Everyone worries about word count. Whether you’re writing a first draft, trying to reach a daily goal, or revising, you’re probably worrying about your word count.
When You Shouldn’t Worry about Word Count:
- Writing your first draft. All first drafts suck. Everyone can cut from their first draft, taking away thousands of words at a time. Don’t worry about your word count during this stage.
- Reaching a daily goal. It doesn’t matter how much you write in a day. Some days you may write two thousand words and some days you may write five hundred. I’ve gone from zero one day to five thousand or more the next. Having a daily goal is fine, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t reach it every day.
- Writing chapters. Some chapters are one page long. Some are fifty. While different age groups have different chapter lengths (usually to keep the reader’s attention), you shouldn’t worry about chapter length. You can fix this later by splitting up scenes in to chapters.
When You Should Worry about Word Count:
- Final Revisions. Different genres have different word count boundaries, and for good reason. Knowing your genre is a must, and the word count for that genre comes along with it (unless you’re a famous author or a celebrity). Do all you can during your final revisions to get the word count within range.
- NaNoWriMo. You don’t have to worry too much about this, but the winners get some pretty good deals on writing software.
- Contests. There are contests for several genres, but those have word count limits. These word counts are often within the short story range, sometimes in the novellete range. Don’t go over these word counts. The judges will not make exceptions no matter how good your story is.
How to Lower your Word Count
- Adverbs. Writers don’t often realize how many adverbs they use. Using the “find” feature on Microsoft Word can really help with finding all these adverbs. Delete them. If you can’t delete them, rewrite the sentence. That can also get your word count down.
- Unnecessary Words. Words like to, through, under, at, onto, into, under, up, and down can often be omitted and the sentence will still work. Instead of saying She entered the room through the door say She entered the room or instead of saying the cat jumped up onto the bed say the cat jumped on the bed. Other unnecessary words include: adjective, articles, and pronouns.
- Scenes, Dialogue, and Information. Get rid of anything that is not needed. If a scene, a piece of dialogue, or some information does nothing to help plot or character development, get rid of it. I don’t care how much you love it.
- Redundant Phrases. Odds are you’ll find some redundant phrases in your writing. A big one in query letters is “fiction novel”.
- Transitional Phrases. Your high school English teacher probably pressed you to use these, but skip them in creative writing. Don’t use them in dialogue either, unless it fits the character’s personality (like the tenth doctor from Doctor Who, who often used “well” at the beginning of his sentences).
- Description. Don’t over do the description. No one cares what the store clerk looks like or what color your protagonist’s brother’s room is.
- Active Voice. Writing in active voice cuts down your word count a lot…if you weren’t doing that already.
- Dialogue Tags. Not every line of dialogue needs a tag or an explanation of the character’s action. Their words alone can give off a tone and the reader will be able to pick up possible body language and facial expressions.
How to Raise your Word Count
- Subplots.Add subplots. These help flesh out your characters and your world. It gives more opportunity to introduce new ideas and relationships between characters. Here is a subplot resource post.
- Introduce a New Character. But this character has to be relevant. This character may come along with a new subplot or even the main plot. Odds are, they’ll add a few thousand words.
- More Conflict. Raise the stakes for your character. Make them take a wrong turn (literally or figuratively). This will add more relevant scenes and keep your reader interested…as long as it’s interesting.
- Add Description. I know I said to cut description, but some of it can be helpful. Put your reader in your character’s place. Use all five senses, not just sight.
- Revise. You may find plot holes or missing information. You may even add a scene for clarity.
Word Counts* by Genre:
- Adult: 75k - 95k
- General Sci-fi: 100k - 115k
- Hard Sci-fi: 90k - 110k
- General Fantasy: 100k - 11k
- Epic Fantasy: 90k - 120k
- Contemporary Fantasy: 90k - 120k
- Urban Fantasy: 90k - 100k
- Paranormal Romance: 85k - 100k
- Romance: 85k - 100k
- Horror: 80k - 100k
- Mystery/Crime/Thriller: 75k - 90k
- Middle Grade: 25k - 40k
- Fantasy/Sci-fi Middle Grade: 45k - 65k
- Upper Middle Grade: 35k - 45k
- Young Adult: 50k - 80k
- Picture Book: 300 - 1k
- For All Debut Authors: Try not to exceed 100k
*There are exceptions to word count. These are just guidelines.
