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How many words are in a typical novel? : General Questions & Discussions • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

How many words are in a typical novel?

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cigarettesandsand
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How many words are in a typical novel?

Postby cigarettesandsand » Sun Oct 02, 2016 2:21 pm

How much should you aim for before attempting to call it a novel?


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cynicalwanderer
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Re: How many words are in a typical novel?

Postby cynicalwanderer » Mon Oct 03, 2016 5:30 am

I've seen as little as 70,000 words considered a short novel - slightly longer than a novella (which I'd say would be 40-50,000 roughly). For me, about 90,000 words is the right length for an average novel, and 120,000 words for a doorstop book, but your mileage may vary, as always.
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shadowwalker
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Re: How many words are in a typical novel?

Postby shadowwalker » Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:20 am

These are the numbers I've seen frequently (and note the differences between genres):



Also bear in mind (as noted in the above) that these are just "ranges". But if you're significantly higher or lower, you may want to take a close look at why.
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roda havet
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Re: How many words are in a typical novel?

Postby roda havet » Tue Oct 04, 2016 7:56 am

[color=#00BF00]Dream to live, live to dream, and write to love, love to write![/color]

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shadowwalker
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Re: How many words are in a typical novel?

Postby shadowwalker » Tue Oct 04, 2016 8:19 am

The thing to remember about word counts is that they are not definitive numbers. You don't have to add 486 words or drop 1103 to get the right word count. And depending on the site you look at or the agent/publisher you talk to, these counts can vary. Consider them "ballpark figures", and, as I noted above, if you're significantly lower or higher, you may want to take another look at your ms.
"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

It's really not that hard. Just tell me a story.

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Re: How many words are in a typical novel?

Postby williamadams » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:43 pm


nonfictionwriter
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Re: How many words are in a typical novel?

Postby nonfictionwriter » Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:58 am

as an addendum to this question, how many words are in a typical nonfiction book? Not a textbook-a book intended for a general audiences like the stuff Malcolm Gladwell writes or self-help books.

When people are calculating word count, do they include everything including the preface and references or is it only the body of the book?

-N


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