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View Full Version : 48,000 words: Enough?



Fiender
05-03-2008, 02:47 AM
I finished my novel months ago, at 44,000 words. When I say I finished it, I mean I ended the story of the book out like I wanted to. I was then told it may not be enough words, so I tried to write more and I was able to get the total count up to 48,000. Is that enough for a supernatural-themed thriller?

Siddow
05-03-2008, 02:54 AM
Short is en vogue, but that's awesome short! I suggest a good beta reader who can give suggestions on how to expand it (at least to 60, if not 75k). Post the first chapter in SYW and if I like it, I'll crit it, and if you like my crit, you send me the whole shebang. Deal? I don't offer this, like, ever, but supernatural thriller is my thing.

Fiender
05-03-2008, 02:59 AM
Ok, I'll get to that now.

Siddow
05-03-2008, 03:02 AM
I'll look for it.

Fiender
05-03-2008, 03:24 AM
Here's a link: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=101442

Birol
05-03-2008, 09:24 AM
I finished my novel months ago, at 44,000 words. When I say I finished it, I mean I ended the story of the book out like I wanted to. I was then told it may not be enough words, so I tried to write more and I was able to get the total count up to 48,000. Is that enough for a supernatural-themed thriller?

Um... Probably not.

steveg144
05-03-2008, 02:03 PM
I finished my novel months ago, at 44,000 words. When I say I finished it, I mean I ended the story of the book out like I wanted to. I was then told it may not be enough words, so I tried to write more and I was able to get the total count up to 48,000. Is that enough for a supernatural-themed thriller?

No. What you have here is a 'novella,' not a novel. For a proper novel that a publisher might be willing to publish, you're looking at 70-80K and above. Not many outlets where you can place a novella, by the way, so you'll want to either bulk that bad boy up to 75K+ and call it a novel, or strip it way down and call it a longish short story.

JJ Cooper
05-03-2008, 02:19 PM
No not enough. Boost it up to 80,000 words. If you can't get there, try for 65 - 70 and market it as an 'airport' type novel.

Get it right and your timing is good. The thriller/supernatural thriiler is enjoying a good run at the moment.

JJ

ETA - Why would you post a supernatural thriller under science fiction / fantasy in SYW?

HeronW
05-03-2008, 03:57 PM
Many ebook pubs do novelettes too

Birol
05-03-2008, 06:34 PM
ETA - Why would you post a supernatural thriller under science fiction / fantasy in SYW?

Why wouldn't you?

Fiender
06-02-2008, 05:53 AM
I though that I might as well update this thread. The previous word count was 48,000.

Since then, I haven't had much time to do much of anything for my book but recently I did get some time. I went through the first few chapters and got it up to 51,200 words.

Hopefully by the time I get all of the way through the book once or twice with my revisions, it will be at least 60-70 thousand words, and if it isn't then, this is the first book in a series I have planned, I guess I could take a small part from the second installment and turn it into this story's new ending.

Kalyke
06-02-2008, 06:47 AM
I personally like short novels. I love little 1/2 to 3/4th inch thick novels. I like being able to get through a novel in a day. I'm busy and don't want to invest a million years reading one of these huge novels. I love to be able to turn around and read it again. They are little gems. A huge novel-- I don't even want to get started on that. My interest begins to dissipate at 80K words. I think though, for publishing purposes, a 70-80K novel is the best size for a little novel.

Cassidy
06-02-2008, 09:07 AM
48000 is an okay length for YA... don't suppose your thriller is geared to teens, by any chance?

underthecity
06-02-2008, 01:13 PM
A huge novel-- I don't even want to get started on that. My interest begins to dissipate at 80K words. I think though, for publishing purposes, a 70-80K novel is the best size for a little novel.
Guess you won't like mine, then. Revisions are taking it past the 131,000 word mark.

allen

Phaeal
06-02-2008, 04:59 PM
You can't write a novel too long for me, so long as that length is necessary, like meat on the plate, or delightful, like little dishes of savories and sweets served between the main courses. The sheer heft of a big novel is delicious. Short novels are okay, too, but only if their stories dictate that brevity. A novel starved to anorexia just to fit an arbitrary low word count is no fun at all. It's the celery of literature.

stormie
06-02-2008, 05:06 PM
Keep in mind you can't just pad a ms. in order to bring up the word count. It won't be interesting. Make sure you absolutely need to add those extra words. As Cassidy said, would it make it in the upper YA market? Is the MC no older than 20? Is it a book that older teens would enjoy?

