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XxEvWingsxX
04-02-2009, 05:33 AM
I'm working on a novel, but I don't know how many pages it's supposed to have to be a novel...and what about the word count? How many words are in a novel...to make it a novel?

Just asking, thanks...

dragonkid
04-02-2009, 06:16 AM
Hi EvWings – this is a good question, but there’s not really a set answer. The size of a novel can vary a lot depending on genre and your individual story. I’ve seen numbers from 40,000 words for a quick YA read to 140,000 for a long historical, with the average book somewhere in the middle. There are about 250-300 words per page in standard manuscript format (double spaced, TNR or another normal font), so that’s about 150 to 500 pages.

jvc
04-03-2009, 01:03 AM
I'm working on a novel, but I don't know how many pages it's supposed to have to be a novel...and what about the word count? How many words are in a novel...to make it a novel?

Just asking, thanks...

Best way to figure it out is to look at the novels you have on your bookshelf and work it out from there. Novels come in all shapes and sizes, with word counts from 30,000 to 300,000 sometimes. It is said, somewhere, that a debut author is unlikely to sell a novel with a word count above 100,000 words, but doesn't mean it never happens.

This from Cathy_C's thread about formatting novels, in the FAQ forum:

Short Short: Under 2,000 words
Short story: 2,000--7,500 words
Novelette (General Fiction): 7,500--15,000 words
Novelette (SF & Fantasy): 7,500--17,500 words
Novella (General Fiction): 15,000--30,000 words
Novella (SF & Fantasy): 17,500--40,000 words
Novel (General Fiction): Over 30,000 words
Novel (SF & Fantasy): Over 40,000 words

XxEvWingsxX
04-03-2009, 08:10 PM
ok thanks for the info! I will get to writing my future novel now! ^_^

BenPanced
04-04-2009, 12:29 AM
Enough to tell the story.

frisco
04-04-2009, 07:40 AM
I should start by saying I am not an expert and this is purely my own opinion, but I would advise you to do a little research before you even start writing. You stated you were looking at writing a novel, but are your plans to self publish or go through the process of getting an agent and working with a reputable publishing house? I think it your looking at self publishing than length really isn't much of an issue--perhaps 30 to 40 K is a good bet because it will cut down publication costs. If you are looking at going the agent route and trying to get it published by a reputable publisher you would be wise to check their submission requirements. I think most publishers set guidelines on length and so forth and if you plan to send a 30 K word novel to a publication house than only accepts 80 K and more I'm pretty sure you will be destined to failure.
When I wrote my most recent book I went in with the mindset that it needed to be 80 K words--which was what the requirements were for the publisher where I wanted to sell the book. I ended up focusing more on length than quality and ended up with a 80 K work that was filled with boring detail and really wasn't a great effort. It's gotten dramatically better after a major rewrite and now its about 78 k and the story moves along better. I'd focus more on getting the story written well and worry about length later on.

shokadh
04-04-2009, 07:45 AM
My first manuscript was so over-inflated that I merely paused at 134,000 words to see if I was anywhere near close enough to having a novel...such was my ignorance of length at the time. I have found enough material in that original draft to create an entire mini-series!! LOL:) It's good to find out ahead of time...

Gillhoughly
04-05-2009, 01:10 AM
Discard page count, as it's pretty meaningless these days. Go by word count.

Publisher websites may also state the word count they're looking for.

Some romance houses are very specific on word count. If they want 58K words, don't send them 59.


Novel — 40,000 words or more Bolding is mine.
Novella — 17,500–39,999 words
Novelette — 7,500–17,499 words
Short Story — 7,499 words or fewer
Most publishers of adult fiction are looking for 60-100K words. This can run more or less if a book is historical, Young Adult, or children's.

There are rule breakers. The Harry Potter books are considered to be much too long for children, but they get read! Some literary novels top out at novella length.

Just read widely, read everything in the 808 section of your library, and get a copy of Elements of Style (http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Style-4th-William-Strunk/dp/0205313426/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238879360&sr=1-1), and write every day.

KikiteNeko
04-05-2009, 01:24 AM
Agents/publishers go by word count rather than page count. But your average fiction MS should be about 70-110K words, which could be 250-400 pages give or take with a Times New Roman 12 pt font.

nezumikiri623
04-25-2009, 05:04 AM
well, i am slightly wondering the same thing. my teacher said around 125 pages. My estimate for word would be maybe 100,000 at least. of course, that isn't what really makes a novel, kinda, but it does have to be a certain length. pretty much, here is kind of what I did and am doing.

write a ten or so chapter story, at least 20-50 pages, getting all the important parts out that make the story.
Then, kind of add in the detail chapters that make the story exciting, and make the sory fit right. Most word document things have a 'make it fit' option, where you can make the font whatever size it needs to be to fit your page number.

i know that last paragraph isn't what you were asking for, but pretty much, it is my way of explaining. I am sre you understand, as another novel writer, the urge to write as much as possible, so that you can empathize it even if you can't sympathize it.

