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Genres & Age Categories => Historical Fiction => Topic started by: Leandra on February 25, 2014, 07:58 PM

Title: Historical word count
Post by: Leandra on February 25, 2014, 07:58 PM
Does anyone know what the 'acceptable' word count for a YA historical fantasy would be? I thought I'd read somewhere once that historical fiction can get away w/being a bit longer. I finished mine at 106k hacked it down to 97 and then w/more revisions that were needed, the word count has crept back up to 101. I'm going through now and culling unnecessary words, but as for taking out large chunks or scenes that aren't needed, I can't, else things won't start making sense.  :(  Thanks!
Title: Re: Historical word count
Post by: xiaotien on February 25, 2014, 08:20 PM
hi leandra, i think many agents think
100k is crossing the line for YA. as it were,
i queried Silver Phoenix (a faux historical fantasy =)
at 94k, and that was not an issue. i think agents
vary--but to be safe, i'd try and keep it in the 90s
range if at all possible?

good luck!
Title: Re: Historical word count
Post by: Leandra on February 26, 2014, 05:00 AM
Thanks, xiaotien! I scrolled and scrolled last night(and scrolled some more!) and I think I found a scene I can axe- though dang it, it's killing me to do it!  :sigh Oh, well, it's all for the greater good, right?  ::-)
Title: Re: Historical word count
Post by: mrh on February 26, 2014, 06:53 AM
Here's literaticat's word count blog post, which I have bookmarked:


http://literaticat.blogspot.com/2011/05/wordcount-dracula.html


She does state here what I've understood to be the standard wisdom: Try not to break that 100K mark.


Both historical and fantasy often call for longer lengths because of the world-building you must do. It's not that you *can't* publish at 100K+, but it's a danger zone. I agree with xiaotien that I'd try to keep it in the 90s.

Title: Re: Historical word count
Post by: Marissa Doyle on February 26, 2014, 07:01 AM
Leandra, can you let it sit for at least a month and not look at it? Giving yourself some distance and then going back with an eye to trimming can work wonders.

That being said, my YA historical fantasies have all clocked in at aroud 95K.
Title: Re: Historical word count
Post by: Leandra on February 26, 2014, 09:15 AM
Thanks for the link, Marcia! And good advice, Marissa- I am absolutely determined to not send a query letter w/my word count over 100K.  :crossedfingers 
Title: Re: Historical word count
Post by: xiaotien on March 04, 2014, 12:25 PM
leandra, this is what happened to
Silver Phoenix. it was at 98k and i did
one more revision and pared it down to 94k
when i queried agents. i was quite proud
of that too! when it sold and i
worked with my editor, my final word count
was 79k and and we had *deepened* and
added to the story. she did a lot of slashing at
the beginning and end of scenes, and was like:
you don't need this. =O

it was eyeopening to say the least.

so if you have the patience, it might be you
can go through your ms and not cut an entire scene,
but whittle away some trimming that isn't needed.

good luck!!
Title: Re: Historical word count
Post by: Leandra on March 05, 2014, 10:32 AM
Thanks, xiaotien! It's good to know that a book that was as large as mine can be pared down to 79k. And I will so take that good luck.  :)