WriterX316
06-02-2008, 09:47 PM
C.S. Lewis had a novella for most of his Narnia series. He threw in some illustrations and made the idea matter weigh in. Why a novel has to be within these parameters makes me laugh and shake a fist. Writers should be allowed to write as they want to. But if you want to publish it has to be by their rules. Unless you go the self publishing route.

underthecity
06-02-2008, 10:19 PM
Fiender,

To continue what stormie said, you probably shouldn't simply go back and pad out your scenes. You might end up with bloated chapters that are all too long.

What I might suggest is that you look at your subplots and try to build on them. Or, choose a strong secondary character and build a subplot on him. Look at that character and see how the main story is affecting him and characters that revolve around him. His subplot will be secondary to the main plot, and must influence the story as a whole.

That is, assuming you haven't done this already. If so, try to build on what subplot(s) you already have.

allen

seun
06-03-2008, 09:49 PM
I have a similar issue. A few months ago, I finished a book which is 45,000 words. Given that it's a sequel to an unpublished book, I have no idea whether it's worth my time submitting it anywhere.

BlueLucario
06-03-2008, 09:53 PM
Why does that matter, as long as it's enough to tell the story.

Marian Perera
06-03-2008, 10:03 PM
Why does that matter, as long as it's enough to tell the story.

It matters if you're writing for publication.

DamaNegra
06-03-2008, 10:06 PM
He, I'm facing a similar predicament. I finished the storyline for my WIP at, wait for it, 28k words. Yeah, laugh at me. I've since added a great subplot that's steered my novel into Magical Realism and is making it much better and stronger than it already was. I've managed to bring it up to 30k words, and I'm just starting to explore the new subplot. If all goes well, it will get me at least to 50k words, and I'm already starting to consider a third, very interesting subplot that will get me to 60 or 70k words.

BlueLucario
06-03-2008, 10:08 PM
It matters if you're writing for publication.

Okay... So there's a minumum word count that must be met for publication? I though books like Of Mice and Men were perhaps about that size.

Weird....

That's like your teacher making a minimum word count of 1k words on your essay, but 500 words is all you could write to express your ideas.

underthecity
06-03-2008, 10:13 PM
I thought books like Of Mice and Men were perhaps about that size.

Well, not every author is John Steinbeck.

Once you're established, you could probably get away with publishing novellas. Until then, an author should plan to write 60K+ words. Especially a new author.


allen

Marian Perera
06-03-2008, 10:16 PM
That's like your teacher making a minimum word count of 1k words on your essay, but 500 words is all you could write to express your ideas.

Then you keep practising your skills until you're able to write 1K or over.

DamaNegra
06-03-2008, 10:21 PM
That's like your teacher making a minimum word count of 1k words on your essay, but 500 words is all you could write to express your ideas.

Welcome to college.

BlueLucario
06-03-2008, 10:22 PM
Welcome to college.

Not in College yet, but thanks! :)

Carry on.

James81
06-03-2008, 10:23 PM
Well, not every author is John Steinbeck.

Once you're established, you could probably get away with publishing novellas. Until then, an author should plan to write 60K+ words. Especially a new author.


allen

I understand that it's more of a guideline for newer authors and stuff so that you have an idea of what publishers expect but...


Then you keep practising your skills until you're able to write 1K or over.

I'm kind of agreeing with Blue here. If 48K is all you've got, then don't try to force more out JUST to get to that 60K word count. That will probably REALLY hurt your story.

If 48K is absolutely ALL you can get out of it, then that's all you can get.

Odds are, however, that you're probably lacking in some details and you could eek out another 12K in character development throughout the story if you put your mind to it.