Matera the Mad
04-26-2009, 06:58 AM
125 pages at 250 words per page = 31,250 words. 100,000 words = 400 pages. Cramming more words on a Word doc "page" does not keep a novel to a certain published page length. Printed books are what matters. Word. Count. Is. What. Counts.

Gillhoughly
04-27-2009, 02:24 AM
Your teacher isn't an editor.

125 pages? Single or double spaced? What size & type of font? I can't see an overworked teacher wanting to grade 125 single-paced pages in a small font!

Next time you discuss it, ask her about word count instead and show her a print out of CathyC's list. Let her know that publishers go by word not page count. She might adjust her lesson for it.

Um...be diplomatic.

I wasn't.

Back in the day.

I still made a good grade, but she hated giving it to me.

bettielee
04-27-2009, 03:27 AM
If you're not sure how many pages make a novel, maybe you aren't ready to write it yet. I don't mean to be unkind or anything, but you need to do some reading and researching about fiction so you can begin your work well informed, and not waste a lot of time. I started writing my first "short story" - and wound up with a 20,000 word monster. Then I started doing research, and none of the little market books publish behemoth plough horses - they want sleek thoroughbreds. So do yourself a favor and read some books.

OH!! And writer's markets! They make me want to blow my head off, but they teach you what publishers, editors, agents are looking for.

jy'lenn
04-27-2009, 04:14 AM
Oh, and for what it's worth, page count varies between programs. Open office is different from MS Word and even that varies between versions. Word count also varies between Open Office and MS Word, but it's a better indicator and gives you a more reliable accounting. (I suggest using word, since that's what almost everyone else out there uses. open office is just free open-source version of Office.)

I know this because I'm a computer tech and my workplace uses Open Office and I installed Office 2000 on my computer there. I also have the latest version of office on my new laptop. Word count and pages vary but they're usually different by no more than 100 words.

Annoying and confusing, yeah; but from what I can tell, most only want an approximate count.

eqb
04-27-2009, 04:38 AM
I know this because I'm a computer tech and my workplace uses Open Office and I installed Office 2000 on my computer there. I also have the latest version of office on my new laptop. Word count and pages vary but they're usually different by no more than 100 words.

As others have said (emphatically), page count does not matter.

For those at the submission stage...

With short stories, use the word processor's word count rounded to the nearest hundred. For novels, you have three choices if the publisher/agent doesn't specify: word processor wordcount (rounded), calculate from 250 words per page, or character count divided by six (character count includes spaces and punctuation).

For those at the writing stage...

Write the story the way it needs to be written, *then* worry about market requirements. Really.

jy'lenn
04-27-2009, 04:19 PM
EQB, I never said page count mattered, only that it differs. I was merely pointing out that they both vary between programs, so either way, you have to estimate. If one asks about pages, one answers about pages.

Word count is most certainly what matters in the publishing world, but it's always good to know how many pages are to your novel when talking to friends and family who look at you like you're from another planet and then ask: "but how many pages is that?" (Yes, that DOES happen to me, so I can only guess it happens to others.)

James D. Macdonald
04-28-2009, 12:24 AM
Write the story. Use as many words as you need, but no more.

After you've written it, and revised it, then you can start thinking about markets. If you can't find a paying market, try again with your next novel.

ElsaM
04-29-2009, 06:43 AM
If you're not sure how many pages make a novel, maybe you aren't ready to write it yet. I don't mean to be unkind or anything, but you need to do some reading and researching about fiction so you can begin your work well informed, and not waste a lot of time. I started writing my first "short story" - and wound up with a 20,000 word monster. Then I started doing research, and none of the little market books publish behemoth plough horses - they want sleek thoroughbreds. So do yourself a favor and read some books.

OH!! And writer's markets! They make me want to blow my head off, but they teach you what publishers, editors, agents are looking for.

From someone who went too far the other way and did all the research they possibly could before starting writing, here's my advice:

Start writing now. You can research at the same time.

