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20

I tend to think of chapters as the 'beat' or 'rhythm' to the book. I'm not sure that there's a right or wrong answer to the question - it just depends on what you want for a particular story. A faster paced story probably won't have quite so long of chapters (though that's not necessarily true, but I've often found it to be the case), while slower paced ...


15

It varies a lot - and by type of writing. I can do casual non-fiction writing fairly quickly, but more structured or formal work takes me longer (not just in the editing, but in the actual writing process). The professional writers I know point out that burning out is a bad thing (as above: 1000 words each day - or even 250 words a day - is a lot better ...


14

Slow and steady wins the race. Cliché's out the way (although I do think it's true), one of the things I find with writing is that you should always stick to what you're comfortable with, unless you're finding it detrimental to your writing. So, if you're doing 250 words/hour, and feel that's too slow, then I would suggest you set yourself an easy target. ...


14

Put it away for a while. Long enough to not have it in mind to the level of daily obsession any more. Then, dig it out and look through it. You may find that magically somebody has replaced all of your rich, description, amazing detailed characterisation, fascinating dialogue and lushly abundant prose with stuff that is a bit thin, doesn't always make sense ...


14

Do you really want to bloat a chapter just to meet an arbitrary quota? Besides that, till you haven't finished the book, you cannot tell how many words a chapter will have. Because you will rearrange, rewrite, and (most important) delete unnecessary stuff. So don't sweat it, start a new chapter, keep writing and drop a quota for chapters. If your story is ...


12

It is feasible to count the number of words in a published chapter: count the number of words in several lines, count the number of lines per page, count the number of pages in the chapter, and multiply. You won't get exact, but you're wondering whether 3-5K is reasonable, so you don't need exact. Try it on some books with chapter lengths you like, and ...


12

The standard initial market for a short story is a literary magazine. Famous examples include The New Yorker for literary fiction and poetry. For science fiction and fantasy genres, notable options include Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov's, and others. As a general rule more prestigious magazines are able to be more choosy on what they end up ...


11

Why does it matter, if your word count is 50 or 500 after a rewrite? You should ask yourself, why do you want to count your words. If you use the number to motivate yourself ("Look, I wrote 100 words. What a good day!"), then count the rewrites. If you need the number to show someone your progress (like your publisher who pays you to finish the book), then ...


11

Composition rule #13: Omit needless words. Whereas Strunk was referring to sentence structure, I believe this applies to overall word count. Adding content in a story just to make it bigger is literary bra stuffing. Keep in mind that "Of Mice and Men" is commonly published at around 100 pages and it stands as one of Steinbeck's more potent works. However, ...


10

Go through it and work with description. Find places where your description of things (the settings, a character's look, how someone is feeling, etc.) are weak and strengthen them. Action descriptions: "She ran down the street to get away from him." could be replaced with "Her breath was labored as she sprint down Main Street. Every couple steps she glanced ...


10

While I don't think those NanoWriMo tricks are good -- just trying to increase word counts -- I think there is something you can take away from NaNoWriMo: just write. Don't stop to edit yourself. Sit down with a kitchen timer, or the timer on your iPhone and set it for say, 20 minutes. Start writing and don't stop until that timer dings. Will this first ...


9

An apocryphal story about Joyce A friend once found him sprawled across his desk, a figure of utter despair. "How many words have you written today?" he asked him. "Seven," the great man answered. "But that’s good for you, isn’t it?" "I suppose so," Joyce answered. "It’s just that I don’t know what order they go in." Copied from here I think ...


8

If "100k" and "50k" are word-counts (and in this context, that's certainly what I'd expect), that's "novella" (for ~50k words) up to "novel-length" (at 100k words). According to FictionFactor's word-count page, a "short story" is typically between 1000 and 7500 words, "novel" spans the 50k to 110k word span and novellas clock in at the 20k to 50k word mark. ...


8

Follow these steps: Something different: Help me find the unnecessary words. They will help you to find unnecessary words/sections and get rid of them. I reduced the word count of my novel by ten percent with these steps.


