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Word Count

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Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:44 pm
Angrynoodles says...

I just finished my first draft of my first novel which it awesome, but there is one problem. It is only 62,000 words. I really wanted to break the seventy thousand mark, should I go back and add more or just keep it the way it is? I did research and found that most books in the fantasy genre are about 75,000-120,000 words and I think mine is just lacking.

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Mon Dec 14, 2015 10:07 pm
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Vervain says...

1) What is the age range you're writing for?

Referring to this article: While you're right that many books in the fantasy genre are longer, that only really applies to contemporary adult fantasy. Middle-grade, Young Adult, and New Adult fantasy novels tend to be around the length you've described, with middle-grade novels obviously being a little shorter and New Adult trending towards the longer. Depending on what age range you're aiming for, you may be just in the right spot for commercial marketing.

2) Is your story complete? Did you tell the story you wanted to tell?

This ties more into that you feel your book is "lacking". If you told the story you set out to tell, and you feel you told it well, following a model of a complete tale, then I would worry less about the word count and more about editing. Especially since...

3) It's a first draft.

You're going to be editing this. This is not the draft that an agent will receive; this is not the draft that an acquisitions editor will look over. This is not your final word count, and by no means do you have to stick to it as you go into your second, third, even fourth draft of this novel. You may find yourself expanding subplots, plot points, or characters that need to be developed in order for everything to make sense; you may find yourself condensing some of the same, as they could be extraneous.

Don't worry too much about word count at this point—word count is part of selling your novel, and you aren't even done writing it.
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Mon Dec 14, 2015 10:10 pm
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TriSARAHtops says...

If it's your first draft, I wouldn't worry about the word count, mainly because you've still got the entire editing process ahead of you. There's so much more to editing than fixing typos and shifting a few commas, so it's entirely possible that after revisions, the word count will be completely different, quite possibly within the range you mentioned.

So I'd suggest leaving the story for a little while and letting it cool so that you can go back and look at it a bit more objectively and with fresh (ish) eyes. Chances are you'll find something that needs developing, whether it's a plot point that was never resolved, or a character that doesn't work. Or you might start revising and realise that there's some element thay you desperately need to add. You'll probably get rid of a bit too, but on the whole, it's fairly likely that your word count will go up.

So for now, don't stress! 62 000 words is a fantastic effort, so celebrate that you've achieved that much, and worry about your word count after you've done a few rounds of revision, because you might very well find that you're a lot closer to the range you're wanting.
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Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:48 pm
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CaptainJack says...

I decided to add onto this post, even with the great replies that were already made because we are heading into the Camp NaNo season. This is a time when everyone becomes more worried about their word count than the quality of their output. I would know as a person that regularly tries, flails and fails at Camp NaNo.

The important point made by the posters before me is that this is the first draft. If you have 62,000 words and you feel like you don't have enough details, you probably do not have enough details. There's probably something else going on in that plot to expand but you shouldn't be focusing too much on the numbers.

Your first draft is going to needs edits for a lot of reasons, no matter how perfect the writer may believe it to be. Everyone misses the bed on the first jump. Don't get wrapped up in the numbers and try, try again.

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