Saturday, March 5, 2016

Dreaded Word Count

As writers or aspiring writers we face the reality of word counts. In my coming soon, comedy mystery, Wine, Friends and Murder. I received the contract based on my query letter and synopsis. I was asked how long it would take me to write the novel. Since I already had it started and knew where the characters were headed I asked for six months. I based my decision on what I thought they wanted to hear. What am I an idiot?

The contract called for a minimum of 60,000 words. On my time crunch, I developed an obsession with the word count function. I'd write three words and click the word count. I waited for divine intervention as if now I'd have an additional five-thousand words. When I complained to my non-writer husband about reaching my word count on time, he suggested I add a character with a speech impediment of a stutter. Real helpful, Honey.

I work full-time, I have a family and life gets in the way. I certainly didn't plan on being in a car accident and not being able to sit at my computer and work as usual. If I had to do it over again I would ask for a more realistic time frame.

It is always better to let your creativity flow without concentrating on the word count but in our business of writing there are guidelines to follow. A submission for a Chicken Soup may call for 1,000 to 1,200 words. You might have to write and wrap up an entire mystery or love story in 1,200 to 1,500 words. If you can't follow individual guidelines, you won't be published. Each publisher or agent may have a different guideline, so do your research to where you are submitting.

Here are a few guidelines to think about:

Novel: Minimum 50,000 – 80,000
Middle Grade: 20,000 – 55,000
Tween: 40,000 – 55,000
Young Adult: 55,000 – 69,000
Picture Book: 32 pages or 350 – 600

When you're not on a crunch back away from the word count feature and write.

I'm author Victoria Roder and I write something for everyone. If you like murder mystery check out Bolt Action. Ghost Stories? You'll love Haunting of Ingersull Penitentiary. Have children or grandchildren? My picture books include, What If A Zebra Had Triangles and An Important Job to Do: A Noah's Are Tale. Are the kids reading chapter books? Sled Dog Tales and The Curse of King Ramesses II are adventure filled and fun. I also created a puzzle book for teens and adults. Please check out my website Thanks, Victoria Roder


Susan Bernhardt said...

Interesting post, Victoria and good luck on the word count. I'm also writing a mystery where I will definitely have to increase my word count, but I don't have a deadline, so I'm not worrying about it...yet. ;)

Best wishes. I'm sure you will be successful. :)

Victoria Roder said...

I wish you the best, Susan. It's so much better when you don't have to worry about specifics and can just write.