Monday, February 15, 2010

Does word count matter?...possible snipit? and-- of course-- contests

I opened my blog, looked at my awesome followers list and --what-- is that 40 followers--holy crow! You guys rock! I hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day! I spent time with my family and ate lots of chocolate.

Contest Update!

Catch the contest on Beautiful Chaos. Michelle is giving away a signed copy of her book Eldala.  It looks really good.  I think I will be picking up a copy :)

Thank you to Steena at Chocolate Reality for her contest--I won the book Thin Places by Mary DeMuth!

Now onto my post--

My first question is about word count.  Does this matter when submitting?  Why I am worried about this now is silly but I have been thinking about it.  I saw a post reagarding how some editors may not even look at your manuscript if it has more than a certain amount of wordage--especially a debut.  I read that a debut should have 50,000 words or less.  Is this true?  I am quickly approaching 85,000.  I know this most likely will change as I revise but I don't think I could have less than 70,000 to tell my story. 

Does anyone have any experience with this?

My other question--I missed the love at first sight blogfest:( I did want to post another scene from my WIP --a happier one.  So, should I post a cute love scene or steamy.  I am still a bundle of nerves with posting this but thought I would post one more before I start revising--well-- I have to finish it. I still am having a hard time with the last chapter.  Yes --Kelly I will get it to you:) 

I hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day:)

21 comments:

  1. Congratulations on getting 40 followers! Now you can shoot for 50 lol!

    Word count-- around 80,000 is good but better not go over that. 50,000 is pretty short, although not for some YA fiction. 60,000- 70,000 is about average. Word count over 80,000 especially for a first novel looks like you didn't revise enough. Unless you're writing adult fantasy, then it's a whole different thing. Hope that helps.

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  2. I agree with what Karen said, but there's also an important point to make about using up the amount of words it takes to tell your story. Sure, revising will knock chunks out of your story, global warming style and before you know it a chunk the size Delaware will be floating on by you. But if after your revisions you still think you have a lot of words, that can be okay, if it's what your story needs. Crit group will help a lot with this. I am beginning a rewrite of a YA, so I would like to be in your group. Email me: jonarntson AT gmail DOT com

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  3. thanks for mentioning my contests.

    as for what to post, cute or steamy, i can understand your hesitation. i argue with myself over that all the time. i write short stories that have steamy scenes and don't know if i can ever share them.

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  4. Christine, I would definitely check the word count guidelines for YA, if that's what you write. There are general limits "out there." Perhaps check the sights of some of the more popular agents that represent YA. They usually have posts that give the word counts that are most acceptable today.

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  5. Different genres do generally fall within different wordcounts. To keep your work favorable with agents, I'd research your genre and try to stay within the general parameters.

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  6. Hey I finally found your blog! Now I'm your 41 follower! Your blog is beautiful, thanks for visiting mine :) I'm thinking about starting one just for my writing. . . I am new to writing and only have about 25,000 words on my first YA, it is a love story with a bit of fantasy. I really love to meet new writers and talk about writing, it is quickly becoming an obsession of mine. Nice to meet you!

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  7. Karen-Thanks! I know I have a long way to go plus I have to chop and all the other stuff that goes along with it. I just wanted to get an idea.
    Jonathon- I will email you --Thanks!
    Michelle- I missed the blogfest so I thought I might post something. The problem is when I read other bloggers work-- I get cold feet. My WIP is in the early stages so I am sure I will think my first draft is crap when I am finished. :)
    Jody, Thanks! I will look at the details when I finally send my baby out.
    Joanne-Thanks! Any bit of advice is helpful. After I posted this I thought it may be a silly question. Oh well! I am learning.
    Crystal-Thanks for stopping by and I will be checking back on your site to see how you progress. Your artwork is beautiful.

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  8. Have you read GRACELING? There's no way that book was under 50k.

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  9. I've never really thought about word count too much. Only that I didn't want to go over 80,000- don't think I will. I'm at 73,000 and am cutting. Your WIP will be fine. Can't wait to read it!

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  10. 50K seems awfully low...what genre was that for?
    For YA, I would definitely keep it below 90K if it's paranormal/fantasy (though less than 80K is probably better), but for nonfantasy, I think the standard is 70K. But you're right, word count is important. Many agents won't even look at it if it's over a certain amount.

    Congrats on winning!!

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  11. Woooo! 41 followers and counting! :) Awesome. I had this dream where I woke up and checked my blog and I had 61 followers. So that it my current goal, LOL. I'm not really counting. You're right, it can be a distraction. :)

    I think your question is very legit for first time novelists like you, me, and lots of other people blogging about this whole process. When you're focused on writing a first draft for the first time, word count is not necessarily foremost on your mind, although you may be checking in. It's exactly at the stage where you are, first round of revision, where I would become more concerned about word count, too. I have heard different answers from different places so I didn't have a definite "goal" number in my head, either. These responses have been helpful.

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  12. Congrats on your followers! I always get so excited when I see I've got a new one :)I think your word count will be fine as long as it doesn't get too long. I've heard agents will toss it if it's longer than 90,000. I wouldn't worry though, I cut tons when I was editing. I was way nervous about posting stuff at first too. I found it was easier when I wrote something from my life for fun and posted it first. Besides, everyone is really nice on here so you won't have to worry about someone being mean. Good luck!!

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  13. I sent a short story once and it was 100 words over and they sent it back saying their word count was x amount of words. I don't normally send the wrong word count, don't know why I did. But word count counted in that case.

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  14. Christine, Sorry I thought I was already a follower.

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  15. I was wondering if you had room in your critique group for me? You can email me at crystalcookart@live.com Thanks Christine!

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  16. I know the answer to this... anything under 50,000 (YA) is too short!!! Anything over 100,000 is too long! Try to keep it in the 80,000 area and you'll be good to go. Good luck!!!

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  17. Bethany is one smart cookie! Our manuscript was up to 86,000 words and our editor wants it to be around 70,000 words by the time we're finished up with edits. He's said that booksellers are pushing back on bloated YA manuscripts. But Bethany is right on the money, agents and editors won't bat an eyelash at a YA manuscript as long as it's under 100,000 words. Good luck!

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  18. It realy depends on what you're writing.
    YA and MG books tend to be shorter in that 40-60K range, but there's always exceptions.
    Check out the publisher's gudielines.

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  19. I do agree that genres differ, and for YA, I heard at a writer's conference this last week that 80,000 is about as high as editors like to go. (Always follow any guidelines you receive, however.) I'm looking forward to the next installment of your story.

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  20. Thanks for all your feedback. It is so nice to get so many responses. Thanks!

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  21. Use all the words you need to tell the story, no more, no less.

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