I could get new glasses for 80€, examination included ;~;
I’m gonna be ok financially over the summer I’m cry ;~;
little sis having temper tantrum over ice cream and i’m not taking this well.
During last year’s discussion we rattled off a handful of gay and lesbian characters in our company’s various works—yes, Rufus and Burnie did come up (http://gaygamer.net/2007/03/top_10_gayest_tabletop_charact_9.html)—after which someone asked the panel about transgender characters.
Awkward comments about girdles and curses and mimics.
Between Joe, Jeremy, Steve Kenson, and myself—lifetime gamers each—we had nothing. But we acknowledged that we can do better than that. Already I’m preparing for this year’s seminar and already I’m planning to bring that topic back up with at least three examples from the interim year of Paizo products that have included positive portrayals of transgender characters.
That’s not for me, that’s not for some mythical GLBTQ agenda, that’s because a gamer at a convention told me she’d like to see a character she could relate to in our games. She wanted someone like her to slay monsters, cast magic, and be a hero.
No problem. I can do that. After all, that’s what Pathfinder is all about.
F. Wesley Schneider, Editor-in-Chief for the Pathfinder RPG, on including trans* characters in the game’s official setting.
Among other things, this has led to the creation of the genderfluid Arshea, Empyreal Lord (basically an Archangel) of freedom, physical beauty, and sexuality, champion of the repressed and oppressed. Arshea’s devotees spend a period of time living as the opposite gender during their religious training, and at the end, they are “encouraged to live their life as a member of whichever gender they feel they most identify with” (x).
This is very very cool, and a positive attitude to have about having good and diverse representation so all sorts of different people can see themselves in your stories, and as your heroes. :)
I wanted to share this because it’s about a company understanding the importance of diverse representation (especially of strong, heroic characters) to marginalized people who, like everybody else, want to be able to see themselves in your world, living their power fantasies.
“I don’t much care for alienation and exclusion behaviour in the human species, you are, after all, of the same kin, why should minute differences, or quite obvious differences between you cause the ostracization of the uncommon few?” their head tilted to the side in question as they regarded the human sitting opposite. with a smooth whirr and a few clicks their previous almost human like appearance shifted into their synthetic base, the small lights from circuits working in processing blinking and the effortless click-click-click of the tiny metal cogs driving the finest motor functions bared for all to see, there were cords and wires branching off just like the nervous and vascular system of any biologic creation.
Prot lost their train of thought as they observed the crystal clear shape of UU mass get transported from the storage unit in the android’s chest into the energy converter. They remembered the extensive lessons they had in anatomy and how the biologic body worked and supported itself with the coordinated function of multiple organs, each with their own specific function and how they were connected with each other through nervous networks and by substance exchange. Like the biologic body the synthetic one needed multiple devices with specific functions in order to operate smoothly, they all needed information to and from each other, they were all dependant on the other, like how if one organ would cease to function, both the biologic and the synthetic body would slowly wither away and ultimately die unless it was replaced.
They were all just machines.
“I didn’t know the philosophy of human social interaction was something an android was interested in, you are not like us, ” Prot crossed their arms and avoided visual contact, choosing instead to inspect their arm.
“I may not be made of the same base components as you, however I am still my own person, my thoughts and my ideals, my ethics and my morals, my integrity sense of self are unique only to me and no one else. I am a sentient being of another species than your own and according to multiple of your religious beliefs we’re both made in the image of our creator. Though I have the fortune, or maybe I should say misfortune, of being able to interact with mine.”
Prot felt the stain of guilt heat their cheeks, it was disconcerting to realize they’d done wrong, they were supposed to know better, they did know better, but somehow, despite everything that had happened, they were still a Child in many ways.
“I’m sorry, I invalidated your person hood, which was wrong of me, I can’t… I’m… I’m sorry,” Prot bowed their head deep in apology and remorse, “I hope we can continue our sessions, though I understand if you wouldn’t want to.”
The android studied the human for what felt like a very drawn out moment for Prot before standing up, their human-like skin once more in place.
“Tomorrow at 1400, outside the main building,” they turned towards the exit, walking out with a quick and efficient pace
i’m a bit meh on this, any thoughts?