Rowan
05-27-2009, 02:12 AM
XxEvWingsxX

Not sure if this helps but I found this website a while ago:
http://www.pwcwriters.org/penpoints4.htm

Here is an excerpt:

Average # Words / Approx. pages, double-spaced

Short-short story 500-2500 / 2-10
Short story 2500-5000 / 10-20
Novelette 7000-25,000 / 28-100
Novel--paperback 35,000-80,000 / 140-320
Novel--hard cover 25,000-150,000 / 100-600
Nonfiction book 20,000-200,000 / 80-800
Young adult book 15,000-80,000 / 60-320
Query Letter 200-500 /1-2 full pages; single-spaced

pllambrou
05-27-2009, 04:12 PM
It's not about how many pages but rather about the word count that determines whether the finished manuscript is a novellette (less than 70,000 words) or a novel (70k+). I would say not to worry too much about the word count when you're writing. The main objective is to get everything down where in subsequent drafts you can shape and edit and develop the characters and plot. It's easy to try and 'pad out' your manuscript for the sake of boosting the word count but this may come at a cost as you might lose the equilibrium of your work. Hope this helps...

eqb
05-28-2009, 04:47 AM
It's not about how many pages but rather about the word count that determines whether the finished manuscript is a novellette (less than 70,000 words) or a novel (70k+).

Puts on pedant hat again.

Novelettes are 7K to 17K long (depending on the genre). Novellas run from 17K or thereabouts to around 40K. After that, you've got a novel.

Swordswoman
05-28-2009, 05:03 AM
Puts on pedant hat again.

Novelettes are 7K to 17K long (depending on the genre). Novellas run from 17K or thereabouts to around 40K. After that, you've got a novel.

It's a little tricky to be pedantic about this one, eqb, since requirements vary so widely. In the UK, as pllambrou correctly says, 70,000 words is a realistic minimum for a novel. There are a few genres which will accept less here - eg the US-owned Harlequin Mills & Boon have a standard length of 50,000, but even they won't consider a historical under 70,000.

There are a few very rare exceptions of shorter works, mainly literary - or of course children's and e-books.

I think the OP is US-based, so obviously different rules apply, but it's as well to make the distinction clear for the other nations on the boards.

eqb
05-28-2009, 02:39 PM
It's a little tricky to be pedantic about this one, eqb, since requirements vary so widely. In the UK, as pllambrou correctly says, 70,000 words is a realistic minimum for a novel.

Well, the lower end I gave includes middle grade and younger YA novels, and those can be as short as 40K.

But my real point for the pendatry was to point out the category of novella, which the previous poster skipped over.

DavidBrookes
05-28-2009, 03:04 PM
I aim for a minimum of 90,000, and an ideal of 100,000. Most end up around 110,000.

Naturally it depends on your genre; personally I wouldn't have a mainstream novel shorter than 75,000, with 90,000 being top-end. Arguably you can write sci-fi this length as well, but I think most expect the same as a fantasy novel, i.e. 100,000 min (roughly).

My first novel's not had its proof copy sent to me yet, but hopefully in a few weeks I can let you know what sort of font and spacing we're looking at, and exactly what 110,000 words equates to in book pages!

Swordswoman
05-29-2009, 02:46 AM
But my real point for the pendatry was to point out the category of novella, which the previous poster skipped over.

Yes, absolutely - fair point. We have the same category in the UK too, and I'd agree with your distinction.

brainstorm77
05-31-2009, 08:54 PM
I would think however many a writer needs to complete the story? You may have to edit to fit specific submission guidelines.

srose
05-31-2009, 09:41 PM
My first manuscript was so over-inflated that I merely paused at 134,000 words to see if I was anywhere near close enough to having a novel...such was my ignorance of length at the time. I have found enough material in that original draft to create an entire mini-series!! LOL:) It's good to find out ahead of time...

QFT - I finished my YA novel at 140,000 words and was worried it was too short.

...

I had an agent tell me to bring it to 110k. I cut it down to 130 and that was the most I could do with out spoiling the story. I did tell her I'd be willing to listen to her and a professional editors idea's on what to cut, but I was too close to the story to be subjective.

Regardless, it seems it won't matter in the end - I've had excellent luck, despite it's length.

LC030308
06-02-2009, 02:58 PM
My first published novel was approximately 88000 words... (Came out to 308 pages in trade paperback.)

Swordswoman
06-02-2009, 04:28 PM
I would think however many a writer needs to complete the story?

Bless...

As Mephistopholes says to Faustus 'Think so still, till experience change thy mind...'

You ought to be right, brainstorm. I wish to God you were...

Louise

storylady
06-08-2009, 07:16 PM
I have often asked myself this question as well. How many pages should a novel be? Everyone on this forum are so informative & even though I've only been here for a short time, I have learned so much already. Thank you for asking this question & thanks to all who gave such great answers. You all ROCK!