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Thread: Word Count Woes

  1. #1
    Azarath Metrion Zinthos AshleyEpidemic's Avatar
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    Word Count Woes

    Most people suffer from too many words in their fantasy novels, but I am having the opposite issue at the moment. Currently my WIP is hovering around 50k words, with probably another 30-35k to go. That will leave it at about 85k. I am terrified that for a fantasy that will be too short.

    There is other material that I can draw from, as I plan for it to be a series. I don't want to exhaust the majority of the twists in this one series. Not to mention, the next chunk of material doesn't connect well to the tone of this chunk.

    Is 85k really okay for an adult fantasy? Or should in my first revision should I focus on adding an additional subplot?
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  2. #2
    What a desolation. Alexandra Little's Avatar
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    You're fine. Many push upwards of 100,000, but it's not required.

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  3. #3
    New Member Ian Isaro's Avatar
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    Adult fantasy may trend longer, but 85k is still a novel. Most publishers say their range is 80-120k; the highest I know of is Pyr, which says it doesn't accept fantasy under 95k. In general you're going to be fine: don't damage the story to aim for a target that won't matter much to most people.

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  4. #4
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    85k isn't drastically short. The book in my sig was hovering around 90k when I subbed

    Might depend on sub genre though - epic fantasy tends to run longer for instance, but you're not outside the realms of possibility.




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  5. #5
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    Keep writing, another complication for your MCs will occur to you.
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  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Beth Raymond's Avatar
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    I anticipate that mine, when all is said and done, will be on the shorter side as well (around 85K). I'm not worrying about it too much, now, because I tend to write more as I edit. Also, as Waylander said, I can always add another conflict if I want, and weave it back through, as necessary.

    But if it ends up at 85K, it is what it is.
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  7. #7
    a demon for tea EMaree's Avatar
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    Get it beta read. It might be fine, or there might be some holes in the world building that another set of eyes can catch for you. I had the latter problem with my novel -- it was too short because I hadn't fleshed out the universe enough.
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  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Beth Raymond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMaree View Post
    I had the latter problem with my novel -- it was too short because I hadn't fleshed out the universe enough.
    This is a good point. Most of my adds-while-editing is done to better describe the story's world, and I've found that a little world building scattered throughout can ramp up the word count pretty fast.
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  9. #9
    Stuck in the great swampy middle
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    The other thing to keep in mind is the cutting that usually comes as part of editing. I tend to be verbose, so losing 10% in editing is a good target for me. Hopefully you are tighter
    Hopefully the world-building supplement will counteract that, though . . . .

  10. #10
    Trained by the soft master
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    I find that I usually grow the story quite a bit in the rewrite. My first draft on my current wip was just around 75,000 words. I'm anticipating breaking 100k on the second pass.

    So, if all else fails you can always do a word by word/ scene by scene rewrite.
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  11. #11
    Azarath Metrion Zinthos AshleyEpidemic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annaka View Post
    The other thing to keep in mind is the cutting that usually comes as part of editing. I tend to be verbose, so losing 10% in editing is a good target for me. Hopefully you are tighter
    Hopefully the world-building supplement will counteract that, though . . . .
    My writing does tend to be scant on the first attempt. When I do pad areas for clarity I tend to get too wordy. Truthfully, editing is the bane of my existence and I burn out before I get through enough passes.

    It is good to know the word count isn't a deal breaker.
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  12. #12
    Make teh semester stahp Little Anonymous Me's Avatar
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    I'm right in the same boat (check out my sig), and I'm trying to find areas where I can expand without bogging down. My plot is tight, and it has enough going on that more would be absolute overkill, so I'm focusing on the world building. Sneaking in a paragraph here and there is helping me along. I think some of us just tend to be rather compact in our wordage.
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  13. #13
    Trigger-Happy Pyromaniac Writer BRDurkin's Avatar
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    My advice would be to just keep writing the book. Get it finished before you start worrying how long or short it is. Sure, it's good to have a general word-count goal, but I wouldn't get too worked up about needing to add or take out stuff until you're done with the first draft. If you're only at 50K and already worrying about length, I think you're jumping the gun. These nagging little worries can sabotage a project before it ever gets finished. I know from experience!
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  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW TroyJackson's Avatar
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    I pay no attention to word count until maybe the end when I'm curious. My advice is to not worry about it. Just write however much it takes to get your story the way you want it, whether that's 75k, 85k, 100k+.
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  15. #15
    Whatever I did, I didn't do it. Phaeal's Avatar
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    A handy NaNoWriMo trick: If your main characters are Sargath and Jilla, rename them to something like this:

    Sargath Sei Gargleroth and Jilla Jo Jeen.

    Instant word count boost!

    Or just make sure those 85K words shine and give the market a chance to decide.
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