The Size of Your Imagination

This is the second blog on my ongoing thoughts on writing a novel. I am by no means an expert, but I write this for those people who are looking for help or inspiration to kick start their writing. If you find one item that is useful, then I know it was worth it.

-Lucas

The Dream Taking Form

So you finally have your thought, your idea for the novel you have always wanted to write. What now? Well, now you need to give shape to your idea. But where do you start? Personally, I would suggest figuring out what form you want your story to come. There are many ways to present your story and really only you can decide which format to use to tell the story you have in mind. A general guideline (taken from Wikipedia) outlines story length so you know what to shoot for when plotting out your story. This is also important as your future editor and publisher look for specific word count ranges before deciding to publish your work.

Classification Word count
Novel over 40,000 words
Novella 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novelette 7,500 to 17,500 words
Short story under 7,500 words
Flash Story under 1,000 words

Once you have figured out the format for your story, you need to figure out what the industry norm is for your genre. While it is true that novels and stories can and do go outside these word count ranges, it isn’t recommended for new authors to do so. Publishers don’t know who you are and don’t know how well you write or if your work will sell. To drop a War & Peace sized novel on someone’s desk will only quickly get you moved to the trashcan. Check below for average word count ranges broken down by genre

  • Middle Grade Fiction = 25k to 40k
  • Young Adult fiction = 45k to 80k
  • Paranormal Romance = 85k to 100k
  • Romance = 85k to 100k
  • Category Romance = 55k to 75k
  • Cozy Mysteries = 65k to 90k
  • Horror = 80k to 100k
  • Western = 80k to 100k
  • Light Paranormal Mystery = 75k to 90k.
  • Mainstream Thrillers = 80k to 100k
  • Hard Science Fiction = 90k to 110k
  • Space Opera = 90k to 120k
  • Epic/High/Traditional/Historical fantasy = 90k to 120k
  • Contemporary Fantasy = 90k to 100k
  • Romantic Science Fiction = 85k to 100k
  • Urban Fantasy = 90k to 100k
  • New Weird = 85k to 110k
  • Slipstream = 80k to 100k
  • Comic Fantasy = 80k to 100k
  • Everything Else = 90k to 100k

So now you know what editors and publishers will be looking for in terms of length. Again, nothing says you have to stick with these word count ranges, many authors go outside these ranges. Remember though, those authors typically started at a normal range and expanded beyond it once they were published. So don’t try to be the exception, stick with what they are looking for and you will have a better time finding someone to publish your work.

Next time we will delve into the depths of fleshing out your idea so that you are ready to write that awesome novel you have in mind.

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