I also don't see how word count has anything to do with "skills".

James81
06-03-2008, 10:24 PM
In fact, if one person can tell me a rivetting story in 50K words and another person uses 100K to tell the same story, I'm more likely to read the 50K words...if it's done properly.

DamaNegra
06-03-2008, 10:33 PM
Not in College yet, but thanks! :)

Carry on.
Yeah but in college, teachers are going to assign you papers with specific minimum lenghts which you have to fulfill even if you don't have that much to say. So you'd better get used to it ;)

Marian Perera
06-03-2008, 10:47 PM
I also don't see how word count has anything to do with "skills".

When I get an idea for a plot, I can tell in advance whether it's suitable for a novel or for a short story, for instance. If it's a novel, I can develop subplots and decide whether it needs a prologue or epilogue. When it's done, if the word count exceeds what agents and publishers are willing to look at, I can edit it down to a more manageable quantity.

Soccer Mom
06-03-2008, 11:02 PM
I regularly write short stories for specific word counts in order to target specific publications. Freelance writers also write to word counts. It's no big deal.

underthecity
06-04-2008, 12:21 AM
In fact, if one person can tell me a rivetting story in 50K words and another person uses 100K to tell the same story, I'm more likely to read the 50K words...if it's done properly.

Maybe so, but the 100K novel with the same story might have richer detail, more memorable dialogue. The 50K novel might be minimalistic, skimpy.

Even if done properly.

allen

underthecity
06-04-2008, 12:22 AM
Yeah but in college, teachers are going to assing you papers with specific minimum lenghts which you have to fulfill even if you don't have that much to say. So you'd better get used to it ;)

"Assing?" I'm not trying to be a jerk, but is that how the kids are saying "assigning" now?

You know, like "subbing" your work to a publisher? When subbing, to me, is being a substitute for something.

allen

Fiender
06-04-2008, 12:23 AM
I'm kind of agreeing with Blue here. If 48K is all you've got, then don't try to force more out JUST to get to that 60K word count. That will probably REALLY hurt your story.

If 48K is absolutely ALL you can get out of it, then that's all you can get.

Odds are, however, that you're probably lacking in some details and you could eek out another 12K in character development throughout the story if you put your mind to it.

I also don't see how word count has anything to do with "skills".

I agree with everything you said. But right now I am basically fleshing out what was, in some was at least, a bare-bones story. I've been told that my story 'tells' and doesn't 'show' and I've been going through it adding and changing what I can. Each chapter I revise, adds another 1k or so and there's 15 + prologue= 64K (hopefully!)

And if it absolutely needs to be longer after that than I can just expand the story.

DamaNegra
06-04-2008, 01:03 AM
"Assing?" I'm not trying to be a jerk, but is that how the kids are saying "assigning" now?

You know, like "subbing" your work to a publisher? When subbing, to me, is being a substitute for something.

allen

It was a typo! :tongue


Also, I don't know how you expect me to know how the kids are saying stuff, given that I never speak English IRL.

Birol
06-04-2008, 01:10 AM
I also don't see how word count has anything to do with "skills".

Does word count have anything to do with skills? Yes and no, but mainly yes. It's not a matter of what the word count ends up being that has anything to do with skill. The skill is a matter of taking a given idea and making it work within a given word count. That's where skill comes into play. Can you write to fulfill a need? Do you have that skill?

Are you a carpenter that can only make one size and type of dresser or can you alter, adjust, and adapt it to meet different client's needs?

James81
06-04-2008, 05:12 PM
I think this is why there are so many books out there that I read and I think "Dear God, this could've been cut in HALF and would've been awesome."

Two examples right off the top of my head:

Stephen King's "Duma Key"
John Irvings "Cider House Rules"

As an avid reader (I'm speaking from a reader's standpoint, not a writer's) there is so much CRAP in books these days simply because the author wants to hit a word count. Perhaps this is why most of the books I've read lately get dry in the middle?

I dunno.

It's one thing to go through and "show" instead of tell. But you gotta be careful going in and adding something to your story after it's done. That's VERY tricky business.