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Great Word Count Overview by Genre

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Our friend Literaticat has posted a really helpful overview of typical word counts by genre over at her blog:

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

Seems especially helpful for those Blueboarders who are just beginning this journey, and trying to figure out where or how well their story fits into the kidlit categories.

 :hedgehog :hedgehog :hedgehog :hedgehog :hedgehog :hedgehog :hedgehog :hedgehog :waiting
#1 - May 16, 2011, 07:34 AM
« Last Edit: June 01, 2011, 01:06 PM by Amanda Coppedge »
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Thank you for the link, really informative :)
#2 - May 16, 2011, 08:21 AM

Saul Tanpepper

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This is great, eecoburn. Thanks for linking to it. Word counts seem to be the one consideration many noobs forget (often erring by writing 100K++ novels). Yikes. I love how she broke down MG and YA to realistic vs fantasy and also provides ranges and sweet spots.
#3 - May 16, 2011, 09:36 AM

stacebee

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Thanks for posting this !
#4 - June 17, 2011, 05:13 PM

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Yep, I've seen that, and it's a good resource.
#5 - June 17, 2011, 06:39 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
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Literaticat to the Clarification Zone, again!
#6 - June 18, 2011, 09:50 AM
« Last Edit: June 18, 2011, 09:58 AM by 217mom »
THE VOICE OF THUNDER, WiDo Publishing Aug 2012
THERE'S A TURKEY AT THE DOOR, Hometown520 July 2011

www.mirkabreen.com
http://mirkabreen.BlogSpot.com

A good article. Thanks for posting.
#7 - June 18, 2011, 11:23 AM

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I've seen this before, but thanks for the reminder. I copied and pasted it into my files.

#8 - June 18, 2011, 01:31 PM

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Thank you for the link! I have been focused so long on writing for magazines that I had forgotten what words counts looked like for novels. Actually, I don't think I ever knew there was such a range in word count.

As part of the National Writing Project this past month, I wrote a story that my group encouraged me to think about in terms of a chapter book. When I revisited the link after their comments, I decided that goal was actually within reach. :ladder

Yay! My new project for next year is a chapter book.
#9 - July 06, 2011, 05:46 PM

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I love chapter books! Good luck with your new project! :goodluck
#10 - July 06, 2011, 07:11 PM
FIVE SHORT SECONDS
SAYA AT SPEED
RULES OF THE GAME
TEST CASES
TWISTER RESISTERS
CRASH COURSE
Heinemann, Fall 2013

Brenda Z

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Thanks for the great link...   :thankyou
#11 - August 02, 2011, 05:53 PM

mswatkins

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 :thankyou
#12 - August 03, 2011, 04:43 AM

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A great link. I appreciate how Literaticat lists examples in each genre.

#13 - August 03, 2011, 09:28 AM

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Thanks for the timely post--a friend of mine (like me, a writer of scripts for young audiences) just read me the (funny) first chapter of his first realistic MG novel. After I applauded, he told me the entire ms is 21K. I didn't say anything at the time, because I wasn't sure of my ground. The next morning, I spotted this post and sent him the link....
#14 - August 04, 2011, 06:17 AM

licensedsunshine

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At a recent SCBWI conference, an editor told us that 500-700 words is great to work with, but use all the words it takes to tell the story. And lower numbers are the trend now. Hope that's helpful!
#15 - January 29, 2013, 08:04 PM

licensedsunshine

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I should have mentioned that she was talking about PBs.
#16 - January 29, 2013, 08:04 PM

megsml

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 :grin3 Thank you, thank you! I have been looking for such a list of genres and their respective word counts for so long!!!!!
#17 - September 20, 2013, 12:38 PM

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Thanks for posting this
#18 - March 25, 2014, 02:01 AM

Looks like my "Sisters" WIP is right on the borderline between the top recommended length for Realistic MG and the bottom recommended length for Realistic YA. :yup

 
#19 - March 25, 2014, 02:47 PM
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Just don't hurt nobody, 'less of course they ask you."

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Great link. Thank you so much! I just managed to cut my PB MS from 915 to 585 words, today. I'm not in that sweet spot yet, though...
#20 - March 25, 2014, 04:12 PM

It says 25,000 words is the lower limit for realistic middle grade, and it says 35,000 words is the lower limit for fantasy middle grade.

What if your project is somewhere in the middle like magic realism? Would this fall under fantasy?
#21 - May 29, 2014, 12:35 PM

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Here's an editor's perspective on word count, from Elizabeth Law: http://www.elawreads.com/blog/2014/6/3/the-question-of-word-count-let-it-go-let-it-go
#22 - June 07, 2014, 01:34 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
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I like this perspective. It's all about pacing and feel.
#23 - June 09, 2014, 03:05 PM

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Literaticat's perspective, as a agent i.e. seller, is enormously helpful and grounding. But of course it's important not to lose sight of the main event here- good story telling.
The first time I struggled with word count I felt like a bean counter, not a writer. I have since left the numbers behind, and use such only as a rough gauge. I think both posts- the editor's and even the agent's- are saying it should be a rough guide and not a rule.
#24 - June 10, 2014, 07:35 AM
THE VOICE OF THUNDER, WiDo Publishing Aug 2012
THERE'S A TURKEY AT THE DOOR, Hometown520 July 2011

www.mirkabreen.com
http://mirkabreen.BlogSpot.com

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Excellent article! Truly useful information! Thank you so much for sharing!  :love5 :flowers2 :thankyou
#25 - August 12, 2015, 07:05 AM

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Quick question about word count: when I do this in Open Office (because I'm too cheap to buy MS Word), it counts every bit of text between two spaces (includes single letters, articles, etc.). I seem to remember from some writing class long ago that literary word count excludes things like articles and is only "major words". When I list word count for potential publishers, which is it? Thanks!
#26 - November 06, 2015, 12:26 PM

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Every word, Janna. Only the title and byline do not count.
Vijaya
#27 - November 06, 2015, 01:23 PM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 40 books and 60 magazine pieces

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Thanks! (I was hoping for an easy answer for shaving 40 words off a PB ms to get it to fit under the 900 word recommendation, oh well, sigh...) Rolling up the sleeves some more!

Janna
#28 - November 06, 2015, 05:58 PM

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Happy pruning. You probably already know this but here are a couple of reminders:
Look for adverbs and adjectives. Replace with strong verbs and specific nouns.
Also, look for the continuing tense and use the simple tense.

Ex: He was walking vs. He walked.  He was walking slowly vs. He ambled.

You can do this! And your story will be better.
Good luck, Vijaya
#29 - November 06, 2015, 06:27 PM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
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Thanks Vijaya! The encouragement and tips are much appreciated!!
#30 - November 06, 2015, 07:35 PM

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