Figuring out the word count before writing a story is an essential step that can help a writer in many ways. First and foremost, knowing the approximate word count for the story can give the writer a sense of the story’s scope and structure. This knowledge can help a writer plan the plot, pacing, and character development in a more effective way. Additionally, understanding the word count can also help a writer to target the appropriate age group or genre, as different genres or age groups have different expectations for word count.
Moreover, many publishers have specific guidelines for word count within each genre, so knowing the approximate word count can help a writer to tailor their manuscript to meet those requirements. Ultimately, having a clear sense of the word count can save a writer time and effort in the long run, by helping to ensure that the story fits the appropriate market and is as polished and effective as possible.
The suggested word counts for books can vary depending on several factors, including the genre, intended age group, and publishing industry standards. Here are some general guidelines:
- Romance: Usually between 50,000 to 100,000 words.
- Science fiction and fantasy: Typically between 80,000 to 120,000 words, although epic fantasy novels can be much longer.
- Mystery and thriller: Generally between 70,000 to 90,000 words.
- Literary fiction: Can vary widely, but often between 70,000 to 100,000 words.
- Historical fiction: Usually between 80,000 to 120,000 words, depending on the scope and complexity of the historical period.
- Young adult: Usually between 50,000 to 80,000 words.
- Children’s books: As mentioned in the previous answer, picture books usually have fewer than 1000 words, early readers have word counts of 1000-3000 words, and chapter books typically have word counts of 5000-10,000 words.
- Picture books: typically contain fewer than 1000 words, with most falling between 500-700 words.
- Early readers: usually have word counts of 1000-3000 words, with the upper limit sometimes reaching 5000 words.
- Chapter books: generally have word counts of 5000-10,000 words, with some extending to 15,000 words.
- Middle grade books: usually have word counts of 20,000-50,000 words, with some reaching up to 75,000 words.
- Young adult books: typically range from 50,000-90,000 words, with some exceeding 100,000 words.
It’s worth noting that these are general guidelines and there can be exceptions to each category. Additionally, different publishers and literary agents may have their own specific guidelines for word counts for each type of book. Ultimately, the most important factor is telling a great story that engages the reader, regardless of the word count.
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