8

On the one hand a story is a story, putting more words in it doesn't make it more the story it just makes it the story with a bunch of extra verbiage growing over it like ivy up a wall or mould on cheese. On the other, if you have this terrible feeling that the bit of the story you've told is too light or unfinished then maybe it is. The problem is that, ...


8

An easy, highly variable way: Pick up a book that is formatted approximately as you think yours might be. Pick five random pages in the book. Do not involve your eyes in picking the pages. Count the number of words per page, and compute the mean. Divide your word count by that mean. A more reliable way, involving somewhat more work: Pick up a book that ...


7

According to Colleen Lindsay (former agent), a middle grade novel has on average 35K words. http://theswivet.blogspot.com/2008/03/on-word-counts-and-novel-length.html


7

There are a lot of different ways you can overcome a lack of motivation, here are a few that I've come up with. Write somewhere outside of your usual places. This can be a coffee shop or a home office, but it has to be the sort of place you don't do other things at. The idea is to take you out of the familiar places where you can fall back into the usual ...


7

For a novel, memoir, or literary essay Compress your description. Take the most pertinent details, the most stand-out images, and use only those. Remove all other description. Consider whether each sentence, each detail, is critical to plot or character development. Make sure each scene or paragraph is advancing your purpose, whether it is a fast-paced ...


7

Even at 50k-70k words, you would still have a pretty short novel in your hands and there is nothing wrong with that. If your novel is 30k words of pure literary bliss, adding anything to it is probably going to be a step backward. If it still needs work, you have to ask yourself whether it's because of the length, because it probably isn't. My best ...


7

I agree with Shan--while the word limit for fantasy is usually more elastic, you are a debut author, and a huge word count is not going to make for an easy sale. That said, a lot of the fantasy submissions I see are not long enough. Paranormal and fantasy novels, nine times out of ten, require more world building and exploration than a shorter novel can ...


6

I think that strongly depends on the what the author likes. One novel of Stephen King (can't remember the name at the moment) has no chapters at all. My mother - who always reads to chapter-ends - was half through the book as she noticed it. I do completely ignore chapters if I read. I use a book mark to remember where I was, but stop reading also in the ...


6

It depends. Personally, I aim for one to two thousand words a day. I know of one professional writer who goes for three thousand words a day (but, as she pointed out to me, this is her day job).


6

First of all, you should check and see if they have any guidelines posted that will help you to be certain that you stay within their listed range. If they don't have anything listed, then you could send them an inquiry to try to find out. Generally, the word count would not include the title page, if you have one. Words used in tables or graphs, ...


5

This may be an extremely subjective answer, but i find it easiest to get a chapter or two done, rather than a word count. It means there is a complete section to get a family member to read over, and if there is spare time in my sitting, i can go through and edit it. If you don't finish the chapter, just try finishing it (and the next chapter) the next day! ...


5

I have a tendency to write short chapters (1k-3k words) Then there's your answer. Most writers would love to have a naturally-occurring tendency of any kind other than sucking. You describe a process of struggle and literary engineering in which you attempt to subvert your own natural way of writing. Just reading the question is almost painful. Why are ...


5

For novels in general, the accepted word count is 70-80,000 words. For fantasy novels, you are allowed to go slightly above this limit, but unless you are an established author, I don't recommend going too far above. I would limit the book at 100,000 words to be safe. That said, I usually find it hard to even reach the lower limit, and looking at the ...


5

The answer to this question is simple: there is no minimum recommended length. Write the best damn story you can possibly write, regardless of length. Put every ounce of blood, sweat and tears into it. Forget to eat, lose sleep, neglect your family — truly immerse yourself into the book. Then you edit, re-edit and maybe edit some more until you are left ...


4

I find this a lot with projects I work on, and not necessarily just novels. I have this problem when starting software projects, websites, pretty much anything creative. Usually, the problem I have, is that I just don't know where to start, and that is because I don't have a plan. If I sit down and properly think about what I am trying to achieve in the ...


4

If I have other things on my mind, I force myself to write two sentences before getting up from the computer/writing desk/typewriter. At least half the time, two sentences is enough to get me into some sort of rhythm. Also, I do a variation of the 10/2/5 rule (work/write 10 minutes, do something anything else for two, repeat 5 times to total an hour, take ...



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