremely fit. His business dealings had always been above reproach, until recently. At a convention in Vegas, he fell into the company of men who gambled for very high stakes and King chalked up a huge loss and debt. The debt was so great that he was about to lose his company, until he answered a magazine ad.
--------------


“I finally have the day off, sweetheart. Why don’t you take me on that picnic you’re always trying to drag me to.”

“Really, King? You really would be willing to go? Oh, darling I could kiss you.”

“Then why don’t you?”

They embraced for a short time. Then Marcia squirmed away. She was so excited that Kingsly had finally agreed to a picnic. She ran to the kitchen and began packing the basket.

He could hear her humming in the kitchen while he called a number on his cell phone. “Yes, we’re still set I take it? My wife and I will leave in half an hour and should arrive around 11:00 AM. You’ll have to be on the lookout for us.”

Just then Marcia walked in and said, “I hope that’s not someone you’re talking with who will take you away from our picnic.”

“No, Marsh, just finishing up some old business.”

“Well, in that case, I have the picnic basket packed and we’re ready to go.”
-------------

It was an arduous trip to New Delhi for Hans and he spent his first day sleeping. Upon awaking, he went to the hotel dining room for breakfast. As he waited for his meal, he checked his itinerary for the day.

“Ah, here it is,” mumbling to himself. He took his cell phone from his breast pocket and called the number.

“Hello, Uttam here, I am the best. The best guide for your trip.”

“Yes, yes, Uttam, this is Hans von Edelstien. I sent you an email and asked for your services. Did you receive my query and are you prepared to be my guide for several weeks?”

“Yes sir, I did receive your email and am glad to hear you personally. Will you want service today?”

“Yes, I wish to leave Delhi and travel to McLeod Ganj. I shall need a hotel reservation for the next few weeks while I conduct my business.”

“Yes, sir, I will take care of it for you. When do you wish to leave for McLeod Ganj?”

“Can you be here in one hour? I'm at the Leela Palace Hotel.”

“I know where it is. One hour is fine. You will know me, as I will have my tour sign on top of the auto. I will ask your name to make sure I have the right patron.”

“That’s fine Uttam. See you in one hour.”

Hans wondered if his plan would work. For ten years, he had been studying about Tibetan Lamas, when he came across the little known Lama of the Sacred Body. It sounded exactly what he needed. On rare occasions, this Lama would help place an old soul from its body into a new and younger body and the younger soul into the older body. Now Hans' hope was to find this Lama and that he would accept him as a student. Hans had already found the right person who was willing to make the exchange, so he felt ready. Yet, he wondered if he would be able to find this Lama. In addition, would he be accepted as a worthy person for such a transformation?
Long, long afterward in an oak I found the arrow still unbroke
And the song from beginning to end, I found again in the heart of a friend
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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pls
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Re: HOW MANY WORDS

Postby pls » Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:53 am

22K words would be a novella or novelette, Carol.
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James A. Ritchie
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Re: HOW MANY WORDS

Postby James A. Ritchie » Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:24 am

What you have is a novella. No dash marks. You should be using a single # centered on the page. This is a proofreaders' mark, which is the language all editors use so each will know what the other is saying. Underlining for italics is also a proofreaders' mark.

LilliesCarol
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Re: HOW MANY WORDS

Postby LilliesCarol » Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:53 am

Thanks Paul and James. I guess I outdid myself and wrote a novella. The # sign makes a lot of sense and I will make the proper corrections. You guys are just too smart! :roll:
Long, long afterward in an oak I found the arrow still unbroke
And the song from beginning to end, I found again in the heart of a friend
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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HawkEliz489
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Re: HOW MANY WORDS

Postby HawkEliz489 » Mon May 23, 2016 4:32 am

Guys, I don't know if this question belongs here, but what's with the 'If you're writing a novel, it must contain this and that amount of words'. I've seen this kind of replies all over the internet, but can't really get the core idea. I mean, what if someone's story needs more or less than that 'standard' amount of words? And probably sounds silly, but how am I supposed to 'count' my words to find out how many words I've used exactly? Should I guess by the numbers of pages that my novel is close to the 'standard' amount of words?
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roda havet
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Re: HOW MANY WORDS

Postby roda havet » Mon May 23, 2016 6:22 am

I read on a site the following about word counts:
Short story: any fictional work under 7,500 words
Novelette: between 7,500 and 17,500 words
Novella: between 17,500 and 40,000 words
Novel: anything over 40,000 words

However, 40,000 words is actually pretty short for a novel. Generally, 50,000 would be considered the minimum word count, and ideally a novel should be over 70,000 words. On the upper end, a novel over 110,000 words is considered an epic. That's the level where publishers are likely to suggest dividing a story into multiple volumes.

If you're writing an adult novel, the target you should aim for (knowing you won't hit it exactly) is around 80,000-90,000 words.

As for children's books, here are the general targets:
Picture books: 350-600 words.
Early readers: individual publishers set targets according to reading level, but under 3,500.
Chapter books: 6,000-10,000.
Middle grade or tween novels: 30,000-45,000.
Young adult: 55,000-70,000.

However I'm not sure how correct these word counts are. I hope that helps. :)
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HawkEliz489
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Re: HOW MANY WORDS

Postby HawkEliz489 » Mon May 23, 2016 6:44 am

“Do I look like the leader of this merry band of misfits?”

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cynicalwanderer
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Re: HOW MANY WORDS

Postby cynicalwanderer » Tue May 24, 2016 6:28 pm

Yep, Roda's post sums it up fairly well.

I seem to recall hearing many years ago that the benchmark for the "average" novel length - let's call that the 80,000-90,000 quoted by Roda, for the sake of argument - historically came about partly due to printing and binding costs incurred by the publisher. A writer might well churn out a 120,000 word doorstop, but since publishing that would require a costlier process, publishers would often be reluctant to accept such large books, and over time the "convention" settled into the average we have today.

That's what I vaguely remember reading on the subject anyway, although it may well just have been an apocryphal story. The movie industry has a similar set of myths and anecdotes around why feature film lengths have coalesced over the years into a 90 minute average.
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James A. Ritchie
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Re: HOW MANY WORDS

Postby James A. Ritchie » Thu May 26, 2016 4:38 pm


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DrG2
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Re: HOW MANY WORDS

Postby DrG2 » Thu May 26, 2016 9:57 pm



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